This article considers the theme of prostitution in the decadent writings of the fin-de-siecle French author, Rachilde. It proposes that an analysis of this critically-neglected trope of her work reveals new connections between the erotics and aesthetics of her fiction. As a vector for considering tensions between fantasy and truth, and illusion and reality, prostitution, in Rachilde's texts, invites us to reflect on two of the most common cultural manifestations of decadence: sexual non-conformism and the cult of artifice. The article focuses in particular on the (male) prostitute-body of Monsieur Venus, arguing that, in its transcendence of nature, reality and utilitarian purpose, it is elevated to the status of art in Rachilde's fictional world.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Modern Languages Open|
|Publication status||Published - 18 May 2015|