Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is one of the most notorious texts in English literature. As recently as 1963, an unexpurgated edition was the subject of a trial, yet in the 18th century, John Cleland's open celebration of sexual enjoyment was a best-selling novel.
Fanny's story, as she falls into prostitution and then rises to respectability, takes the form of a confession that is vividly colored by copious and explicit physiological details of her carnal adventures. The moral outrage that this has always provoked has only recently been countered by serious critical appraisal.
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