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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 (37)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (41)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
must have been the fifty shades of it's day... too much in the way of silly euphemisms for me, and the sheer silliness of finding Charles again in a tavern - a coincidence a little too far.. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
ICK! I needed a warning before proceeding with this. So I will warn other readers.
This book left me feeling quite disgusting and exposed to the raw elements of the world. I Need to bathe in rose scented bathwater while listening to Sade and reading something of beautiful historical fiction.
There are a lot of Rape scenes here, and because the narrator is younger then 18, it makes it that much more uncomfortable and disgusting for the reader.
Although the language was quite beautiful, it was really difficult for my modern mind to comprehend the exact tone of the book.
This was such a difficult subject to cover, yet the author managed to describe how a young woman can survive in the cold brutal world: by way of being manhandled by jerky men.
There was way too many uncomfortable scenes for me to enjoy this book, Although, I kind of feel bad for the low rating, because I suppose this is supposed to be a beautiful & classic piece of literature.
This reminds me of a fake designer handbag, you are expecting quality but it just doesn't deliver. ( )
  XoVictoryXo | May 31, 2016 |
Gosh, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to say about this book. I 'knew' that this was going to be 'racy' and had been banned, but hadn't quite realised just how explicit it would be. Not that I'm shocked or anything, I'm pretty broad minded, I just didn't expect anything written in 1749 to be quite so graphic. Those of my friends who found 'Crimson Petal' a bit strong had better get their smelling salts handy!

The story is that of Fanny Hill, a young girl born near Liverpool. Her parents both die and she decides to try her 'luck' in London. Well I guess it depends on your viewpoint as to how 'lucky' she actually is. She falls, by chance, into prostitution and her exploits are vividly detailed in the form of letters to an unknown recipient.

Whilst obviously written by a man, it's interesting to note that Fanny and the other girls are actually depicted as enjoying sex - a new departure! Contrasts vividly with, the later, Victorian times when sex was often depicted as something to be endured as a wifely duty.

This is listed in the 1001 books you must read before you die http://www.listology.com/list/1001-books-you-must-read-you-die and I can understand why. ( )
1 vote Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
The overall intent of this book is pornographic, but Cleland demonstrated in a mostly believable way how young women (well, really girls) became prostitutes because of being stuck in unmanageable situations without having had the benefit of an education or adult protection. This book exaggerated quite a bit and presented the sexual myths of the time period. For example, according to this book, men with an intellectual disability are well endowed, female virgins desire to have sex over and over again immediately after their initial experience, and homosexuality among men is abominable but among women is erotic. At some point it became a bit repetitive. It maintained a sort of appeal in that it was less personally judgmental about the girls who became prostitutes but it was unappealing in that it ignored the reality of the dangers of such an existence. This is a book that can be appreciated, but to do so it is necessary to ignore the real social consequences of prostitution and focus on the scenes that might match the individual reader's view of what would be erotic. ( )
1 vote karmiel | Aug 9, 2015 |
Indexed (well, not Pius IV, but whatever)
Banned smut is my favorite fashion of smut. If your work has been blacklisted, then I am a fan. Of course, Fanny Hill: Memoirs Of A Woman of Pleasure is redolent in this charge. The work has been abused by parochial souls, dragged through puritan circumspect, called out and sinned against by one moral majority after another. Mr. J. Cleland knew something of the Orient, but, alas, this makes no appearance in this novel. Maybe I do wish to critique the writer. I shall do so but for, let us hope, the right reasons—none of which have anything to do with that ugly puritanism that has for so long shortened the sights of Occidental fuckery.

I have enjoyed this novel very much. I only read it last week. Though I’ve known about, known of, this story for some time, I only downloaded it on my Kindle recently.

The plot is one of “corruption.” A beautiful theme if done correctly, corruption means here that some young female thing falls from stupid innocence to gutter-sucking puss-buggery. The hit-and-love dimension of my perfect soul is much angered that the teenage girl character, our Fanny, never learns the joy in blood-wet sex. Despite Fanny’s first encounters of the flesh being sapphist (and here Cleland does well), the silly tart never rams her forearm up anyone’s bunghole. The feminist in me cannot do without a binge of anal-boy rape. To shame, Cleland, to shame.

No Sex in Your Violence (yes, yes, and I've gotta machine head as well)
To an honest appraisal I conduct this swath of tilted letters. Damn the French, damn de Sade, from whom I've stolen my name. You’ve soured my brain to anything but what I want most now these days. No joy, let alone ecstasy, is really permissible without physical or mental, that is, all physiological really, destruction...

The language itself is a treat; I can easily grant this. So much smut today is smut because it is shit. It is smut for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t even attempt perversion. Big, overzealous, perfidious, pestiferous diction is what I love. And, on occasion, Cleland’s “machines” (what a wonderful moniker for a ribald penis, no?) are wordsmith-worthy. At the very least, having composed this in the 18th century means that, by default, the language is already scrumptious—the English language. Nothing about this pornography in prose of Cleland has anything even remotely American about it.

Highly Recommended
Oh, and I did mention the Orient above because the writer spent some time on the subcontinent. This was when Mumbai was Bombay and colonialism was still profitable.

In conclusion, I recommend that you consume Fanny Hill when wearing your dress, the summer dress that flaps about in the wind and is easily turned up. I did rub myself. This is smut, English smut. A minx in mind is a minx in heart is a minx in thought and dreams and soul and spirit. Yes, ignore my sad sadist reservations.

Fanny Hill is a treat and one that is to be enjoyed for the ages.

Love always, -V. de S ( )
1 vote VirginiaDeSade | Jun 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (118 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Clelandprimary authorall editionscalculated
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.
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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)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Fanny Hill, also known as Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, has been a notorious novel since it first appeared in London in 1748-9. Banned for its obscene content, this fictional account of a young woman's unconventional route to middle-class respectability is, in fact, a lively and engaging comic romp through the boudoirs and brothels of Augustan England, with a heroine whose adventures and setbacks never lessen her humanity or her determination to find real love and happiness. Fanny's story offers modern readers sensuality and substance, as well as an unusually frank depiction of love and sex in the eighteenth century.… (more)

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