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: Most studies of early modern prostitution look at either medieval prostitution or post-Civil War prostitution. Little critical attention is paid to the first half of the seventeenth century. As these volumes demonstrate, primary sources do exist in the late sixteenth century and throughout the full seventeenth century, and serve not solely as precursors for eighteenth-century pornographic writing. The texts selected here cover a full range of literary forms: non-fictional works, broadsides, plays, short and long poems, and novella-length prose pieces. They are concerned with women who receive payment in the form of cash, goods or patronage from their numerous lovers; they do not tell stories of merely unruly women who were vilified as 'whores' for attending the theatre or scolding their husbands. However the various bawds, courtesans and whores whose stories are included in these volumes have little in common with the real-life English prostitutes and their daily lives and as such most of these texts should be read as fictions not as revelations about the actual practice of prostitution.