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Book details influential mistresses

Photograph of Lola Montez courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA. [Agencies]

Photograph of Lola Montez courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, Southworth & Hayes, via Wikimedia Commons. [Agencies]


Why did so many women choose to become mistresses -- or even seek out the position?

Slate.com recommends historian Elizabeth Abbott's new book, "Mistresses: A History of the Other Woman," to explore reasons behind.

For several millenniums, a handful of women have learned to parlay their scandalous relationships into positions of power -- and some have changed history in doing so.

In some cases, they were coerced by powerful men. But in others, they cast themselves into lives of indecency because they were able to gain power in this way.

Many of the women profiled in Abbott's book used their cunning and social advantages to carve out roles of great influence.

In most cases, their ascendancy was only possible through that strategic partnership.

Hernán Cortés' mistress Malinche, Cixi (Tz'u-hsi) in China, Louis XV of France's mistress Jeanne-Antoinette, the mistress of Fidel Castro Celia Sanchez are among the list.










(China.org.cn September 5, 2011)

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