Eine Begleiterin der Menschheit / A Companion of Mankind
Prostitution seems to be as old as humanity itself and is consequently not described as the «oldest profession» without cause. This anthology is an interdisciplinary, chronological and regional extensive approach to analyze the phenomenon. It provides a broad historical, sociological, cultural, and gender perspective on prostitution for the academic as well as the interested reader alike. It examines the role of prostitutes in society, the reception of the profession per se and the conditions due to which it is established.
Prostitution and Charity in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: The Dublin Magdalene Asylum
On Sunday the 31st of January 1768 the chapel for the Dublin Magdalene Asylum at Leeson Street in was opened to the public. To mark the occasion the Revered Edward Bayly, chaplain to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, Viscount Townshend, was asked to deliver a charity sermon to both celebrate and raise money for the Asylum.1 The Asylum had opened a year before in 1767 under the direction of the noted philanthropist Lady Arbella Denny.2 Denny was encouraged to establish a home for penitent prostitutes by the former Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland the Earl of Hertford, Francis Conway, and his wife, Isabella.3 In his sermon Bayly praised Denny and the Hertfords for their work in establishing such a refuge to benefit poor women “who have but the wretched Choice; to sin or starve.”4
The opening of the Dublin Magdalene Asylum in 1767 represented a significant change in society’s response to prostitution in eighteenth-century Ireland. Bayly’s description of ‘wretched’ impoverished women forced by circumstance into prostitution was a far cry from earlier literature which blamed prostitutes for crime and disease. The sermons, pamphlets, and other literature associated with the Magdalene Asylum attempted to advance a new more compassionate response to prostitution. In the literature of the Magdalene Asylum prostitutes were portrayed as victims who could be reformed in contrast to other popular narratives which portrayed prostitutes as seductresses, riddled with disease, whose existence was a blight upon the nation. While the organizers of the Dublin Magdalene Asylum helped...
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