Congrave  Press


Poverty and Prostitution A Study of Victorian prostitutes in York

Portrait of a Lady in Classical Pose, c.1790. Artist unknown

Frances Finnegan

ISBN: 0-521-03337-3

232 pages with 32 illustrations, bibliography and index.
Available only from Cambridge University Press


Frances Finnegan has carried out a painstaking, original and fascinating work of collective biography … this is a very good book, a model of historical enquiry and of the imaginative use of source material.  The enquiry deserves to be repeated for other cities; Frances Finnegan has done a service to social history in showing how it can be done.”
              Roderick Floud, History

Poverty and Prostitution is in many ways the most interesting and most significant of all the books under review …  It is a brave, pioneering study that reveals more of the actual lives of nineteenth-century women than most of the other books discussed in this essay put together.  It represents the kind of detailed, painstaking, locally based research that is going to be necessary if we are to get beyond the history of organisations and ideas to a true social history of women in the past.”
              Richard J. Evans, Journal of Modern History

“This excellent book is most welcome … its findings will contribute to a clearer understanding of Victorian morality and society.  It is a brilliant example of how local history can have a wider than local significance.”
              Medical History.

“With Frances Finnegan the history of Victorian prostitution gets away from the post-Freudian fascination with bourgeois guilt - the author fully succeeds in what was one of her initial aims - i.e. to study prostitutes rather than prostitution.  This return to a real-life situation … is of great benefit.  On the whole, this stimulating and very moving book shows that a female analysis of prostitution is absolutely necessary.”
              Alain Corbin, Annales.

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