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Women of the Pleasure Quarters

Women of the Pleasure Quarters

(2001)
The Secret History of the Geisha
A non fiction book by

 
Ever since Westerners arrived in Japan, they have been intrigued by Japanese womanhood and, above all, by geisha. This fascination has spawned a wealth of extraordinary fictional creations, from Puccini's Madame Butterfly to Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. But as denizens of a world defined by silence and mystery, real geisha are notoriously difficult to meet and even to find. As a result, their history has long been cloaked in secrecy.

Lesley Downer, an award-winning writer, Japanese scholar, and consummate storyteller, gained more access to this world than almost any other Westerner, and spent several months living in it. In Women of the Pleasure Quarters, she weaves together intimate portraits of modern geisha with the romantic legends and colorful historical tales that shape their fascinating past. Contrary to popular opinion, geisha are not prostitutes but, literally, "arts people." Accomplished singers, dancers, and musicians, they are, above all, masters of the art of conversation, soothing the worries and stroking the egos of wealthy businessmen who can afford their attentions. Looking into such traditions as mizuage, the ritual deflowering that was once a rite of passage for all geisha, and providing colorful descriptions of their dress, training, and homes, Downer transforms their reality into a captivating narrative, and reveals an enthralling world unlike any other.

 
Used availability for Lesley Downer's Women of the Pleasure Quarters


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Hardback Editions

March 2001 : USA Hardback
Title: Women of the Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of the Geisha
Author(s): Lesley Downer
ISBN: 0-7679-0489-3 / 978-0-7679-0489-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Broadway
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

April 2002 : USA Paperback
Title: Women of the Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of the Geisha
Author(s): Lesley Downer
ISBN: 0-7679-0490-7 / 978-0-7679-0490-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Broadway Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Kindle Editions

January 2002 : USA Kindle edition
Title: Women of the Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of the Geisha
Author(s): Lesley Downer
Publisher: Broadway Books
Availability: Amazon   



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