Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” as Want to Read:
Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  10,039 ratings  ·  763 reviews
One of the most prosecuted and banned books in history.

The classic novel of a young girl's exploration of physical pleasures.

Young Fanny Hill is tricked into a life of prostitution, but she quickly learns the power of her own body as she learns the ways of physical passion. She soon escapes her fate for the loving arms of a wealthy young man, but misadventure and fate cons
Paperback, 224 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin (first published November 21st 1748)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,039 ratings  ·  763 reviews

Sort order
If you've heard one euphemism for penis, you...well, you haven't heard them all. Once you finish this book, then you'll have heard them all.

I had more fun reading this porn than I did many other 18-century novels, but that's largely because it's very short; faced with 600 pages of this, and given that I've already seen the word "vermilion" at least 600 times, I would probably give up.

And as porn goes, it's....okay I guess? It's not exactly hot, but it's not unacceptably un-hot, either, which is
Emily May
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: classics, 2012, erotica
I'm talking about an erotic novel here, so maybe don't read my review if you tend to get offended by open and frank discussion about sexual acts. Just warning you in advance :)

Okay, firstly, this is porn. Just porn. Not a great literary achievement, not something that will sit snug in your mind with the Austen and Bronte classics... PORN. It got quite a reputation for being the first pornography to appear in novel form, and it also got a reputation because it was banned for multiple centuries an
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All sex acts are unique, beautiful, & uniquely beautiful in the immensely pleasurable "Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure." Through the ages, sex has brought wondrous delight to human beings and here is testament of that fortitude over mere convention and the evil forces of repression.

This, like the ever-powerful "Naked Lunch" centuries later, had to be defended/bashed fervently by those thinking the book had any power over weak minds or even anything, um, ethical? Still, le petit mort (or being
Oct 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: emily and other aficionadas of filthy, filthy, lovely filthy filth
They should make me Education Secretary. I'd make Fanny Hill required reading in freshman English classes across the country, thus instantly solving our country's illiteracy problem and instilling an abiding love of literature in our nation's young citizens.

I miss my copy of this book! I'd never heard of it before when I found it in a box on the sidewalk in Park Slope a few years ago, and had no idea what a lovely filthy treasure I had just unearthed.... I hope Lindsey enjoyed my edition of this
If I could go back in time and track Cleland down for a nice chat, I'd smack him in the face with a clipboard and watch him like a hawk till he'd read through the list clipped there in its entirety. Better yet, I'd take a woman and a man back with me, both of them less concerned with feminism issues to an unholy extent than I, and let the conversings about the genders commence. Maybe then, perhaps, I'd figure this author out.

The list? An abridged version of the following.

If you've seen my review
By 18th century standards it was literary smut. Even by today's standards it is bawdy. Fellow GR reviewer Jessica called it "lovely filthy filth". It has survived the centuries though and still finds itself in print and apparently still being read by hundreds of Goodreads members.
Luís C.
Having become an orphan at 16, Fanny is taken to London by a "benefactress" who abandons her as soon as she arrives. The girl was immediately spotted and picked up by a madam, who immediately began to put a price on virginity. A delightful friend and a few sessions of voyeurism will suffice to instruct her.
Fanny falls in love with her first lover, also reciprocal love. But the father of the latter takes her away from the country: Fanny then has no other resources than to prostitute again.
The aut
A strikingly repetitive book - certainly not a novel, with a curious jolly hockey sticks air to it.

Structured as the memoirs of an innocent young girl, written in letters to a lady, from the countryside who is tricked into a life of prostitution (of the decorous type in respectable brothels not the wandering about Covent Garden type). It has a good deal of admiring descriptions of penises follows and the noun vermilion is frequently used to describe the vulvas seen during the course of her work.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
There is a saying – Curiosity killed the cat. I learned about this 18th century porn while reading David Lodge’s Modes of Modern Writing, and of course it aroused my interest regarding both the language and the approach of a subject I had thought until then too daring for a prude period. It seems I was wrong and all that prudeness we know about is due to 19th century, mainly Victorian period. So, for one of most banished books in history (as Wikipedia informs us) Fanny Hill is not even very revo ...more
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, on ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
An outstanding allegorical work. Using tales of sex, John Cleland managed to portray the common fate of women: from their blissful innocence, to their hard lives, their exploitation by men, rebellion and ultimate redemption. First person narrator here is the young and beautiful Fanny Hill. This is the story of her poverty as an orphan, the innocence of her virginity, her corruption in a brothel, her languid life as a mistress, her defiant infidelities and wild sexual abandon, and finally her red ...more
In 1748 English novelist John Cleland went to debtors’ prison; while he was there he wrote a novel that went on to become the most prosecuted and banned book in history. Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is often referred to as Fanny Hill and is considered one of the first pornographic novels in the English language. Due to the release of this book, Cleland and his publisher Ralph Griffiths were both arrested and charged with “corrupting the King’s subjects”. The book went on to become so popular t ...more
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
So I'm not really sure where to go here. I have a ton of thoughts but not really sure how best to organize.

On one hand, I am astounded by the blatent language and content (given that this was published in 1748). Some of it makes fifty shades look tame (although if you read my review of that, my complaint there was that it really wasn't as graphic as advertised).

I was also pleased (while simultaneously offended) at the progressive description of female sexuality. Especially after reading such cr
Anya (~on a semi-hiatus~)
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: el-clásico, meh
It was free on Gutenberg and seventeen year old Anya wanted some sexy fun times. Unfortunately, this book was pure porn with no sexy fun times to be had. Seventeen year old Anya was very disappointed. :c
Mar 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, eye-bleach, zzzzz
This was pretty fucking awful. The writing is terrible - I don't care what century you're from. Entire paragraphs that consist of one long, bloated sentence with about fourteen commas? Kill me.

And I'm not exaggerating when I say that this guy loved the absolute shit out of synonyms. He crammed those babies, three and four at a time, into sentences that I was barely following in the first place. He couldn't tell you, for instance, about that whore over there with the pale white skin without also
Jan 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sexy Folk
Shelves: 1001books
Hooray for smut!

Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is widely considered the first pornographic novel and one of the most heavily banned books around. I thought it was an enjoyable read overall (though I found the first part/letter more entertaining than the second), but it really doesn't have much more storyline than modern-day porn. I also would have to agree with other reviewers who complained of it being rather penis-centric (the women just ooh and aah over all the amazing penises)
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still beats much of today's erotica.
Teodora Kasabova
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ако трябва да опиша с една дума "Мемоарите на една лека жена" тя ще бъде отрезвяваща. Отне ми доста време да прочета тези скромни няма и триста странички, но и ми даде много храна за размисъл. И една сериозна част от вината за това е дело на преводача.

Благодаря на целия екип на Deja Book, които решиха да издадат книгата в този й вид и най-вече на Слави Ганев за чудовищния труд, който е вложил, както в превода, така и в предговора и пространно обширните бележки, които съпътвстват цялата книга и
Diana D
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Трудно ми е да оценя книгата, защото бидейки скандална с откровеността си, носи и много красота, поезия, стойност.
Не, историята не е пошла и порнографска, нито пък е цинична или грозна, напротив, книгата е написана с типичния английски изтънчен финес от отминалите времена и описва живота на една жена, която по стечение на обстоятелствата, е започнала да изкарва прехраната си чрез своето най- силно оръжие- своето тяло.
Загубила родителите си, Фани решава да търси щастието си в големия град. Едва
Jun 25, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Anne says "Cleland was the first writer to represent sexual acts as something beautiful, rather than vulgar or ridiculous." Her full review here:
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening lines:
I sit down to give you an undeniable proof of my considering your desires as indispensable orders. Ungracious then as the task may be, I shall recall to view those scandalous stages of my life, out of which I emerged, at length, to the enjoyment of every blessing in the power of love, health and fortune to bestow; whilst yet in the flower of youth, and not too late to employ the leisure afforded me by great ease and affluence, to cultiva
Roman Clodia
Divided into two long letters written by Fanny to a female friend, this feels like a book of two halves. The first makes an intervention into the standard story of the innocent young woman, alone and without resources: Fanny makes her way to London, falls in love then loses her beloved Charles. Taken advantage of, and after a brief period of distress, rather than wringing her hands Fanny finds herself taking to her new-found role as a purchased mistress and rather good at both giving and taking ...more
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se trata de uno de los libros más estrambóticos que existen.

Fanny Hill es un clásico de la literatura erótica, que ya provocó un gran revuelo en su publicación en 1748, llevándola incluso a censurarse su distribución durante dos siglos. La historia cuenta sin ningún pudor como Fanny, una hija de humildes campesinos, sufre la muerte de su familia y decide llegar a Londres a buscar una buena vida. Pero su inocencia será presa de mujeres sin escrúpulos que intentarán vender sus artes... No sólo Fan
Orbi Alter
Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Obozavam klasike! Ta percepcija zena koje padaju u trans za muskarcem probudi razlicite vrste negativno nijansiranih emocija u meni, pa sam i dalje u potrazi za kvalitetnijim erotskim klasikom kojeg potpisuje zena i to s nadom u nesto drugaciju perspektivu. Hoce li onda i one bit tako slabe i polunesposobne? Na stranu to, zabavih se slatkastim metaforama umjesto prostacenjima, sve bude dobro na kraju sto me isto malo zacudi s obzirom na vrijeme i kontekst, prava ljubav rasturi sve, a novopeceni ...more
Ana Lúcia
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fanny Hill – Memórias de uma Prostituta, considerado o primeiro romance erótico da modernidade, foi escrito em 1748, quando John Cleland, estava preso por dívidas.
Publicado pela primeira vez em 1749, os preconceitos da época impediram a sua livre circulação, mas não conseguiram embaciar o êxito a que estava destinado e ao longo dos tempos, tem sido sempre sinónimo da batalha contra a censura erótica.
Este livro consegue ser uma obra de arte, da qual sobressai, beleza, poesia e delicadeza na narra
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: classic erotica buffs
Shelves: classics, porn
I had no idea when I read this that people could be so naughty "back then". Heh. I am thinking I wouldn't even blink at the book now and would probably grumble at the lack of plot - but when I was a teen and I read this - it was shocking and kind of funny.
Grace Harwood
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh my Goodness, I find it so hard to believe that this book came out of the same century as the works of Mrs Radcliffe!! I could hardly believe what I was reading as something which came out just a few decades earlier than those Radcliffean novels of sensibility and refined heroines. Fanny Hill is anything but refined. From Radcliffe you will get elongated descriptions of scenery which will elevate your soul - from this you get elongated descriptions of something else... mainly genitalia. I read ...more
This is what happens when you read too much Alan Moore.

I actually enjoyed this story more than I thought. I wasn't really sure what to expect, it's porn after all. I liked the disruptions though. Some of them read liked a regular novel and some (most the sex scenes) got overly ridiculous which made the book fun. Most of this was dated though. I'll give it slack for being one of the earliest erotica novels in English. Modern erotic novelist, such as Anaïs Nin, are better, in my opinion.
Sarah Jacquie
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, erotic
I have a thing where I MUST read controversial/banned books, and this one I HAD to read being that it was written in 1748! Controversial books written before America was even a country... I'm in. Not big on romance, and I definitely don't read erotica.

I went in thinking this would be amusingly tame and innocent, something like Moll Flanders or Vanity Fair with an R rating a bit ahead of it's time.

1963, the US let up on obscenity laws and amazing books were published for the public to read. This
Интересно четиво, разказващо за едно време, в което куртизанската професия не е била особено на почит, но пък е била не малко доходоносна.

Беше ми любопитно как са живяли по онези времена, но самата книга не беше нищо специално.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Amelia
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
  • Love in Excess
  • The Man of Feeling
  • The Female Quixote
  • Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus
  • Emmanuelle
  • The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings
  • Camilla
  • Euphues the Anatomy of Wit: Euphues & His England
  • Roxana
  • The Droll Stories of Honore de Balzac
  • Julie, or the New Heloise
  • The Pearl
  • A Tale of a Tub and Other Works
  • Ormond
  • Le Morte D'Arthur - Volume I
  • My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London
John Cleland (1709 – 1789) was an English novelist, most famous—and infamous—as the author of the erotic novel Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.

He was born in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey but grew up in London, where his father was first an officer in the British Army and then a civil servant; he was also a friend to Alexander Pope, and Lucy Cleland was a friend or acquaintance
“...but we no more choose our passions than our features or complexion.” 11 likes
“Em resumo, há nos homens, quando eles se deixam guiar pelos olhos, uma tal credulidade da qual sua majestosa sabedoria não suspeita, fazendo que os mais avisados dentre eles sejam frequentemente enganados por nós.” 3 likes
More quotes…