A History of Mistresses

A History of Mistresses

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
1
1
1
Rate this:

She has been known as the "kept woman," the "fancywoman," and the "other woman." The French acknowledge herexistence by remarking, "The chains of marriage are so heavy that it oftentakes three people to carry them." She is Jeanne Antoinette de Pompadour,and Simone de Beauvoir, not to mention Marilyn Monroe and Camilla Parker-Bowles.She is a mistress, and she has been - and is - very much apart of our humancultural history. But who is she, really? What is the true nature of themistress-lover relationship? How do women experience mistressdom? And where doeslove figure in all of this?

Elizabeth Abbott, who made celibacy sexy in her acclaimed A History ofCelibacy, has the fascinating storehouse of answers in a deliciously richblend of history, personality and cultural study. In a lively and accessiblestyle, History of Mistresses draws intimate portraits of mistressesthroughout history, from Chinese concubines to Europe's royal mistresses andthe clandestine consorts of (un)celibate clerics. Mobster molls, trophy dollsand modern mistresses are deconstructed, with often surprising results. Beyondthe personalities, some interesting themes emerge: the relationship betweenmistresses of colour and their married men; the coercion of Jewish women duringthe Holocaust; and a contemporary look at today's "power"mistresses.

From lust to love, from money to power, Abbott's A History of Mistressesferrets out the motives and morals of these women, carrying the reader along ona journey that is hugely informative and always entertaining.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperFlamingo Canada, 2003.
ISBN: 9780002000468
0002000466
9780715639467
Branch Call Number: 920 A131
Characteristics: xv, 510 p.

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

b
britprincess1
Sep 25, 2013

Mistresses usually cause shock, gossip, scandal, and make us think of fallen promiscuous women. However, these stories show both sides. There are manipulative women attracted to power, yes, but this compilation shows the shy girls preyed on, the women who followed obligations, the women who fell in love but were torn away out of circumstance only to return later on to these same men as mistresses. These accounts are intensely personal tales, but presented in a very objective and thoughtful style, aiming to inform as honestly as possible. I have to give kudos to author Elizabeth Abbott for how truly fair she was and how delightful her writing style was. As for the content? Well, there's the mistresses we know, like Marilyn Monroe, Camilla Parker Bowles, Eva Braun, Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Hester Prynne, and Simone de Beauvoir. Then, there's the more obscure and unfamiliar, like Lady Nijo, Alice Keppel, Lady Yehenara, Theodora & Marozia Theophylact, and Emilie du Chatelet, to name a few among dozens included here. Grouped with thematic cohesion, each chapter tells us of biblical mistresses, royal mistresses, Holocaust mistresses, Mob mistresses, slaves and concubines, mistresses in the swinging sixties, and so on and so forth. I highly recommend it as a fantastic read, as well as a well researched secondary source for scholarly purposes.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

b
britprincess1
Sep 25, 2013

britprincess1 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary

b
britprincess1
Sep 25, 2013

Tells the individual and personal stories of mistresses and concubines from all walks of life, from biblical women to sex symbols of the sixties, who have left a mark throughout history. Includes accounts of the lives of Hagar, Aspasia, Corinna, St. Augustine's anonymous mistress, Yu-Fang, May-Ying, Lady Nijo, Roxelana, Tz'u-Hsi (also known as Lady Yehenara), Nell Gwynne, Jeanne-Antoinette de Pompadour (aka Reinette), Jeanne du Barry, Lola Montez, Katharina Schratt, Alice Keppel, Elena Lupescu, Camilla Parker Bowles, Lady Bess Hervey Foster, Georgiana Spencer, Lady Caroline Lamb, Claire Clairmont, Countess Teresa Guiccioli, Theodora & Marozia Theophylact, Vanozza d'Arignano, Giulia Farnese, Annie Murphy, Louise Iusewicz, Pamela Shoop, Malinche, Sally Fidler, Betsey Sinclair, Margaret Taylor, Le Ly Hayslip, Dao Thi Mui, Phibbah, Julia Chinn, Sally Hemings, Julia Frances Lewis Dickson, Harriet Jacobs, Eleonore Hodys, Eva Braun, Hannah Arendt, Heloise, Emilie du Chatelet, Jeanne Hebuterne, George Eliot, Lillian Hellman, Catherine Walston, Joyce Maynard, Virginia Hill, Arlyne Brickman, Sandy Sadowsky, Georgia Durante, Shirley Ryce, Naty Revuelta, Celia Sanchez, Marion Davies, Gloria Swanson, Maria Callas, Marilyn Monroe, Judith Campbell, Vicki Morgan, Jane Eyre, Hester Prynne, Madame Emma Bovary, Anna Karenina, Mildred Rogers (Of Human Bondage), Ellen Olenska (The Age of Innocence), Larisa (Dr. Zhivago), Sarah Miles (The End of the Affair), Merrion Palmer (Marrying the Mistress), Lillian Ross, Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman, Simone de Beauvoir, Paula Birmingham, Rachel Goldman, and Michaela Kovakeski.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at OPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top