WEIGHT: 58 kg
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In a short preface, hoping to avoid complications lest he be discovered and considered a pimp, he disavows knowing any of the women described, claiming that he merely received the information from others. Somewhat unexpectedly, he then rails against a society that preaches morals but permits vice, and urges fathers to protect their children against prostitution. By reading his book. The list of nymphs begins immediately after this peculiar suggestion. Intrigued, I began to piece together what I knew about post-Revolutionary France with the mystery of my little dictionary.
It took me thirty years to solve the riddle of the nymphs, which I will get to shortly. But before I was able to zero in on that, I began to look for clues in other books, and started to assemble a collection of material on Parisian prostitution — from the fall of the Bastille to the rise of the Eiffel Tower — and discovered an entire genre of books and prints devoted to it. In fact, I began to realize that prostitution was at the epicenter of the era.
A frequent visitor to Paris, I was aware that the capital was and still is fueled by large quantities of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and sugar, but I was unaware, until I began my quest, that prostitution had formerly been as fundamental to Parisians as those other stimulating staples.
Studied as exotic specimens from the animal kingdom, they were probed, questioned and examined by doctors and experts in the newly emerging fields of hygiene, statistics, and sociology.
Allons, voyons, voulez-vous monter? Come on, look, do you want to go upstairs? Handcolored etching, Nymphs at the Palais Royal invite soldiers and other men up to their rooms. This little book was intended as a guide to initiate young men into the world of sex and prostitution. Sewers and prostitutes, each receptacles of human bodily excreta, could be cleaned and regulated scientifically, and because prostitution was legal in France, the task could be undertaken in an orderly fashion.