ISBN : 9780198862789
Prostitution played an important part in structuring gender relations in medieval Germany. Prostitutes were often viewed as an example of the extreme female sinfulness which all women risked falling into, yet their social role was also seen as vital to the unmarried men for whom they provided a sexual outlet. Prostitution and Subjectivity in Late Medieval Germany is the first full-length study of medieval prostitution to focus primarily on how gender discourse shaped the lives of prostitutes themselves. Based on three legal case studies from the late medieval Empire, Prostitutes and Subjectivity in Late Medieval Germany examines constructions of subjectivity between 1400 and 1500. This period saw the rapid rise of tolerated prostitution across much of western Europe and the emergence of the public brothel as a central institution in the regulation of social order, followed by its equally rapid suppression from the early 1500s. By analysing how individuals interacted with cultural discourses surrounding the body, sexuality, and sin, the book explores how the concepts which defined prostitution in the Middle Ages shaped individual lives, and how individuals were able - or not - to exert agency, both within the circumstances of their own lives, and in response to official attempts to regulate sexual behaviour.
Introduction: Prostitution and Subjectivity in Late Medieval Germany
1 Secret women: clandestine prostitution in fourteenth-century Zurich
2 Municipal prostitution and subjectivity: the women of Nordlingen's brothel
3 '...this miserable, shameful life'. Prostitution and subjectification in late medieval Augsburg