Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Refined Eroticism

In Shaketown, Cayley is faced with the difficult choice of crossing over into the deeply reviled world of prostitution or losing what little she's gained by being independent. From a paper published in The American Historical Review (Vol. 104, Feb. 1999, U. of Chicago Press) T.J.Gilfoyle states the obvious: "Prostitutes were 'ordinary' young females confronting limited possibilities and making rational and sometimes desperate choices." (pg 120). "Prostitutes formed a subterranean counter-society, an explicit moral, social, sanitary, and political threat. They symbolized disorder, excess, pleasure, and improvidence" (That's our Cayley!). "…changing patterns of urban consumption between 1896 and 1913 spurred the expansion of unregulated prostitution. In this period of material affluence and economic growth, bourgeois prostitution 'found its golden age.'". Bawdy houses--especially the high-end type run by Cayley and Opal satisfied aristocratic and bourgeois clientele "in search of refined eroticism."

No comments:

Post a Comment