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Book Cover for: Images of Sex Work in Early Twentieth-Century America: Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Storyville Portraits, Mollie Leveque

Images of Sex Work in Early Twentieth-Century America: Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Storyville Portraits

Mollie Leveque

Storyville was the infamous red-light district of New Orleans. It was a world where normative social values didn't apply and was shrouded in mystery and myth until the photographs of E.J. Bellocq were rediscovered. Bellocq's depictions of Storyville's sex workers have typically been treated as tragic, ominous and emblematic of New Orleans' singularity. Yet, such interpretations have projected gendered stereotypes of frailty and victimhood onto the women they portrayed. In Images of Sex Work, Mollie LeVeque interrogates these glib readings and argues that sex work was a routine aspect of life in a modern city. She supports this theory by examining a range of cultural forms such as crime fiction, illustrations and paintings from contemporary urban centres like Paris, London and New York. In doing so, she advances the new argument that Bellocq humanised his subjects, de-sensationalised sex work and gave these women the dignity they were all too often denied.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Visual Arts
  • Publish Date: Oct 19th, 2023
  • Pages: 224
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.50in - 5.50in - 0.46in - 0.57lb
  • EAN: 9781350430624
  • Categories: History - Modern (Late 19th Century to 1945)Criticism & TheoryProstitution & Sex Trade

About the Author

Mollie Le Veque received her PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK. Her research interests are the interplay of images, archives and texts, fandom histories, erased urban spaces and the Storyville Portraits.