A History of Mistresses

A History of Mistresses She Has Been Known As The Kept Woman, The Fancy Woman, And The Other Woman She Exists As Both A Fictional Character And A Flesh And Blood Human Being But What Do Madame De Pompadour, Jane Eyre, And Camilla Parker Bowles Have In Common Why Do Women Become Mistresses, And Is A Mistress Merely A Wife In Waiting, Or Is She The Very Definition Of The Emancipated, Independent Female In Mistresses, Elizabeth Abbott Intelligently Examines The Motives And Morals Of Some Of The Most Infamous And Fascinating Women In History And Literature Drawing Intimate Portraits Of Those Who Have Whether By Chance, Coercion, Or Choice Assumed This Complex Role, From Chinese Concubines And European Royal Mistresses To Mobster Molls And Trophy Girlfriends, Mistresses Offers A Rich Blend Of History, Personal Biography, And Cultural Insight

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  • Paperback
  • 511 pages
  • A History of Mistresses
  • Elizabeth Abbott
  • English
  • 09 May 2018
  • 9781468300550

10 thoughts on “A History of Mistresses

  1. says:

    This was fine.In the way that a meal at TGIFriday s is fine.It s not earth shattering, it s not enlightening It s the historical equivalent of loaded potato skins yummy, filling, but not nutritious.Abbott, whose book History of the Wife I loved, goes encyclopedic on the life of every mistress mentioned in history or literature It s like tiny little biographies of each of them, including the harem and the concubine system She discusses Jane Eyre Seriously In a book about mistresses that s kind of a stretch I also never have to read Of Human Bondage or Dr Zhivago That entire chapter should be labeled don t read unless you don t want to read any of these books And for the record, how she misses Sister Carrie when listing mistresses in fiction bugs the beejeezus out of me I got a lot about Marilyn Monroe, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Joyce Maynard who, in my opinion, hardly counts as a mistress since she didn t really live with Salinger for that long, of a really vindictive ex girlfriend I got little bio about these, but then nothing about Diane du Poitiers seriously, how do you skip that one The omissions were startling than the inclusions Not that I m a prude, far from it, but wow, did this book love the detail about the sex lives of those involved Lots of detail Also fun facts like Maria Callas ingesting a tape worm to lose weight This whole book was wearisome There was no connecting It was just bio after bio of women who hated being the other woman, women who loved it, women who didn t care Pretty much if you ve ever loved, liked, or just dated a guy who you either didn t want to marry or who didn t want to marry you for whatever reason, you qualified to be in this book.It s better for skimming than to read, and I gave it the third star strictly because some of the bios were entertaining.

  2. says:

    In the introduction to this book, Abbott suggests that the stories of mistresses she shares in this book kind of come together in some way to form a picture of not only mistressdom, but its effect on, and what it says about our society as a whole I m not sure she really succeeded with that This book didn t really have a cohesive thesis it was simply a collection of mini biographies of mistresses through the ages Most of which were very interesting, and engaging to read, but definitely not cohesive Perhaps that s a good thing, in that it forces you to draw your own conclusions, conduct your own critical analysis of the subject matter But mostly, for me, it was just very interesting to read about these women s lives.Some things I learned Byron was the only aristocrat to have mistresses, or so it seems based on the fact that three of the four sections in that chapter are about some of Byron s many mistresses Getting involved with the mafia is a very bad idea, as it appears to inevitably lead to being beaten and raped, as well as frequently being shared among business associates Elizabeth Abbott loooooooooooves Graham Greene Seriously, the section devoted to him and his mistress was just riddled with references to his genius and brilliance as an author The other artists in that chapter were not nearly so effusively praised.Ultimately, this was a fun read, but not enormously enlightening, as, like I said, it doesn t really present any conclusions or opinions about what any of this means, except perhaps that mistressdom has pretty much always been around, and likely always will be.

  3. says:

    A look at mistresses through history and the changing social s regarding women s roles in society and sex The little vignettes regarding the various mistresses provided a taste of their lives and made me want to read on some of them However, as she mistakenly attributes the famous quote Publish and be damned to Admiral Nelson when it was actually the Duke of Wellington who said it, it does make you wonder what other historical facts she got wrong.

  4. says:

    I loved this book a lot and I would give it five stars were it not for the few mistakes and constant myths and racial stereotypes I will go to at the end of my review The history of the other woman tells the stories of women that are rarely heard of or condemned, I love how she focused on all societal aspects and also focused on the present where the double standard still exists, and women are always the first ones condemned My only complaint was how colonial women and especially Mesoamerican women were portrayed in this The use of very little colonial or Mesoamerican women, I can understand given that not many people are interested in this history, it s complicated and unless you have a deep interest in pre colonial and colonial history you are not going to go anywhere beyond the basics and that includes stereotypes Malitzin was not called Malinche A lot of Mexicans today believe she was incorrectly , several authors like Mexican historian Ignacio Taibo have pointed out that this was a term used for Cortex El Malinche not La Malinche , second the author constantly emphasized of carnivore gods, how she preferred her lover s gentility and charity, his religion which preached of love over vengeful gods like the savage society she inhabited If the author read on several books on the subject such as sources other than Spanish about the conquest, or a class on pre colonial art, she would have known that these so called cannibalistic gods were no cannibals than the Christian god who sent his own son to die and the communion itself can be argued from a philosophical standpoint is cannibalistic because the bread and wine signify the body and blood of Christ Also the tale of how Malitzin was told by this aristocratic native woman that she and her people were ready to make a stew of Spaniards and would sacrifice them to appease their gods and their priests would also consume their flesh had me laughing and rolling my eyes Also she conveniently forgot that besides Malitzin, there was another woman who suffered immensely if not , since she was raped and later forgotten by Cortez just like he forgot Malitzin and this was the daughter of the late Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II Xoyocotzin Isabel Moctezuma Isabel of course is her Christian name, she was raped, had a daughter by Cortez that for obvious reasons she repudiated and later as Malitzin was forced to marry one of the Europeans And last but not least, Moctezuma is depicted as a treacherous, backstabbing emperor who was plotting an ambush against the Spaniards this is one of the many theories that have circulated, however there is another one plausible and it explains his sudden death Moctezuma was an ineffectual leader, the elite were the one planning an ambush against the Spaniards, when this was discovered, the Spaniards captured the emperor and intended to use him as their puppet then they were expelled and Moctezuma was later found dead The suspects are either the elite or the Spaniards, take your pick The way Native people and their customs are described seem to be taken from basic books and it keeps perpetuating the stereotype of the cannibalistic savage in Mesoamerican people s case or noble savage in Pocahontas or should I say Makaota s case These indigenous women were much victims of their society as they were of the Europeans, and I agree that there is a lot of ignorance regarding these figures and they easily get blamed for the crimes their lovers and Europeans did it is something I struggle to emphasize when I hear people condemning Malitzin and calling her a sell out, I always point out that she wasn t and she was a slave, what was she supposed to do She was a survavilist and to her, Cortez and his men were her only way out She suffered after the conquest when Cortez showed his true colors and abandoned her and the man he married her to was no shining knight either but in no way is portraying Native culture as savage or superstitious a way to pay them any homage, it does a disservice to the other women who also suffered as they did under the yoke of the Europeans.

  5. says:

    I have just finished this fascinating book, Mistresses A History of the Other Woman by Elizabeth Abbott First published in 2003, this book provides carefully researched and well thought through accounts of the other woman through history There are thirteen chapters excluding the introduction and conclusion by the author Abbott was mindful to remind us that two mistresses she is acquainted with and mentioned in her book had their names and their partners changed and had used aliases instead.Of the mistresses mentioned in this book, personalities we might be familiar with include Nell Gwynne long time mistress of King Charles II of England who had Charles II imploring his brother James to Let not poor Nelly starve Camilla Parker Bowles now Duchess of Cornwall and second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales Marilyn Monroe American actress, model, and singer Lady Bess Foster best friend of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire and their story made into a British drama film The Duchess in 2008 Simone de Beauvoir French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist.Least you think the book is about celebrity mistresses, there are entire chapters devoted to eastern concubines, clandestine consorts of clerics, conquerors and their mistresses, mistress of men above the law think mobsters and even mistresses who were not even alive fallen women in literature Abbott explains that concubinage is in many respects a precursor to mistressdom, developed as an offshoot fo marriage and of the almost universal tolerance of male infidelity The other women were flaunted as symbols of pretige and wealth and sometimes used to provide heirs he could legitimize.This book was an eye opener for me because I live in a time where feminism and egalitarianism, the sexual revolution and the Pill, and changing s and standards, notably the elevation of romantic love to an ideal, have stamped marriage irrevocable in the author s words We tend to judge mistresses and cannot comprehend why there are women who choose mistressdom over marriage These are women who make choices out of passion, economic self sufficiency or personal autonomy Mistressdom still prevails and the first step to understanding and the different facets of life , to judge not or judge less , is to perhaps to read this book If this is not appealing to you i.e learning to become a better person, this is still a page turner for the stories of women from long ago who have lived, loved and dared It will certainly transport you to a differnt era where you will imagine and wonder what it was like.You can find the book here.Reviews It is not just mistresses, it seems, who need to wake up to the new millennium one of the surprises of this engrossing book is how mired in myth and fantasy it reveals our attitude to mistresses as being Sunday Telegraph a fascinating account of the other woman through history, sobering than titillating Sunday Times

  6. says:

    This was an ok book Nothing particularly exciting It reads as a giant listicle of all the who s who of mistresses in history There are stories that come off genuinely romantic and others that made me cringe Some mistresses rose to unseen heights of fame and others were left behind by her lover or lovers in some cases to rot Abbott does offer some reflection into the world of mistresses but her book stops frustratingly short of being truly interesting or insightful She also includes some dubious examples such as an entire chapter of famous fictional women and a few modern women s experiences that appear to be acquaintances of hers Is it a bad book No Is it a good book I wouldn t say that either.

  7. says:

    3.5 stars

  8. says:

    Somewhat interesting but very repetitive.

  9. says:

    In this book, we take a look at stories about mistresses throughout history.

  10. says:

    Tsundoku Neglected Book 4

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