THE RIGHT TO WORK AT CHRISTMAS

Réclamation addressée à S. Ece. Mgr. Delavau, préfet de police, par Modeste Agnès, patentée exerçant au Palais-Royal.

Paris, chez les marchands de nouveautés, 1821.

8vo, pp. 12; very good in recent marbled boards.

£850

Approximately:
US $1045€991

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Réclamation addressée à S. Ece. Mgr. Delavau, préfet de police, par Modeste Agnès, patentée exerçant au Palais-Royal.

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Rare first edition of this work on Parisian prostitution, attributed to the writer and journalist Émile Marco de Sainte-Hilaire (1796–1887). The Réclamation is presented as a letter from the prostitute Modeste Agnès to the newly-appointed Paris chief of police, Guy Delavau (1787–1874), protesting attempts by retailers to exclude prostitutes from the Palais-Royal over the forthcoming Christmas and New Year holidays.

Modeste Agnès argues that she and her colleagues have as much right to do business in the Palais-Royal as anyone else, and that they pay for the right to ply their trade. Furthermore, they attract locals, provincials, and foreigners to the area to the benefit of the local economy, since their clients spend money in cafes, and on clothes and jewellery. In addition, they perform a service to society by rendering men more ‘aimables, galans, entreprenans’, by making the German less brutal, the Englishman less phlegmatic, the Spaniard less grave, the provincial less awkward, and young sons less timid. In her appeal for Delavau’s support, Modeste Agnès also remarks with envy on the freedom of London’s prostitutes.

OCLC finds only two copies, at Cleveland Public Library and the BnF.

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