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Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780007372058
List price: $2.99
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Availability for Fanny Hill (Harper Perennial Forbidden Classics)
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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
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
Being that this book was written in the late 18th century, I did not think it could possibly be as erotic as the 18th century folks thought it was. I was wrong. I understand why they did not want their virginal "misses" reading this book. It was definately titillating. When I first started reading the book, I was reminded of [The Crimson Petal and the White]. I wonder if [[Faber]] was inspired by Fanny Hill.Anyway, I liked the book. I do advise reading it at home. I did not take my advice and ended up sitting in the lunchroom blushing from ear to ear.more
I am utterly prejudiced about this particular edition since I put together this version of Fanny Hill with the great Herb Lubalin. It is a particularly beautiful piece of book-work and I am very proud of it. Oh yes, the writing is loads of fun, and the illustrations are very sweet as well.more
The most amazing thing about this book was the depth of sexual detail given its time of writing, which I think is around 1800. It's like a Penthouse letter from the time of 'merry old England.'more
Well, it's a classic, isn't it? The eroticism is a bit tame by modern standards but it's an interesting read, and must have been explosive in its own time.more
Fanny Hill is important because of its place in the history of the end of censorship in America, but it's also a fun read. The book takes a positive view of sex generally - the first-person narrator enjoys sex for its own sake, and isn't consumed with guilt over all the sex she has, but she also acknowleges that sometimes bad things happen because of sex or the desire for it. The book is unusual for a book which graphically depicts sex acts in that there are no "dirty words" in the book - the characters don't swear, and the narrator uses coy euphemisms to describe the details.more
Read all 11 reviews

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
Being that this book was written in the late 18th century, I did not think it could possibly be as erotic as the 18th century folks thought it was. I was wrong. I understand why they did not want their virginal "misses" reading this book. It was definately titillating. When I first started reading the book, I was reminded of [The Crimson Petal and the White]. I wonder if [[Faber]] was inspired by Fanny Hill.Anyway, I liked the book. I do advise reading it at home. I did not take my advice and ended up sitting in the lunchroom blushing from ear to ear.more
I am utterly prejudiced about this particular edition since I put together this version of Fanny Hill with the great Herb Lubalin. It is a particularly beautiful piece of book-work and I am very proud of it. Oh yes, the writing is loads of fun, and the illustrations are very sweet as well.more
The most amazing thing about this book was the depth of sexual detail given its time of writing, which I think is around 1800. It's like a Penthouse letter from the time of 'merry old England.'more
Well, it's a classic, isn't it? The eroticism is a bit tame by modern standards but it's an interesting read, and must have been explosive in its own time.more
Fanny Hill is important because of its place in the history of the end of censorship in America, but it's also a fun read. The book takes a positive view of sex generally - the first-person narrator enjoys sex for its own sake, and isn't consumed with guilt over all the sex she has, but she also acknowleges that sometimes bad things happen because of sex or the desire for it. The book is unusual for a book which graphically depicts sex acts in that there are no "dirty words" in the book - the characters don't swear, and the narrator uses coy euphemisms to describe the details.more
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