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Fanny Hill, or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748)

by John Cleland

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,323583,936 (3.17)149
Erotic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Memoirs of Fanny Hill, written in debtor's prison in 1784, is considered the first modern erotic novel in English. A young woman, Fanny Hill, is forced by poverty to go into service, but is tricked into becoming a prostitute instead. She is then saved by her love, only to have his jealous father send him from the country some months later. She moves from one lover to the next, gaining maturity with each encounter, and nearing her... happy ending.

.… (more)
  1. 20
    The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer and Fanny Hill by Charles Rembar (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Explores the US trial that lifted the banning of Fanny Hill.
  2. 10
    The Memoirs of Josephine Mutzenbacher by Felix Salten (ljessen)
  3. 00
    Miss Handicock's School for Young Ladies: The Anonymous Lady J by The Anonymous Lady J (LuArcher)
    LuArcher: Satire and vintage sexual exploits about a woman's erotic freedoms and experiences and no holds barred exposure to a world of human sexuality. I think this author was really influenced (in a shorter format) by this same genre of sexual adventure and humor.
  4. 01
    Forbidden Desire by Emmanuelle de Maupassant (Anonymous user)
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» See also 149 mentions

English (49)  Danish (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Suomeksi
  Viisapipa | Nov 25, 2023 |
John Cleland’s 1748 novel Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure tells the story of a young woman who traveled from Lancashire to London seeking work as a domestic, but instead was lured into a brothel. Cleland writes the story from the perspective of Fanny, who is writing in the form of a letter. Amid her erotic encounters, she meets a man named Charles who convinces her to escape. She becomes the kept woman of a wealthy man, but finds that he’s having an affair with his maid, so she has an affair with his footman as revenge. He catches her and she must return to work in a brothel, though for wealthy clients. In the second volume, she describes the various acts at the brothel, spending more time describing others’ activities. Eventually, Fanny retires and has a chance encounter with Charles, whom she marries and with whom she shares the fortune she accumulated over the years.

Cleland published the novel in order to pay his way out of debtors’ prison. Despite its success and numerous knock-off editions, Cleland was arrested and charged with “corrupting the King’s subjects,” though he was freed after renouncing the novel. It remained available in pirate editions from underground booksellers in the U.S. and U.K. from the late-eighteenth through nineteenth centuries. Only in the mid-twentieth century was the book cleared for publication in both nations as the result of court cases and changing public sentiment. Possibly aiding the revised opinions were the book’s historical significance and Cleland’s own writing style in which he eschewed “dirty words” or explicit descriptions in favor of euphemism. The work itself may be of interest to those looking to learn more about late-seventeenth-century sexual mores as well as the history of obscenity in the English-speaking world. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Dec 27, 2022 |
This is what happens when you read too much Alan Moore.

I actually enjoyed this story more than I thought. I wasn't really sure what to expect, it's porn after all. I liked the disruptions though. Some of them read liked a regular novel and some (most the sex scenes) got overly ridiculous which made the book fun. Most of this was dated though. I'll give it slack for being one of the earliest erotica novels in English. Modern erotic novelist, such as Anaïs Nin, are better, in my opinion. ( )
  Ghost_Boy | Aug 25, 2022 |
I read this due to it being referenced in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics. In those comics is a parody sequel to this which is quite funny.
This however is not, at least for me, it was like reading an episode of Law and Order SVU or something. Its interesting but not a pleasant read. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (199 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cleland, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blum, ZeviIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cavell, PhilippeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conti, Anna MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eyre, JustineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jong, EricaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lubalin, HerbDesignersecondary 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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Madam,
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)
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

Erotic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Memoirs of Fanny Hill, written in debtor's prison in 1784, is considered the first modern erotic novel in English. A young woman, Fanny Hill, is forced by poverty to go into service, but is tricked into becoming a prostitute instead. She is then saved by her love, only to have his jealous father send him from the country some months later. She moves from one lover to the next, gaining maturity with each encounter, and nearing her... happy ending.

.

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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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