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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explicit, erotic and fun
Frances `Fanny' Hill is an orphan country lass aged 15. She goes to London to seek her fortune and is soon introduced to a brothel. Her naivety and virginity is a premium value and after a lesbian introduction to intimacy meets some possible clients but ultimately gives in to her first true love, Charles a young man of 19. He is taken away against his will and Fanny must...
Published on 30 Nov 2010 by H. Tee

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An erotic Anti-Pamela with much to offer
Literature, as with the other arts, has often courted scandal, and scandal often prevents an objective, rational appreciation of a work until that scandal has become a part of history. Such is the case with 'Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure' ('Fanny Hill'). It is only after the late Twentieth Century relaxation of taboos that we have easy access at the unexpurgated text and...
Published on 18 Jun 2001 by T. Gambrell


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explicit, erotic and fun, 30 Nov 2010
By 
H. Tee (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Frances `Fanny' Hill is an orphan country lass aged 15. She goes to London to seek her fortune and is soon introduced to a brothel. Her naivety and virginity is a premium value and after a lesbian introduction to intimacy meets some possible clients but ultimately gives in to her first true love, Charles a young man of 19. He is taken away against his will and Fanny must progress her career as a middle class courtesan (she is no street walking strumpet) meeting various fellow girls, masochistic men, well endowed guys, pretending to lose her virginity again, madames etc. She relates her bawdy story in the form of a letter to its conclusion when she is still only 19. This famous story was written in 1749 and Cleland was prosecuted for it. The BBC recently made this into a mini series.

The language is surprising readable given it is 250 years old - indeed I'd even say the olde style is actually the most entertaining aspect of the book. Cleland's turn of phrase is interesting, colourful and flowing. It is quite remarkable how completely explicit the text is using only innuendo; I gave up counting the number of substitute words for `penis' were used in the story. The sex is quite real, one would have no doubts about what our forebears got up to. There is even, much to my surprise, a detailed gay sex scene.

One must accept this is basically not intended to be a naturalism depiction of the real life of a prostitute (though I suppose it does refer to pregnancy and STIs) but rather a fun and diverting erotic story. It is ultimately a moral tale with a happy romantic ending, making it all the better - really fun and recommended.

The 12 illustrations in the kindle edition are apt and explicit (as can be seen on the cover) showing scenes throughout the book; though annoyingly they all occur at the end. Reading on the kindle obviously may offer the reader the reduction in potential (unjustified) teasing in being caught reading the book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An erotic Anti-Pamela with much to offer, 18 Jun 2001
By 
T. Gambrell "Brellers" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Literature, as with the other arts, has often courted scandal, and scandal often prevents an objective, rational appreciation of a work until that scandal has become a part of history. Such is the case with 'Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure' ('Fanny Hill'). It is only after the late Twentieth Century relaxation of taboos that we have easy access at the unexpurgated text and can look beyond the purely sexual aspects of it and consider its place as an Eighteenth Century text, and its importance in the development of the novel. Peter Sabor's critical introductory essay contextualises the piece well, not playing up the eroticism and astutely drawing the reader to comparisons with Samuel Richardson's novel 'Pamela' (1740). One cannot ignore the eroticism of the novel, though, and it would be wrong to do so for therein lie many of its strengths. It is never explicit - although one could claim that in allowing the reader to infer more and to translate mataphor the text becomes more erotic, more of a turn-on. It is a turn-on, even through its archaic metaphors, but one can't help but admire its boldness, energy and creativity. One feels it to be a more worthwhile read than modern, trashy erotic fiction with its expletives and explicit phraseology. Not by any means the best novel of the Eighteenth Century, but one of the better 'anti-Pamelas', and a vital piece in our picture of the development of the novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Draws an interesting picture, 6 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Interesting story of a young, naive women being compelled into the seedier side of life by lack of money and manipulative contacts. She embraces elements of this life for a while, sometimes seemingly enthusiastically, before becoming ultimately disillusioned and yearning for a more traditional set up. Descriptive racy scenes before the reader can titilate but are somewhat repetitive. Gives a reasonable feel of the time and its social mores. A quick read, that you can comfortably dip in and out of without losing the plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pornography?, 10 Jun 2010
By 
Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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I'll readily admit one of the reasons I was drawn to this book is its reputation as 'a dirty book' which to my mind it still has. I wouldn't hesitate to read for instance Moll Flanders in a crowded train, but found myself hesitant to do so with 'Fanny Hill', however prudish that may sound. However, read it I did, and it proved to be a very interesting experience though for entirely different reasons.

Is there then no sex in the book? On the contrary, there's lots of it. But if you want to be 'titillated' (as Cleland would say) think twice before you consider reading 'Fanny Hill'. First of all, I think you'll find that since 1749, when 'Fanny Hill' was first published, we have grown accustomed to a lot more, and that in a much more explicit style. Cleland may describe sexual acts but he does so 'without naming names', and in a way this book that once scandalized therefore now at times seems a bit ludicrous (as in 'that store-bag of nature's prime sweets that is so pleasingly attached to its conduit-pipe, from which we receive them;'). At the very least, I found myself admiring Cleland for his virtually endless store of synonyms, euphemisms and circumlocutions. But, given the fact that we (or I at least) are accustomed to a more explicit style, and taking into account that Cleland writes in often extremely long sentences, I found myself rarely 'titillated'.

This does not imply that I did not find myself interested, on the contrary. One of the interesting things about 'Fanny Hill' is that, in terms of philosophy and outlook on life, this is in fact a very middle-class, conservative book. As much as Fanny comes to enjoy sex with a wide variety of people (both men and women), it is to her first and foremost the means to a single end: earning enough money to stop being a prostitute and become respectable in the eyes of society. This is evident from lots of small remarks Fanny makes throughout the book, but also from her reaction to for instance casual, gratuitous sex (which she has only once, with a sailor, afterwards condemning herself for being so stupid), or homosexuality (which she once observes without being seen herself, and afterwards roundly condemns as a gross sin against Nature). In that respect it is also noteworthy that the very first man she has sex with becomes the love of her life, so even if he was not her husband at the time, at least it's her future husband that 'deflowers' her virginity (which is as it should be if you wanted to consider yourself a respectable woman).

So, to sum up: if it's mere excitement you're looking for (and I'm not saying that that is a bad thing) I would advise you to go elsewhere, but if you're interested to travel as in a time-capsule to the 18th century by all means read 'Fanny Hill'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just a book about sex, 6 Jan 2012
This review is from: Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This novel isn't just about sex. Okay, so there's a LOT of sex. I was a bit taken aback as I'd assumed due to the time it was written that it would be more suggestive and modest, but found instead it was overtly sexual and extremely graphic, especially when it came to phalic descriptions. And much like other writers of his time, Cleland uses a lot of flower related metaphors relentlessly.
However, there's a (surprisingly) deeper point to this book. Much like Charles Dickens forced people to see that life for the poor was a desperate struggle, Cleland shows his audience how young women were used and abused in the sex trade and how easy it was for them to be dragged into the seedier lifestyle. Admittedly he does rose tint it, but at the same time hints at the darker and more dangerous side. He describes lengths some women had to go to in order to procure a living. If you like your history this could be quite interesting.
The plot, no matter what anyone else says, is definitely there and I enjoyed it. I even felt heartbroken at one point. Unlike many modern books which sacrificing plot in exchange for being overly romantic and sexual, Cleland's novel has found a happy balance and I 100% recommend this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanny Hill is considered an important piece of political parody and sexual philosophy on par with French libertine novels, 1 Nov 2007
This review is from: Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
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 nave young prostitute in bawdy eighteenth-century London who slowly rises to respectability, the novel-and its popularity-endured many bannings and critics. 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. I'd also recommend, if you missed Tino Georgiou's novel--The Fates, getting a copy--absolutely fab..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy, 20 Dec 2012
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Lovely old book, in very good conditions, so nice we can still get hold of these items a great service
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely collectors book, 28 April 2010
By 
Philippa Kimball-Smith "Pippa" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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Just like all other collectors library book, gorgeous, except this one cheaper than you can buy in Waterstones!!
Quick delivery. Excellent service
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read, 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Bawdy and fun set and wrote in another time but an enjoyable story of sexual adventure and the introduction to a very different life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small but good, 12 Aug 2013
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I expected the book to be larger than it actually is, it's only postcard size, 4"x6" but it has an old fashioned feel to the paper and print, so I suppose it's trying to look authentic. Having said that, it's a very good read and won't take up any room in a bag!
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