"Grandes Horizontales tells the stories of Marie Duplessis, La Presidente, La Paiva, Cora Pearl - four legendary courtesans during the reign of Napoleon III. It was the golden age of the French courtesan, when the decadent and pampered demi-monde became the most glittering celebrities of the time. In her book, Virginia Rounding not only depicts the fascinating lives of these women but examines the mythical reputations that grew around them." "Marie Duplessis became the prototype of the virtuous courtesan when Alexandre Dumas fils portrayed her as Marguerite Gautier in his celebrated La Dame aux camelias. Apollonie Sabatier, known as La Presidente, was famous for her salon frequented by artists and writers, and was immortalised by sculptor August Clesinger and poet Charles Baudelaire." "The Russian Jew La Paiva was vilified as a predator of rich young men and for her extravagance and ostentatious wealth (she was infamous for the opulent hotel she built in the Champs-Elysees). The English beauty who called herself Cora Pearl was another 'foreign threat', with her athletic physique, sixty horses and ability 'to make bored men laugh', including Prince Napoleon."--BOOK JACKET.