By Jill Suzanne Smith
During the overdue 19th century town of Berlin built the sort of recognition for lawlessness and sexual licentiousness that it got here to be often called the "Whore of Babylon." Out of this attractiveness for debauchery grew an strangely wealthy discourse round prostitution. In Berlin Coquette, Jill Suzanne Smith exhibits how this discourse transcended the standard clichés approximately prostitutes and truly explored advanced visions of different moralities or sexual countercultures together with the “New Morality” articulated by way of feminist radicals, lesbian love, and the “New Woman.”
Combining large archival study with shut readings of a vast spectrum of texts and photographs from the past due Wilhelmine and Weimar sessions, Smith recovers a shocking array of efficient discussions approximately extramarital sexuality, women's monetary autonomy, and respectability. She highlights particularly the determine of the cocotte (Kokotte), a particular form of prostitute who capitalized at the phantasm of good or upstanding womanhood and accordingly confounded effortless categorization. by way of exploring the semantic connections among the determine of the cocotte and the act of flirtation (of being coquette), Smith’s paintings offers flirtation as one of those social interplay by which either prostitutes and non-prostitutes in Imperial and Weimar Berlin may perhaps convey extramarital sexual hope and agency.
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