Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

'Femme Publique':The brothel sex worker as anti-Flaneuse in the television series Maison Close.

Artt, Sarah



Maison Close offers us the sex worker as anti-flâneuse, a woman whose movement is thoroughly circumscribed by the walls of the brothel and yet is defined by her license as a 'public woman' whose movements and dress are highly codified by 19th century French law. When we talk about the possibility of a flâneuse we must also consider whose gaze(s) are at work in Maison Close. This paper will discuss whether there is scope for a kind of anti-flâneuse gaze and what that gaze might look like. Across its two seasons, the series offers up two poles through the characters Véra, the star of the Paradis brothel and Rose the abject and then radical sex worker. This paper will also suggest how we might place Maison Close as yet another recent television text (alongside The Crimson Petal and the White, Ripper Street and to an extent Penny Dreadful) which offers us the image of the 19th century sex worker as someone whose presence characterises the city but whose point of view is missing from recorded history since she is always written about but never by her own hand or voice.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Tranforming Cities
Start Date Jul 3, 2015
End Date Jul 4, 2015
Publication Date Jul 3, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2015
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Literary tropes; sex workers; prostitution; France; screen imagery; television; culture and society
Public URL