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The Cover
July 21, 2004

Alice Ozy

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(3):310. doi:10.1001/jama.292.3.310

During the 19th century thousands of young women from poor families sought careers as actresses in Paris. Few were successful; to make ends meet, some sold their favors. A lucky few became courtesans, well-mannered, cultured women who were highly sought after by those who could afford them. By the time of the reigns of King Louis-Philippe (1830-1848) and Emperor Napoleon III (1852-1870), the courtesan had become a major theme in the fine arts. French Romantic literature, such as Dumas' La dame aux camelias and the novels of Balzac, shows a fascination with the theme. Some of the women, the grand triumvirate of Emilienne d'Alencon, La Belle Otero, and Liane de Pougy, for example, became national treasures.