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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 naïve 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.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780307824110
List price: $2.99
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Availability for Fanny Hill: or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
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A girl becomes a prostitute before making good and marrying her true love. I found the narrative of the sexual encounters inbetween plodding and rather dull, and was never able to read more than a few pages at one sitting. Despite the detail, I couldn't really see what all the fuss was about.more
A funny, iconic, but mostly smutty eighteenth century novel about a young provincial lass who travels to London in search of work after her parents die, and naively moves into a brothel. By the time Fanny realises exactly what kind of 'position' she has accepted, the shrewd madam has already initiated Fanny into the tricks and 'delights' of prostitution. Over the course of a few years, Fanny is nearly raped, escapes the brothel to live with her lover, becomes a kept woman, returns to prostitution, has various lovers of different ages, sizes, tastes and duration, witnesses a homosexual tryst, which disgusts Cleland (sorry, disgusts Fanny), and a good time is had by all. Honestly, at first I found the erotic passages quaint and amusing, full of curious euphemisms (the 'cloven stamp of female distinction' and the male 'machine') and repetitive scenes, but then Fanny's cynical narrative voice soon faded into a series of male fantasies where women enjoy being forced into sex. Prostitutes are always pretty and healthy young girls who are in the trade seemingly through personal preference, and the harsh reality of diseases, unwanted pregnancies and rape are not allowed to ruin the illusion. Rape especially, because women who refuse to have sex are just being coy, and can be beaten into submission with that wondrous 'machine'. Fanny Hill is basically a constant and ever inventive series of scenarios, helpfully illustrated by Paul Avril, where heroine Fanny scores a quick poke from wealthy noblemen, doddering old fools, masochists and even the village idiot, and any pretence of plot, prose or morality (Fanny claims to love Charles, but forgets about him completely until the end of the book) is soon abandoned, and then even the sex gets boring! Good for a laugh, if nothing else.more
Audiobook - well there is a lot of sex. The story is ok I guess - but too much sex with little of much else just did not work for me.more
There is not one filthy word in this book. And there is barely one non-sexual scene in it. The story of young Fanny's downfall from sexual purity and rise to upper middle-class comfort is infamous, of course and earned Cleland immortality which, based on the writing he hardly deserves. Sometimes it was obvious that he realized how tedious the descriptions of Fanny's various encounters were getting to be. It is curious to think how limited is our ability to describe genitalia and the use thereof. Cleland's choice (or more likely the writing style of the 18th century) to write about sex the way in which he did gave him more nouns and adjectives than the modern writer might use, I thought, but even then, reading about the 'machines' of Fanny's different partners and the ladies' mounds and 'mangled' and suffering parts so endlessly, was tedious indeed. It was far more interesting to wonder about the staying power of this book. I can only assume it has something to do with its reputation and its being one of, if not the first, English erotic novel.Reading it as an 18th century novel, I am able to give it 3 stars. Written at a later time, it would surely rate much lower and garner at least a 4 on the yawn scale.This year I am on the hunt for books found within books. Naturally there are no other books mentioned within this book - Fanny did not seem to have time for or interest in anything other than her throbbing, hungry, nether regions.more
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Reviews

A girl becomes a prostitute before making good and marrying her true love. I found the narrative of the sexual encounters inbetween plodding and rather dull, and was never able to read more than a few pages at one sitting. Despite the detail, I couldn't really see what all the fuss was about.more
A funny, iconic, but mostly smutty eighteenth century novel about a young provincial lass who travels to London in search of work after her parents die, and naively moves into a brothel. By the time Fanny realises exactly what kind of 'position' she has accepted, the shrewd madam has already initiated Fanny into the tricks and 'delights' of prostitution. Over the course of a few years, Fanny is nearly raped, escapes the brothel to live with her lover, becomes a kept woman, returns to prostitution, has various lovers of different ages, sizes, tastes and duration, witnesses a homosexual tryst, which disgusts Cleland (sorry, disgusts Fanny), and a good time is had by all. Honestly, at first I found the erotic passages quaint and amusing, full of curious euphemisms (the 'cloven stamp of female distinction' and the male 'machine') and repetitive scenes, but then Fanny's cynical narrative voice soon faded into a series of male fantasies where women enjoy being forced into sex. Prostitutes are always pretty and healthy young girls who are in the trade seemingly through personal preference, and the harsh reality of diseases, unwanted pregnancies and rape are not allowed to ruin the illusion. Rape especially, because women who refuse to have sex are just being coy, and can be beaten into submission with that wondrous 'machine'. Fanny Hill is basically a constant and ever inventive series of scenarios, helpfully illustrated by Paul Avril, where heroine Fanny scores a quick poke from wealthy noblemen, doddering old fools, masochists and even the village idiot, and any pretence of plot, prose or morality (Fanny claims to love Charles, but forgets about him completely until the end of the book) is soon abandoned, and then even the sex gets boring! Good for a laugh, if nothing else.more
Audiobook - well there is a lot of sex. The story is ok I guess - but too much sex with little of much else just did not work for me.more
There is not one filthy word in this book. And there is barely one non-sexual scene in it. The story of young Fanny's downfall from sexual purity and rise to upper middle-class comfort is infamous, of course and earned Cleland immortality which, based on the writing he hardly deserves. Sometimes it was obvious that he realized how tedious the descriptions of Fanny's various encounters were getting to be. It is curious to think how limited is our ability to describe genitalia and the use thereof. Cleland's choice (or more likely the writing style of the 18th century) to write about sex the way in which he did gave him more nouns and adjectives than the modern writer might use, I thought, but even then, reading about the 'machines' of Fanny's different partners and the ladies' mounds and 'mangled' and suffering parts so endlessly, was tedious indeed. It was far more interesting to wonder about the staying power of this book. I can only assume it has something to do with its reputation and its being one of, if not the first, English erotic novel.Reading it as an 18th century novel, I am able to give it 3 stars. Written at a later time, it would surely rate much lower and garner at least a 4 on the yawn scale.This year I am on the hunt for books found within books. Naturally there are no other books mentioned within this book - Fanny did not seem to have time for or interest in anything other than her throbbing, hungry, nether regions.more
It's erotica. That pretty much says it all. The story wasn't completely ridiculous, which is pretty good for erotica where plot is often only a minor element used to move from one sexual encounter to the next. The language was laughable by current standards, but given that it was written in the 1700s, I'm sure it was scandalously racy in it's time. I enjoyed some of the sex (when I could get past the wording), and the story didn't bore me. It was a fun and easy read. Great vintage porn.more
In August 2002 I started the month in the 18th century, reading 'According to Queeney' by Beryl Bainbridge, the story of Samuel Johnson's relationship with Hester Thrale and then 'Fanny Hill' by John Cleland, which is a classic of 18th century erotica.more
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