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The Crack Magazine

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Paris's Most Notorious Courtesan...

Anne-Marie Chassaigne rose to prominence in the 1890s when she was a dancer at the Folies Bergère. She also spent her time writing scandalous books and the first English translation of her 1901 novel ‘A Woman’s Affair’ is available now.

What a life Anne-Marie Chassaigne had! She was a runaway teenage mother, a celebrity courtesan, a princess, a fundraiser for disabled children, and, finally, a Dominican lay sister. She also found the time to write novels (under the name Liane de Pougy), which drew heavily on her own experiences. Among her most celebrated works were ‘A Woman’s Affair’, which shocked French readers with its depiction of a lesbian love affair. The story was based on her own trysts with Natalie Barney – an American playwright and poet – and details how Annhine de Lys – a bored and restless Parisian courtesan – has her life turned upside down when Flossie, a young American woman, bundles into her life. This English translation (by Graham Anderson) is being published by the redoubtable Dedalus Press, who are also publishing de Poughy’s first novel ‘Chasing The Dream’, which is another tale of a feted courtesan who is on the hunt for true love.

A Woman’s Affair and Chasing the Dream are both published by Dedalus Press and available now.