Purchasing Power: Representing Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century English Popular Print Culture

Hardcover (Print)
Not Available on BN.com


Prostitution was central to popular print depictions of London in the eighteenth century. Whether deployed as incidental color in street scenes or providing the sole subject matter for prints, the figure of the prostitute lay at the very heart of the project to depict the fabric and character of the emerging metropolis. In this, the first in-depth examination of the numerous images of prostitution produced for London's print market throughout the eighteenth century, Sophie Carter challenges perceptions of the period as an era of healthy and largely tolerant ribaldry, demonstrating instead how such imagery was born of and driven by extreme cultural anxiety.

Situating images of prostitution within the wider social context of their production and reception, and drawing on a range of contemporary moral, legal and literary discourses, Carter presents the prostitute as a key figure through which to trace prevailing attitudes towards gender, sexuality and public order in the context of urban culture. Identifying these images as a coherent and distinct category of popular print imagery, she also shows how they constitute a valuable site through which the public role and representational strategies of popular print culture itself can be explored. Contents: Introduction; Pornocracy: prostitution in 18th-century London; A Harlot's Progress: constructing and reading a popular narrative of prostitution; 'Deceitful kisses': commodification, consumption and the representation of the prostitute/client relationship; 'Women are by women ruin'd most': the role and representation of the bawd; 'This female proteus': prostitution, masquerade, and the masquerading female body; 'The new moral arena': prostitution and the popular print culture; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Author Biography: Dr Sophie Carter, Writer/Editor, Foster and Partners, London, UK

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures
Introduction 1
Ch 1 Pornocracy : prostitution in eighteenth-century London 7
Ch 2 A harlot's progress : constructing and reading a popular narrative of prostitution 27
Ch 3 Deceitful kisses' : commodification, consumption and the representation of the prostitute/client relationship 51
Ch 4 'Women are by women ruin'd most' : the role and representation of the bawd 105
Ch 5 'This female proteus' : prostitution, masquerade and the masquerading female body 129
Ch 6 'The new moral arena' : prostitution and popular print culture 155
Notes 171
Bibliography 189
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)