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Fanny Hill by John Cleland

Fanny Hill (1748)

by John Cleland

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (42)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (46)
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Comparison with Candide: The purpose of the two books is very different of course. Fanny Hill is supposedly realistic - she doesn't leave London, but has plenty of adventures while there (meanwhile her first lover is banished to the South Seas). We are meant to take it as more or less documentary of what actually went on in the sex trade in mid-18th century London (probably not all that different from the sex trade before or since). It is of course meant to be very titllating, though I must say that the language used is a lot less explicit than you can find on Archive of Our Own without looking too far. Where Candide varies the geographical setting, Fanny Hill varies the sexual activity.

Both are Bildungsromane, but actually I think Fanny has the more interesting and convincing character arc. Candide has grown up a bit by the end of the book; Fanny has grown up a lot, and has moved from complete dependence to almost complete independence. She was also new to me (I had read Candide many years ago) and I enjoyed her adventures more. You can get Candide here and Fanny Hill here. ( )
  nwhyte | Apr 28, 2019 |
Il genere erotico non è sicuramente tra i miei preferiti e, se non fosse stato per una task della gara a squadre, non avrei mai letto questo libro.
E’ stata comunque una interessante scoperta e una lettura diversa dal solito. Il libro è stato scritto nel 1748 ed è costato ad autore ed editori il carcere. E’ stato quindi ritirato dal mercato, anche se ne giravano copie illegali, e reimmesso nel mercato anni dopo.
La storia è una lunga missiva ad una signora nella quale è narrata esplicitamente la storia di una giovane donna, Fanny, che per ingenuità e necessità si ritrova a far parte di diverse case d’appuntamento.
Anche se in alcuni punti sembra un film porno in costume, la lettura comunque non è spiacevole e in qualche modo risulta attuale nelle tematiche. A suo favore comunque il fatto di utilizzare un linguaggio non volgare, perché comunque adeguato all’epoca, che oggi penso si sia un po’ perso.
( )
  Feseven78 | Apr 17, 2019 |
This is a book that I notmally wouldn't pick up when I'm in a real or virtual bookstore. Because it is on the 1001-list, I bought AND read it.

Well, I'm done reading and, to be honest, considering the content I have not the slightest idea why this would be on the list.
Considering when it was written and how it was received by the public, well, maybe it deserves to be there as token of the times. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jan 4, 2019 |
This classic erotic work distinguishes itself from its peers in some ways. Its use of euphemism completely avoids any 'rude' words, though it describes a number of pornographic scenes in detail. Although written by a man, Fanny seems a genuine character, and the scenes she describes follow each other logically instead of the combinatorial excess found in other pornographic works. Fanny also has definite sexual preferences although she is not averse to experimentation. As a 'mistress of pleasure' she was a relatively lucky one with a minimum of bad experiences. Finally, and this is where the book really diverges from the norm, she finds love and even promotes love as more important than (or at least as important as) sexual gratification. ( )
2 vote questbird | Aug 29, 2018 |
Gorgeous language; for all its transparent euphemisms, total porn. Love it, though Cleland really does not need to use the word "vermillion" quite so much.

Also Fanny is a bit close-minded about certain things, which the afterword in this edition describes as "the more outlandish practices [...] such as sodomy, lesbianism and flagellation". For the latter two cases it notes Fanny describing the tastes of Phoebe and Mr Barvile as "arbitrary" and "unaccountable" (though she participates with both without regretting it). This much suits said afterward's thematic discourse very well, so it promptly forgets to mention that she describes the instance of sodomy she witnesses as "odious" and "criminal". She'd even dob in the people involved if she didn't trip over herself in her haste and half knock herself out; and when she tells Mrs Cole about it, the latter says a good deal nastier.

I would dearly love to see some fanfic in which Charles discovers her memoir and, having had his own experiences while at sea, educates her (through explanation, narration, and some pleasant demonstration or two) about the wonders of the masculine "seat of pleasure".... ( )
1 vote zeborah | Jan 2, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (186 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cleland, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cavell, PhilippeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cavell, PhillippeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conti, Anna MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eyre, JustineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martínez Fariñas, EnriqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plumb, J.H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quennell, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sancisi, ValentinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagner, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I sit down to give you an undeniable proof of my considering your desires as indispensable orders.
Published anonymously and under false imprints, shunned by respectable booksellers, perused by furtive readers, repeatedly seized by authorities, expurgated and denounced by its own author, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure was for long an underground book. (Introduction)
I felt the prodigious keen edge, with which love, presiding over this act, points the pleasure: love!  that may be styled the Attic salt of enjoyment; and indeed, without it, the joy, great as it is, is still a vulgar one, whether in a king or a beggar; for it is, undoubtedly, love alone that refines, ennobles, and exalts it.
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Book description
I could have scream'd out; but, as I was unwilling to alarm the house, I held in my breath, and cramm'd my petticoat, which was turn'd up over my face, into my mouth, and bit it through in the agony. At length, the tender texture of that tract giving way to such fierce tearing and rending, he pierc'd something further into me; and now, outrageous and no longer his own master, but borne headlong away by the fury and over-mettle of that member, now exerting itself with a kind of native rage, he breaks in, carries all before him, and one violent merciless lunge sent it, imbrew'd, and reeking with virgin blood, up to the very hilt in me ...

Then! then all my resolution deserted m; i scream'd out, and fainted away with the sharpness of the pain; and , as he told me afterwards, on his drawing out, when emission was over with him, my thighs were instantly all in a stream of blood that flow'd from the wounded torn passage.
"Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" has been widely banned and censored since its first publication in 1749, and was only made legal to sell in Great Britain and the United States in 1963. Despite this suppression, the novel has survived the test of time and brought notoriety to its author, John Cleland, because of his lush and witty prose style. The story of Fanny Hill, an orphaned teenage girl who takes to prostitution in order to survive, relies not on vulgarity or obscene vernacular, but on clever innuendoes, metaphors, and similes to deliver the erotic details. Fanny Hill's rise to fortune and happiness is due entirely to her sexual prowess - a satiric attack on the morality of eighteenth century society, when aristocratic women sought husbands for financial advancement. This novel will entertain and intrigue readers today, transporting them into a world where love is currency, and pleasure is profit.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432493, Paperback)

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, commonly known as Fanny Hill, has been shrouded in mystery and controversy since John Cleland completed it in 1749. The Bishop of London called the work 'an open insult upon Religion and good manners' and James Boswell referred to it as 'a most licentious and inflaming book'.

The story of a prostitute's rise to respectability, it has been recognized more recently as a unique combination of parody, sensual entertainment and a philosophical concept of sexuality borrowed from French libertine novels. Modern readers will appreciate it not only as an important contribution to revolutionary thought in the Age of Enlightenment, but also as a thoroughly entertaining and important work of erotic fiction, deserving of a place in the history of the English novel beside Richardson, Fielding and Smollett.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:19 -0400)

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"Fanny Hill, shrouded in controversy for most of its more than 250-year life, and banned from publication in the United States until 1966, was once considered immoral and without literary merit, even earning its author a jail sentence for obscenity." "The tale of a naive young prostitute in bawdy eighteenth-century London who slowly rises to respectability, the novel - and its popularity - endured many bannings and critics, and today Fanny Hill is considered an important piece of political parody and sexual philosophy on par with French libertine novels." "This uncensored version is set from the 1749 edition and includes commentary by Charles Rembar, the lawyer who defended the novel in the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, and newly commissioned notes."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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