In this series of articles I want to show how the courtesans of other times were just like the camgirls of our days. They had influence over wealthy men and they charmed their way into history. As a matter of fact their way of defying norms made way for new ages and progressive times. And as we all know “Well-behaved women rarely made history”. Today’s protagonists are mainly European and they are:
– the cortegiane honorate, or honorable courtesans
An Italian poet, author and philosopher born in Rome during Renaissance. Is esteemed as one of the best female writers, poets, philosophers, and charmers of her time. Also known for Rime, a collection of sonnets addressed to her by prominent men of letters. And equally important Dialogue on the Infinity of Love. A neoplatonic essay on the nature of love in which she insists on women’s autonomy in romantic relationships.
– an Italian poet and cortegiane honorate
Renowned for her notable clientele, feminist advocacy, literary contributions, and philanthropy. Franco’s poems advertise her above less educated women selling sex. Her engagement with male patrons is dramatized in her capitoli. As a matter of fact, Veronica always addresses her poems to a specific man from whom she requests a response. Franco is also openly erotic, even sexually explicit From her first poem. She celebrates her sexual expertise as a courtesan and promises to satisfy her interlocutor’s desires. Not to mention that she undermines the traditional portrayal of the female beloved as a silent, distant, cruel and unattainable woman.
Ninon de l’Enclos
Ninon de Lenclos embodied libertinism in both theory and practice. As a notorious courtesan, Lenclos scandalized France by her numerous affairs with prominent statesmen and ecclesiastics. Also as a philosopher, she justified sexual license by her naturalistic theories of human nature and of morality. In the light of her naturalistic metaphysics and her ethics of the primacy of pleasure, Lenclos contributed to the Epicurean revival of the French Renaissance. Moreover in her insistence on the equal rights of women and men to the pursuit of pleasure, Lenclos challenged her society’s subordination of women to men.
Claudine-Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin
– a French author and literary patroness of arts
Her associations with celebrated writers and political personalities ensured her position as one of the prominent social figures of the 18th century. Not to mention that due to her love life, Madame de Tencin was a controversial public figure. Additionally to that an intellectual woman and one of the most distinguished salonnières in eighteenth-century France.