Christina's Reviews > Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland
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's review
Jan 25, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: 1001-books-2006-edition, 2009, fiction, random-picks, 1001-books-2008-edition, 1001-books-2010-edition, 1001-books-combined-edition
Read in March, 2009 , read count: 1

A rather repetitive and primitive story of a young naive girl who arrives in London without any money or family to take care of her and who have to endure a lot of hardship before finally finding her true love. The hardship, however, is mostly in the form of a lot of sex which she finds a lot of pleasure in - this is truly a book where the means are more important than the end and the means are described in detail, unfortunately these details are more or less the same, repeated over and over, only the metaphors used in describing them varies, basically. This also means that the plot is virtually non-existing, the end is unbelievable and there's just enough to serve as the string to tie the sexual encounters together with - rather like modern day porn.

Furthermore, most of the women in this book are rather weak creatures, waiting to be swept of their feet by a(ny) man who happens to come along and who by persuasion and mild use of force always gets what he wants - and in thus surrendering, the women invariably discover their own pleasure in these borderline rapes. It is very obvious that this was written by a man and that even though our heroine, Fanny, are rather competent and at least one other woman can manage her own business, it is clear that the author's opinion of women is not the highest - which I think was rather typical of the time. But porn really hasn't changed much over the last couple of centuries...

This is one of the early erotic novels and intellectually, I can appreciate this book - but I read for the joy of it and this was for the most part lacking in this book - rather ironically, one could say.
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Reading Progress

03/22/2009 page 22
9.82% "I think I bought this 15 years ago when I was attending a language school in Brighton in the UK - about time I get around to reading it!"
03/23/2009 page 40
17.86% "Not quite sure what I think..."
03/23/2009 page 148
66.07% "I understand the fuzz about this book when it was published in the 18. century - but I'm not enjoying it all that much..."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Petra Eggs I read this when I was quite young and appreciated it far more viscerally than I did intellectually. I don't think its a book I'd want to reread as it was, as you say, rather repetitive.

Christina I read Erica Jong's Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones when I was a teenager and liked that more than this one. I don't think I will enjoy rereading Jong's book either.
At some point I have to try to read Lady Chatterley's Lover but I think I will find that rather boring as well and only appreciate it for it was in it's days.

Petra Eggs I only vaguely remember Fanny Hackabout, but I loved Lady Chatterley's Lover - I was (am) a big DH Lawrence fan. It isn't a sexy romp thing at all, that's a very small part of the book.

Christina I read a tiny bit of it years ago and my impression was that it was all about the sex and back then, I found it rather boring. But I want to try it again at some point.

Birgit Alsinger I agree with you, Christina, hate to say that even sex can be trivial, it is though, a bit tedious reading over and over about it, when that's all you are getting. I also read Erica Jongs Fanny and remember really enjoying it.

Marsh Bloom I agree with it being repetitive. I always wonder that in an age when each letter had to be typeset, that words were not treated more dearly than this author does.

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