Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, commonly known as Fanny Hill, has been shrouded in mystery and controversy since John Cleland completed it in 1749. The Bishop of London called the work ‘an open insult upon Religion and good manners’ and James Boswell referred to it as ‘a most licentious and inflaming book’.The story of a prostitute’s rise to respectability, it has been recognized more recently as a unique combination of parody, sensual entertainment and a philosophical concept of sexuality borrowed from French libertine novels. Modern readers will appreciate it not only as an important contribution to revolutionary thought in the Age of Enlightenment, but also as a thoroughly entertaining and important work of erotic fiction, deserving of a place in the history of the English novel beside Richardson, Fielding and Smollett.
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"A rare achievement . . . a ray of sunshine in the gloomy world of lust." –Erica Jong
About John Cleland
Gary Gautier is a professor at the University of Colorado and the author of the book Landed Patriarchy in Fielding’s Novels: Fictional Landscapes, Fictional Genders.
Published by Penguin Classics Jan 07, 1986| 240 Pages| ISBN 9780140432497