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FRIQUET, Madelon, pseud.

Grande et horrible conspiration des demoiselles du Palais-Royal contre les droits de l'homme.

[Paris]: De l'imprimerie de L.L. Girard, [c.1789] Stock Code: 141626
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First edition of this scarce pamphlet defending the rights of sex workers in revolutionary France, in particularly fresh condition, with an engraved revolutionary plate pasted to the inside front wrapper. This work argues against the removal of sex workers from the gardens of the Palais royal through the use of thinly disguised gardening references and asserts their rights to work, and work safely.

Madelon Friquet was a known soldier's ballad and became a popular revolutionary period pseudonym (Censer, p.31). It has been argued that the author of this piece was likely one of the sex workers affected by the eradication of places for sex work in Paris at the dawn of the revolution. This theory is supported by the repeated use of the pseudonym in a contemporary pamphlet discussing the provision of food to the city from the viewpoint of one of the "Dames Les Halles", a group of politically active Parisian market women based at Les Halles. This fragile pamphlet is now unsurprisingly uncommon and has been traced in four institutions worldwide, with only one copy remaining in France, that now held at the Bibliotheque nationale.

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Octavo, pp. 8. Original blue paper wrappers, stitched as issued.


Engraved plate from Camille Desmoulins's lively journal Révolutions de France et de Brabant to the inside front wrapper. Titled "Désespoir des pensionnaires" it mockingly depicts the reactions of pension-holders to the National Assembly's abolition of feu


Spine split but still holding, wrappers marginally toned, minor creasing and nicks to edges, small burn hole to title page, not affecting text; a very good, remarkably well-preserved copy.


Le siècle des lumières: bibliographie chronologique 89:8667; Jack Censer, Press and Politics in Pre-revolutionary France, 1987; Susan B. Conner, "Public Virtue and Public Women: Prostitution in Revolutionary Paris, 1793-1794" in Eighteenth-Century Studies


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