One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
- ‘Needless to say, heterosexual women get scant public appreciation for their erotic talents: the most gifted Venus or grande horizontale receives ambiguous praise at best.’
- ‘The ambivalence and uncertainty of her role is captured in the two titles by which she was most commonly known in 19 th-century France: the grande horizontale and the demi-mondaine.’
- ‘A great beauty and something of a grande horizontale, she was as famous for her raunchy delivery on stage as for the succession of lovers she took off it; the men in her life included the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII.’
- ‘This was a huge trade in the 19th century, though seldom as glamorously practised as by the grandes horizontales of 19 th-century Paris or 16 th- or 17 th-century Rome and Venice.’
- ‘Heads full of curls on grandes dames or grandes horizontales required daily professional upkeep in their homes, not in salons.’
- ‘With such ageing courtesans as Lady Melbourne and Lady Oxford - the ‘grande horizontale’ of Whig politics - holding sway, the moral license of Regency London has a cosy and almost institutionalised feel about it.’
- ‘There was a time when baths of asses’ milk and potions of dissolved pearls were only for the grandest of the grandes horizontales.’
- ‘Finding no alternative but an uneasy life as a celebrated grande horizontale, she vows never to conceal from her young daughter Alice the true facts of life, lest she make similar mistakes out of ignorant rebellion.’
- ‘The role of grande horizontale was one you played well, and I loved you in it as I loved you in all your parts, but there was little for me to do.’
Late 19th century: French, literally ‘great horizontal’.
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