“The Painted Cohorts”
In “A Harlot’s Progress,” William Hogarth illustrates the fallen woman’s characteristic journey from innocence to death. She begins as an attractive young woman who is brought into a house of ill repute where she loses her innocence and descends into the outwardly lavish yet inwardly degrading world of the eighteenth-century bawdy house. Before long, she is sentenced to prison, but after being released she returns to prostitution, contracts venereal disease, and dies. Journalists and novelists of Stephen Crane’s time, a century and a half after Hogarth, depicted the prostitute in much the same way. Crane’s contemporaries described her as a young woman seduced by a man who had promised her the world only to cast her by the wayside after corrupting her. Believing that no self-respecting man would want an impure woman, she turns to a life of prostitution. She first joins one of the finer parlor houses, but as her degradation continues, she descends to concert halls and, eventually, the streets. Finally, she kills herself.
KeywordsSexual Desire Concert Hall Bright Vision Social Grade Dangerous Classis
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