Book Review | What did the woman enjoy in the 17th century? A novel about the most famous courtesan in Paris tells it

Riikka-Maria Rosenberg begins her career as a novelist in an interesting and original way.


Riikka-Maria Rosenberg: Nino – the master of love. Work. 320 s.

In the first in his novel Ninon – the master of love Riikka-Maria Rosenberg writes about a historical figure, the most famous courtesan of 17th century Paris, Ninon de Lenclos.

He is already familiar with the subject, as he first studied the Parisian of that era in his dissertation and then took part in Corset and crucifix – Influential Baroque Parisian (2019) and Letters of the Marquis de Sévigné from 1648 to 1696 (2020).

In the afterwords of his novel, the researcher writes an alias about the real Ninon Anne de Lenclos. What can be known about him and how the author has shaped reality.

The novel itself is like a stuffed cake, in which neither jam nor cream has been spared. There are baskets of costumes, handsome men and beautiful women. The little belly bump of the lover rising behind the bed curtains tells more than the pleasures of love.

There are French titles, first names and surnames. There is Parisian life: “At the western end of the Île de la Cité, women crossed the Seine along the Pont Neuf. They returned to the right bank of the city, lifted the skirts of their skirts, dodged debris and animal droppings, and were careful not to be left under lofty horse harnesses. ”

The atmosphere of the novel is upper class because we are closer Enter the Austrian and from the King of the Sun as butchers and saddlers.

Nino is born into an impoverished noble family. He is the father’s girl and the father is a woman. Papa has to escape from Paris, but his daughter writes him letters. The novel talks about learned women, but it is not entirely clear what the doctrine of noble girls was in the 17th century.

In the father’s merits, the daughter does not succeed in the marriage market, but the mother manages to get him a prestigious lover, namely the old cardinal Richelieunwho wants to experience the love of a virgin once again:

“The cardinal directed Nino de Lenclos to a world that was undoubtedly a man of ordinary noble pleasure, but to him, God and Marie-Barbe [äiti] to a virgin raised in rebuke, still completely unknown. Although undoubtedly relevant. ”

The story continues in virginity characters, as it seems to be the only currency of noble girls in the 17th century. Ninon’s next lover gets to settle for lamb blood and pretended pain dropped from a glass bottle on a sheet.

Ninon soon learns the vicious laws of his time. A woman could live a meaningful life by acting more cunningly than men.

Since she was not overwhelmed by a rich, honorable, or high-ranking husband, she becomes a courtesan. A mysterious, lustful and aspiring woman. Rosenberg suggests that Nino also enjoyed the sex himself.

Her ingenious chambermaid on the proposal of Nino to set up a salon. He became honorable in all his dishonor.

The salon is the founder’s own space, where more than just bedding is practiced. The courtesan reads Montaignen essays and enter the lute with familiar fingers. He can converse in a civilized way. Politics in his rooms is not talked about.

Most fervently, however, the male guests expect to see the skirt of the courtesan’s pretty ankle swinging as the skirt bead swings. If necessary, Nino teaches seduction and love skills, such as an awning Henri de Sévignélle, who seemed to have no idea what the woman was enjoying. Madame de Sévigné would hardly come to thank him for it, on the contrary.

Nino falls in love, gives birth to a child. From time to time he has to leave Paris and settle in a convent, not to repent of his sins but to wait for the disapproval of his way of life to boil over.

Surprisingly Protestant the queen who left the faith and the Swedish krona Kristiina wants to meet a famous courtesan imprisoned in a monastery. They discuss, like two later ages, the issue of femininity and male power. We also talk about love, the choices of the heart.

Ninon had heard gossip from the queen and this courtier Ebba Sparren relationship. Ninon thinks she wasn’t startled by the love between women, for love can’t have sex.

Perhaps this was wisely thought as early as the 17th century. All in all, Rosenberg is well acquainted with the customary culture, clothing and food of the era he describes:

“Where many pious houses spooned soup suitable for Lent today, Sorea’s courtesan’s table groaned with fleshy delicacies: there was a cockerel, a milk pig, a chicken, a duck liver, a lamb, a pheasant, small meat pies, jams, pâtés and fruit pyramids.”

Rosenberg has started as a novelist, perhaps a little bursting but interesting and original.

Riikka-Maria Rosenberg­

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