Sunday, October 15, 2006

Doing It for Money

A couple of days ago I found out that Ellora's Cave wants to publish one of my stories in their 2007 Caveman Anthology Series. (Still on Cloud 9.) In my novella, A Man of Vision, the heroine is a modern day courtesan. Here is a little trivia about courtesans gathered from Desirata, the official courtesan fanlisting and an article on Salon.com by Christina Valhouli. (The painting is "The Nude Maja" by Francisco de Goya.)

Once upon a time courtesans were the most powerful and learned women in the world. They were taught languages, philosophy, and sometimes the only women allowed in the library. The best courtesans were those whose wit and company were desired more than their bodies.

I think it would have killed me not to be allowed in a library!

[Venetian] courtesans were companions for bankers, princes, prelates and merchants. Known for their wit, charm and elegance, they palled around with the most important and powerful men of their day. They wrote novels, published poems and influenced politics, often delivering political messages from pillow to pillow.

According to Mateo Bandello's 16th century book "Novelle," high-level courtesans would have six or seven lovers, each assigned to a different night of the week and each giving her a monthly "salary." This, of course, necessitated intricate scheduling and lover-shuffling in the days before cellphones and organizers.

I don't know why this lifestyle intrigues me so much. If you'd like to see this type of thing in action, rent the movie "Dangerous Beauty," which chronicles the life of a famous Venetian courtesan, Veronica Franco. And if you want to hire a male courtesan and have a few extra hundred bucks, you can even go here. I found his photo gallery to be particularly, er, interesting.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous anna_j_evans said...

I also find them fascinating. I read up on them quite a bit about a year ago (mostly london Courtersons) and almost wrote something....but didn't. I usually have a hard time writing if I've done too much research, lol.
Anna J.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

I usually find that research stimulates my creativity and I end up getting ideas from it.

6:57 PM  

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