Notorious Ladies of the Night:The 19th Century Parisian Courtesans Lecture Hour

Ref: C2344483

In Second Empire Paris, the courtesans were regarded with more fascination than ladies of the aristocracy – and they were often as rich and nearly always better dressed. Yet many were originally poor working-class girls who had caught the eye of rich gentlemen and so embarked on a career of pleasing men, being showered with gifts and money in return. But they weren’t sought after simply for sex: many were highly intelligent and witty conversationalists, well versed in the arts, literature, and politics – much more so than most “respectable” women of their day. We'll also look at how the courtesans went "out of fashion" at the turn of the 20th century, as changes in society came about and legislation meant more equality for women generally. Illustrated with photographs, cartoons and paintings from the period.

Course aim

An introduction to the courtesans phenomenon of mid-19th century Paris. The courtesans were the mistresses of the rich and famous, particularly those of the bohemian milieu, and they also became very rich themselves, celebrities and fashion icons.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain the origin of the word "courtesan".
  • Discuss the social situation in the Second Empire and why it allowed the courtesans to flourish.
  • Give reasons why the courtesans seemed outdated by the turn of the 20th century

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas, will be used to provide resources and provide feedback. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about Zoom, please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Notorious Ladies of the Night:The 19th Century Parisian Courtesans Lecture Hour

Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions
  • I declare that the address I have provided is correct and that I will provide evidence of this and my eligibility to live and work in the UK

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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