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Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 Mar 2000
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"A rare achievement . . . a ray of sunshine in the gloomy world of lust." --Erica Jong
From the Inside Flap
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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I haven't read it yet but it's a beautiful looking book, i love vintage style so the fact that it's worn added to the charm.Published 21 months ago by France's
Not always easy to understand the language of the period, but you get the drift I suppose.Published 24 months ago by Blue and white