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By Daily Mail Reporter. A university student has admitted developing such a powerful alcohol addiction that she turned to prostitution to pay for drink. In a warning to all teenagers and their parents, Emma Gould told how she became hooked on alcopops at the age of 15 and was soon downing up to units a day — 86 more than the recommended weekly amount for women. But thankfully that unimaginable low prompted her to ask for help and, after a stint in rehab, she is now teetotal.


Within scholarship specifically relating to medieval and early modern prostitution, historians have discussed the contemporary meanings and implications of such terms as nightwalkerharlot39 bawdprostitute and whore but, other than an engaging paper by linguists Nevala and Hintikkano scholar has analysed these terms using the full apparatus of corpus linguistics, most notably collocation. But what relevant textual data may be available?

However, outside of the capital, it was still men who were more likely to be prosecuted for nightwalking and they were accused of an array of disorderly and antisocial behaviour, including instigating riots, intimidating neighbours and stealing animals or crops. Both men and women could be called a bawd but only men were accused of being strumpetmongers or whoremongers. Present-day historians usually accept that the prior omission of research into the lives of women created a serious imbalance in our understanding of the early modern world and appreciate that scholarship which focuses on prostitutes is one way of contributing towards our rewriting of the past.

There is an abundance of court records to investigate and their bulk might lead us to believe that we possess the necessary information to fully understand the circumstances of women who were brought before the law. Historians researching the practice of prostitution and the lives of prostitutes living in medieval and early modern England have not eschewed exploring diachronic change in concepts and terminology. This ambiguity in contemporary language increases the difficulty for scholars seeking to establish, for example, the s of prostitutes working in England during a certain period.

Amster xi has commented that prostitute was in use by the late sixteenth century to describe a woman who engaged in transgressive sexual activity, usually for money, but observes that the word appears in verb form only in the contemporary texts included in her collection. However, these concepts were also conceived separately as medieval people were aware that transactional sex took place.

Before the seventeenth century, nightwalker tended to be used as an umbrella term to refer to suspicious people who were out of doors after dusk.

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I eat and drink and sing and talk. We must resist viewing seventeenth-century sex workers as one homogenous group: each person had individual backgrounds, motivations and experiences of the sex trade. Bridewell records of the seventeenth century refer to harlots, vagrant nightwalkers, lewd women and whores. Cities such as London struggled to cope with desperate and often unskilled migrants competing for the disproportionately small legitimate employment opportunities. McEnery, Anthony, and Helen Baker. As we can see, much of this scholarship focuses upon life in London which, as we mentioned in the last chapter, reflects the concentrations of printed 37 material published in the city in the period.

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We will see in Chapter 3 that prostitutes were often referenced by contemporary male writers in a variety of genres but do the voices of these women ever reach us directly? If we asked our readers to imagine a seventeenth-century prostitute, it is likely that some might picture a beautifully dressed and youthful courtesan, perhaps attending the playhouse with her wealthy lover but keeping a mindful watch for potential suitors. Other historians have isolated the terms prostitute and whore for comment; as Chapters 5 and 6 will show, the use and versatility of these terms by seventeenth-century writers has perhaps been underestimated by historians.

Paul Griffiths —38 has undertaken a diachronic study of the term nightwalker in early modern England. In Chapter 1we discussed the potential shortcomings of conducting research into seventeenth-century prostitution solely using the Old Bailey Corpus. The women referenced in legal records represent only a very small portion of those who were regularly working as prostitutes. Although the vast majority of records of indictments and recognizances survive, as we shall see, most women accused of being prostitutes were dealt with by more informal legal procedures which required less rigid record keeping.

Both of these images do have their place in early modern England but they represent polar extremes of a profession that spanned a great range of social class and economic status and which women turned to for different reasons. Criminal proceedings were recorded from the point of view of the authorities; it must be assumed that recorded testimonies were not verbatim transcripts as they were edited by court officials. It would have been almost impossible for people living in what we now call Britain to avoid the effects of such turmoil, no matter their social status, gender or age.

Attwood 8 has explained how, over the past thirty years, social historians have studied the social structure and organization of commercial sex while students from the fields of art history, literary scholarship and feminist theory have studied the representation and symbolic meaning of prostitution.

Believing that speech, rather than the written word, is the primary linguistic model, Skinner emphasized that context is fundamental to the understanding of historical texts and that words must be studied in terms of how they were understood by people living at the time a particular text was produced. For instance, the term meretrixthe most frequently used Latin term to be translated as prostitute, was not always used to mean a woman involved in commercial exchange; it had a of meanings, including a woman who had a large of sexual partners.

It is not all bad news, however. And shew you what this something is. In this book, we endeavour not to view female prostitutes in isolation: we will examine them in relation to their interactions with men as well as other women, with their clients, facilitators, punishers and other men in their communities who might judge or make use of them. Others might visualize a wretched streetwalker, her appearance visibly marred by the tolls of venereal disease, alcoholism and physical abuse, attempting to interest a passer-by in a brief outdoor transaction.

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We will explore whether terms meaning prostitute appeared in noun or verb form in seventeenth-century texts in Chapter 6. Academics studying seventeenth-century prostitution are by no means bereft of evidence. She showed how eighteenth-century language relating to the family, including words such as motherson and sistercontained meanings specific to the period.

Mendelson and Crawford 58—64for instance, have employed proverbs to illustrate commonplace seventeenth-century attitudes held by women and conceived to characterize women. As we will see, the driving force behind the vast majority of women selling their bodies was, and probably still is, poverty.

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In London, it was increasingly appropriated by people targeting sexual immorality and, in the prosecutions of the Bridewell, was almost exclusively used to refer to females. Brownerin a useful introduction to the main themes of the subject, and Burford and Wotton deal more specifically with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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In terms of archival sources, we must make the best of what we have been left and a of historians have produced richly illuminating studies which are highly relevant for researchers of early modern prostitution. In Chapter 4in the first stage of our corpus-based analysis, we will show that there was a large variety of seventeenth-century nicknames for women who worked as prostitutes.

Turner xiv, 21 appears to suggest this process was reversed, noting that both whore and prostitute mutated into verbs from nouns. Rosenthal 2, 25 finds little distinction between the uses of the terms prostitute and whore in the Restoration period — both terms consistently referred to females. Some scholars have contributed to the subject by compiling illuminating case studies of individual prostitutes. Anthony McEnery and Helen Baker. Bloomsbury Collections.

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While the possibility of studying prostitution in the past existed, prostitution, as a subject of scholarly study, was deemed distasteful well into the s. Scholars interested in researching early modern prostitutes face similar problems as those who are trying to reconstruct the lives of any group which is overwhelmingly illiterate and politically disempowered. Tadmor was one of the very first scholars of early modern English history to investigate linguistic concepts by means of corpus methods.

While this century witnessed the burgeoning of a print culture, throughout the period a rich oral culture also persisted, traces of which were preserved. Those women prosecuted for prostitution or for being involved in the sex industry in another capacity were, at most, accused of committing a misdemeanour and were not tried by a jury or given the opportunity to speak in court. Wrightsonfor instance, in his exploration of the concept of social class in early modern societies, has influenced the work of Hitchcockwho analyses the language used by authority figures in Warwickshire in the sixty years afterand Shephardwho examines how poor people described their own financial status during appearances as witnesses in court cases in the early modern period.

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And, on the couch, the seat of bliss. Samuel Pepys, for example, who went on to inform and delight future generations with diary s of his extramarital liaisons and drinking, ordered his wife to destroy her own memoir. There was already a rudimentary poor relief system in place at the beginning of the seventeenth century but eligibility was far from guaranteed and payments, when made, were usually insufficient to live upon.

Prostitution, therefore, became a particularly viable choice for women who had few other options. Many historical investigations into early modern prostitution are based upon archival research, mostly of secular and church court reports. Other women turned to prostitution in a full-time and professional capacity. First-hand s by convicted felons have survived by means of their biographers reproducing their testimonies, again probably edited, but prostitutes never look us square in the eyes and our best chances of reaching them come via their male contemporaries. You may share this work for non-commercial purposes only, provided you give attribution to the copyright holder and the publisher, and provide a link to the Creative Commons licence.

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As Froide has written, in understanding what seventeenth-century society regarded as marginal, we are much better placed to understand what was considered to be normal. However, information contained within early modern criminal records cannot truly illuminate the lives of seventeenth-century prostitutes for a of reasons. A minority of seventeenth-century women were taught to read, no doubt to allow them the benefit of biblical study, but very few of these could write.

McSheffrey —7also looking at sexual reputation in the medieval period, has argued that a man deemed guilty of inappropriate behaviour might be referred to as a harlot. Quaifeusing depositions to the Quarter Sessions of the County of Somerset in the first sixty years of the seventeenth century, is one of the few historians to direct his research away from the capital and, in doing so, has ificantly contributed to our knowledge of illicit sexual activity among the rural peasantry. There were proportionately more literate women living in seventeenth-century London than in rural areas: a quarter at the beginning of the century and, by the end, rising to nearly half.

She argues the Anglo-French term putourthe male form for whore of putaynewas used in the fifteenth century to suggest a man who was sexually licentious or who facilitated 40 prostitution. We would argue that drawing on a wide range of types of texts provides a more balanced picture of an historical group than would be achieved by looking at one type of text alone.

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However, it would be wrong to suggest that early modern prostitutes were spread equally throughout the social strata of England in the period. In some cases, it provided a financial safety net for lower-class women during unstable periods of their lives — a temporary solution to bridge a gap between other jobs. Prior to the eighteenth century, when the crimes of whores were documented with 36 a new gusto, there were few official sources relating to prostitution other than secular and church court reports. Quentin Skinner, a historian associated with the historiographical movement known as the Cambridge School, is also linked to the advance of conceptual history.

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At a time when even walking unaccompanied at night could lead to a woman being locked up in 38 Bridewell, it is often unclear whether women were selling sex commercially, were engaged in adulterous affairs or had simply annoyed the wrong person. London: Bloomsbury Academic, Corpus and Discourse. The seventeenth century was a period of revolution both the English Civil War and the overthrow of James II in have been termed revolutionsdislocation and unremitting religious tension. These legal documents do sometimes provide us with very useful information on the circumstances and behaviour of sex workers, including where they were based and with whom they associated.

However, Griffiths claims that, in the seventeenth century, the meaning of the term changed in metropolitan moral discourses. Most importantly, only a small percentage of women selling their bodies were actually caught and prosecuted. Hither then, my followers come. He explains that the term was fluid — used by different people, in different places and to mean different things.

Those women who had the ability to document their lives either failed to do so or suffered the fate of their manuscripts being considered insufficiently important to preserve. Mowry explores political pornography of the Restoration, analysing pornographies in their political context with the support of archival material.

Free as light and air I walk. The importance of recognizing the changing meanings of vocabulary in historical studies was advanced in the s by the German historian Reinhart Koselleck, who was paramount in shaping the field of Begriffsgeschichteusually translated as conceptual history. Many of these discuss prostitution as part of a wider study of early modern criminal activity.

If a woman was single, childless and physically able to work, as many prostitutes were, local officials considered her responsible for her own economic well-being and were almost always unwilling to provide outdoor relief.

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