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The Covent Garden Calendar

As a companion piece to our edition of The Newgate Calendar, we have compiled an anthology of prostitution in Britain during (mostly) the 18th Century. It is in three parts: Book 1: The Night-time Scene has a number of essays describing the milieu; Book 2: Individual Courtesans gives the lives of eight ladies of the Ton, and finally Book 3: Fiction has five short novels about prostitutes.

The pieces chosen are almost all contemporary, ranging from 1696 to 1803, and in attitude run the gamut from picaresque approval to moral condemnation to compassion for the suffering of the women forced into prostitution. There are also links below to some other works on our site which are also relevant.

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Full Contents

Book 1: The Night-Time Scene

The Night-Walker by John Dunton (1696)
The London Bawd (1705)
The Midnight Spy by John Cleland (1766)
Nocturnal Revels (1779)
Characters of the present most celebrated courtesans (1780)

Book 2: Individual Courtesans

Sally Salisbury by Charles Walker(1723)
Lavinia Beswick (1728)
Jane Douglas (1761)
Jeany Muir (1765)
Anna Maria Faulkner (1770)
Fanny Davies (1786)
Anne Catley (1789)
Phoebe Phillips (1803)

Book 3: Fictional Accounts

The Harlot's Progress by William Hogarth (1732)
Anti-Pamela by Eliza Heywood (1742)
Melinda (1749)
Maria Brown by John Cleland (1766)
The Magdalen by William Dodd (1780)

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Also on this Website

A Modest Defence of Public Stews, by Bernard Mandeville
Arguing for the establishment of publicly-owned and run brothels as a solution to the problems of prostitution

The History of the Human Heart
A novel, describing the adventures, both hilarious and horrifying, of a very amorous young man

Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies
A guidebook for the use of clients, published 1793

The Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson
Also known as Peg Plunkett, the leading courtesan and brothel-keeper of mid-18th Century Dublin

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