The Memoirs of Fanny Hill by John Cleland

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This infamous novel details the many sexual adventures of the fictional maid-turned-prostitute, Fanny Hill, whose name has become synonymous with scandal and obscenity. Written while author John Cleland was in debtor’s prison, The Memoirs of Fanny Hill is considered the first English example of a pornographic novel.

The Memoirs of Fanny Hill was banned soon after publication in 1748, but was so widely pirated that it remained available until it was finally re-released 1960. However, after distributing more than 80,000 copies of the book, the publisher was forced to end production when it was charged under the Obscenity Act. The Memoirs of Fanny Hill was finally published without legal repercussions in 1970.

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About John Cleland

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John Cleland was born in 1710, the eldest son of William Cleland, an officer and friend of Pope. He entered Westminster School in 1721 and remained there until his sudden departure in 1723. Later he joined the East India Company, where he rose from simple soldier to businessman and eventually secretary of the Bombay Council. However, his good fortune did not last and he left Bombay around 1740 and returned to London in 1741. Thereafter Cleland followed a career as literary hack, Grub Street writer and journalist. The life was extremely competitive and though Cleland pursued every promising avenue, both literary writing and factual reporting, he was in costant financial difficulty. He was imprisoned for debt on several occasions and on one of these, between February 1748 and March 1749, he usefully employed his time by revising and rewriting a draft of a novel entitled Fanny Hill. Both volumes of Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, the final title, were published before his release. Cleland enjoyed some success with Fanny Hill and he hoped to exploit this with a sequel, Memoirs of a Coxcomb; but this and his other attempts at erotic fiction sank into oblivion. Impoverished and virtually unknown, John Cleland died in Westminster in January 1789.
Published January 12, 2011 by HarperPerennial Classics. 150 pages
Genres: Romance, Erotica, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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