Die Memoiren der Fanny Hill: Klassiker der erotischen Weltliteratur (German) Hardcover
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"A rare achievement . . . a ray of sunshine in the gloomy world of lust."
-A rare achievement . . . a ray of sunshine in the gloomy world of lust.-
--Erica Jong -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.
About the Author
John Cleland was born in 1710, eldest son of William Cleland, an officer and friend of the Pope. For a while hoe worked for the East India Company, rising from soldiers to businessman to secretary of the Bombay Council, though he returned to London in 1741. He then became a literary hack and journalist and was imprisoned for debt on several occasions, and on one such occasion used the time to write Fanny Hill. He died in Westminster in January 1789.
Peter Wagner is a lecturer at the Catholic University of Eichstatt in Bavaria. His books in English include a study of Puritanism in colonial New England, and a survey of erotica in the age of Enlightenment.-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.
Top customer reviews
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.
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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