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on 17 April 2017
This book was recommended to me by a dubious friend who knows I like historical fiction. On research I think this book has been banned more than any other book. It is staggering that it was written in the late 1700's.
The story concerns sex, in all its forms, from the first to last page. If it was published today it would be accompanied with graphic videos or photos. It is a credit to the author that his descriptions make this unnecessary. Also interesting that he writes from the woman's perspective.
It is very graphic but I enjoyed the old terms and words. The question is did this really go on?
Only recommended if you are not easily shocked and like old English prose.
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on 24 January 2014
Oh my Goodness, I find it so hard to believe that this book came out of the same century as the works of Mrs Radcliffe!! I could hardly believe what I was reading as something which came out just a few decades earlier than those Radcliffean novels of sensibility and refined heroines. Fanny Hill is anything but refined. From Radcliffe you will get elongated descriptions of scenery which will elevate your soul - from this you get elongated descriptions of something else... mainly genitalia. I read the Penguin Popular Classics edition and like all eighteenth century texts, it takes a few pages to "get your ear in tune" and start decoding the flowery language, but once you get past that, well... I was shocked and amused in equal measure. I think the one thing you can say about this book, is that you can definitely tell that it was written by a man with a male perspective of women and sex. What woman in her right mind would say of herself: "Violent passions seldom last long, and those of women least of any." (p.81) Also, some of the things Fanny engages in with alacrity - well, I don't think I'd be that keen, but maybe I'm doing it wrong. Once you get past the (many and frequent) descriptions of male and female genitalia and various sexual adventures, this is an interesting book if you are a student of the 18th Century. There's commentary on degeneration of the species in here ("...kept me constantly in exercise till dawning of morning; in all which time he made me fully sensible of the virtues of his firm texture of limbs, his square shoulders, broad chest, compact hard muscles, in short, a system of manliness that might pass for no bad image of our ancient sturdy barons, whose race is now so thoroughly refined and frittered away in the more delicate and modern-built frame of our pap-nerved softlings, who are as pale, as pretty, and almost as masculine as their sisters." p. 85) and on the class system and society in general ("We visited one another in form, and mimicked, as near as we could, all the miseries, the follies, and impertinences of the women of quality, in the round of which they trifle away their time, without its ever entering into their little heads that on earth there cannot subsist anything more silly, more flat, more insipid and more worthless than, generally considered, their system of life: they ought to treat men as their tyrants, indeed! were they to condemn them to it." p. 88) There's also a story to be found in Fanny's history of the four short years of prostitution from the age of 15 to 19. I worried about her at the end when she offered her fortune to her returned first lover - life in the eighteenth century was so precarious she could so easily have fallen foul of that. However, it seems that he was an honourable man after all and a happy ending was on the cards for her. Like other reviewers, I couldn't help thinking about disease and the threat of violence which must have been far more prevalent than the blithe Fanny relates in her tale. Also, I couldn't help thinking about Mrs Radcliffe, particularly when I read (on two occasions in the book) of the women "...who received him as he pushed at once dead at the mark like a heroine, without flinching;..." It seems to me like there's heroines and HEROINES in 18th century literature - and it depends which book you read as to which type you are reading about.

This is a vastly entertaining book. I've never read those fifty shades books but I'm told that the quality of writing is terrible. However, in here there is a bit of everything: straight sex, gay sex, voyeurism, orgies, sado-masochism AND it's well-written.
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on 3 November 2012
This was on a long list of books that I always meant to get round to reading. Just above it on the list was Moll Flanders,which is a good natured romp through the previous century. Whereas Moll pops in and out of bed leaving what goes on there to the readers' imagination Fanny gives the comings and going within her eponymous organ in absolutely explicit detail. It is little wonder that for many years this book was banned as pornography as it would be under almost any system that restricts publication of explicit material. Ultimately the repitition gets rather tedious and in the way of what little plot there is. As an insight into the seedier side of the eighteenth century it sits alongside Boswell's London Journal in contrast to rather more high minded works like that gentleman's Life of Dr Johnson.
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on 12 March 2016
Cleland was a fantastic writer, and the humour of the text holds up well. Fanny Hill is an eighteenth century classic and still very much worth reading. However, this "edition" - which amounts to a bound printout of a typo-ridden Word document - is not. I paid for the print version because it was much cheaper than the Oxford World Classics edition at the time, but I now wish I had got the more expensive one. Personally, I find the errors in the text very distracting; if you're an academic, there is no way you could reliably cite this version of the text. It might be passable as a Kindle book for personal reading. But if you need a print copy, there have got to be better editions with proper notes and critical introductions at around the same price. Don't waste your time with this one!
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on 9 March 2013
as it is in the genuine edition, some of the language is a bit harder to understand that the penguin paperback edition i have of this, but nevertheless, a good read
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on 23 April 2014
The book is just as expected, the Kindle Whispernet worked seamlessly, and the edition is nice and clear to read. Very happy.
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on 30 August 2013
The story realistically, honestly and poignantly tells the account of country girl Frances "Fanny" Hill's descent into prostitution and her success in this profession. The descriptions of sexual activity, though realistic, become monotonous and it's hard to believe her clients are so unimaginative! Unexpectedly the story has a happy and convincing ending, but I'm not giving it away!
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on 19 August 2012
This infamous 18th century tale of a destitute country girl fallen into prostitution book is truly bawdy. Both tragic and titilating, it's as good as any modern drama. There are some typos in the text, but they should not spoil your enjoyment.
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on 4 March 2016
I tried to remember the story from my youth, but it seemed to have have changed from what I could recall. The copy that I read showed the reality of life in ages past, and the hard times that people had to exist in.
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on 18 February 2013
This book is literally just about sex, either she's just had sex or she's having it or she's about to have it. Quite an interesting story though but I did get a bit bored.
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