Image: 'Istar' par Fernand Khnopff, 1888].

The experience of the brothel is dependent upon 2 forces being in equilibrium:

1. The gullibility of the male customer (or his 'desire for illusion/fantasy', to put it a little more poetically).
2. The craft and skill-in-seduction of the courtesan.

The courtesan must 'read' her customer; his desires, fears, hopes, idiosyncrasies. The more skillfully she does this, the more that he succumbs to this contrived illusion; built with the bricks of his libido and cemented with the glue of seduction and suggestion.

But beware ! Once Eros has sated itself and begins to slumber, Thanatos, the omnivore, comes to feed upon the remains of Love's dying embers; lovers, Eros and all...



O la superbe, ô la lugubre créature !

Pour quel jeu sombre et par quel caprice immoral,

Mis-tu, Hasard, artiste obscène et magistral,

Sous ce sein de Paros un cœur de pourriture ?


Le corps nu, vautré dans une infâme posture,

Morne, développant son torse sculptural,

Elle s’offrait, avec son amour sépulcral, --

Déesse à tout pourceau dénouant sa ceinture !


-- La femme dit : Allons ! dépêche-toi, mon cher !

Et l’autre – l’homme – alors sentit blêmir sa chair,

Comme au baiser visqueux d’un immonde automate…


Et pourtant elle eût dû m’aimer, en vérité : 

Car nous sommes tous deux de ton stigmate,

-- Et tous les deux ta proie, ô Bestialité.



Anonyme, publié dans ‘La Plume’, Janvier 1, 1891.





O superb one, O lugubrious creature !

For what somber game, and by what immoral caprice,

Have you put Chance, obscene and magisterial artist,

Beneath this breast of Parian marble in which lay a heart of rottenness.


The naked body, sprawled in a posture infamous,

Gloomy, extending her torso sculptural,

She offers herself, with her love sepulchral –

Goddess to every swine that loosens her belt !


The woman says: ‘Come on! Hurry up, Darling!’

The other – the man – now senses her skin’s pallor

Viscous like the kiss of a shameless automaton…


Yet, she must love me, truly :

For both of us are murdered by your stigmata,

-- and both of us your prey, O Bestiality.


Anonymous, published in ‘La Plume’, January 1, 1891.

[Traduction Anglaise: Sardonique Schadenfreude Rictus / Dr. Bathybius, 2008]