Excerpt from "Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies" for 1786

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Title

Excerpt from "Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies" for 1786

Subject

An excerpt from a directory of all of the prostitutes working in and around Covent Garden in London in 1786. Part of an annual directory series called "Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies."

Description

Prostitution was rampant in Georgian England, especially around London. It was so common, in fact, that a directory was published annually to list and describe all of the known prostitutes working the streets around Covent Garden for the general public. The descriptions in this directory demonstrate period conceptions of sexuality, most notably the valuing of "chastity" and "virginity." As Fielding observes through his vulgar satire "Shamela," the commoditization of the "purity" of women was normalized in period. As evidenced by "Harris's List," "purity" is considered the principal component of desirability in the Georgian era. Considering that the handbook is one of prostitutes, this notion patently commoditizes the "purity" of women in period, thus demonstrating the validity of Fielding's observation in "Shamela."

Creator

Samuel Derrick

Date

1786

Relation

Fielding's "Shamela"

Language

English

Files

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Citation

Samuel Derrick, “Excerpt from "Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies" for 1786,” Enlightenmens, accessed August 8, 2022, http://enlightenmens.lmc.gatech.edu/items/show/627.

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