Madame Clorinda Cathcart is a very exclusive courtesan in Regency London, very comfortably situated, with a wide circle of acquaintance. Besides her more obvious attributes and activities, she is always ready to listen to her circle’s problems and to devize stratagems to solve them. Sometimes these lead to unanticipated further problems…
“The discovery of these volumes of memoirs, the prime jewel in the trove of papers unearthed during conversion operations at Yeomans, a Georgian manor house in Surrey, was widely reported in the media. I had the privilege of being called in at a very early stage of the game to examine the materials in the chests discovered when knocking through an attic wall and words can hardly express the excitement I felt upon my first perusal of these memoirs. Their revelations are still being assimilated by historians and literary scholars.
Preparing them for publication has been an agreeable if sometimes arduous task. I took the executive decision to retain the author's sometimes idiosyncratic spelling and syntax, which reveal her as a woman of wide reading but little formal education. It was also agreed to retain her attempt to conceal the identity of members of her circle and others by using initials, but it has proved possible to identify these and keys to the dramatis personae have therefore been included in each published volume. Significant updating of certain entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has been one consequence.
In order to make these volumes accessible to the wide audience they deserve, extensive scholarly apparatus has been eschewed: detailed references, however, may be found on the The Comfortable Courtesan website (clorinda.org), which also contains a wealth of other contextual material.”