Paris people

The mystery of Ève Matel

Ève Matel is the author of this book – that’s her pen name or should we more aproppiately say her “nom de plume”? She is a working mom of three, a true Parisian. And none of her friends would suspect her of writing erotic novels in her spare time.

No freedom at all But I always found there to be something special about her. I've never seen Ève in trousers, she always wears dresses, black ones, and her complexion is white like fine china. I could absolutely imagine her living in another time. And she is indeed passionate about the 19th century. Would she prefer to have lived in the Grand Siècle? “Not at all”, says Ève, “it was a time of great change, but for women it was just terrible. They had no freedom at all, they never came of age and this was thanks to the laws of the code Napoleon.” “Memoires érotiques d’une cocotte” is her first book. It somehow came over her. Of course, she enjoyed reading erotic novels. But writing? “It was great fun”, Ève says.

The most desired mistress

Here comes the story: Rose is young and beautiful woman from Brittany with a clear and early talent for erotic escapades. She therefore leaves the provinces to settle in Paris. As a servant. But she is clever and beautiful enough to understand that in the Paris of the Second Empire it doesn’t take much to take charge of her destiny: her charms will be enough. Rose changes her name as she changes lovers. As Aglaé de Landal she will become not only the most coveted actress, but most of all the most desired mistress of her time. "Memoire érotiques d’une cocotte" is a real page-turner. But you’ll need two hands to read it. Or do you really think that the orgasms of our protagonist will leave you completely indifferent?

The condition of women

Though I have to say that the life of Rose-Aglaé is not only fascinating because of her libertism. It’s the whole epoch that is shown and the different conditions of a woman who started as servant and conquered an extraordinary freedom.  I asked Ève if this was really possible in the 19th century? "Yes”, she said, “but on the fringes of society only. Some women of the time, somehow, were real stars. Extremely desired by their male admires, they achieved complete freedom.” Ève is truly passionate about the epoch because it was, as she puts it, “a key period during which French society was transformed from an aristocracy to a modern industrialized one. Within just one century, France moved from an absolutistic monarchy into a durable democracy.”

Passion and love

Interestingly enough, most erotic literature was written by men. Eroticism of women is different though. “One thing is obvious”, says Ève, “there is no submission, no rape. And it’s definitely more closely linked to love.” The story of the life of Aglaé, as you might guess, is not only about sex, but about true love. With an end you couldn't even dream of.

Ève Matel: Mémoires érotiques d’une cocotte.

Mercure de France. Paris, 2011. 15 €.