Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

The Pretty Women of Paris; Their Names and Addresses, Qualities and Faults, Being a Complete Directory; or, Guide to Pleasure For Visitors to the Gay City

[Paris]: Privately Printed, 1883. First edition. Hardcover. Octavo. 200pp. Period white parchment paper over gray paper boards. "Privately printed at the Press of the Prefecture de Police, by subscription of the members of the principal Parisian clubs."

A fascinating and extremely scarce Victorian-era guide to Parisian prostitutes, of the second-half of the 19th century, published anonymously. Also included are women described as courtesans, actress or entertainers with loose morals who had made a name for themselves in Paris. The book is printed in English only and likely was intended for visiting Englishmen. It was never published in French. The work, which has been described as an unprecedented work for the 19th century, in terms of its scope and detail, contains entries providing physical and moral portraits of the women, their personality and proclivities, as well as rather intimate information and sometimes surprisingly detailed biographical information. The directory is organized alphabetically by last name and lists the addresses with descriptions of each of the women. The final pages contain an additional directory of Parisian brothels at rear.

Included in the book are the names of a number of women, who have since become known as noted cultural figures of the period, have been associated with historical figures, were French high society figures, or have been connected with literary works, including Laure Hayman (here spelled Heymann, 1851-1940), Cora Pearl (1836-1886), Leonide Leblanc (1842-1894), and Léontine Massin (1847-1901).

The work has been referenced only in Peter Mendes' clandestine erotic fiction bibliography. Given the nature of this incomparable work, highly likely that it was compiled using official police information, due the stockily detailed and candid information on the women. It is believed that less than 200 copies were printed. A newspaper article in "Paris au jour le jour" from December (1885?) calls the work defamatory and is signed "Alphonse, de Londres".

A very nice copy of this shockingly scarce and notorious publication.

Text in English. Binding with some light scratches to the covers, and the tail of the spine bumped. Interior with minor to light instances of sporadic staining and/or smudges, mostly in the margins. Binding quite tight overall. In very good condition. vg. Item #51089

* OCLC lists only 4 copies held worldwide.

Price: $29,500.00

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