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The Memoirs of Fanny Hill

John Cleland

The Memoirs of Fanny Hill, by John Cleland - click to see full size image

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The Memoirs of Fanny Hill by John Cleland was originally published in 1748. It is an erotic novel, and is considered the first pornographic novel to be published. It is written in the form of two long letters by Frances 'Fanny' Hill, to a woman known only as 'Madam'. Whilst Frances is now married with children and living a happy and luxurious existence, the letters recount the earlier, more scandalous stages of her life. Starting with a poor childhood, the letters tell of how, after her parents died, she went to London and ended up working in a brothel. There she meets her current husband Charles, who encouraged her to leave this lifestyle - after becoming lovers, Charles was sent away overseas for a while during which time Frances went on to have several lovers. Eventually they reunite.

A year after the first installment had been published, Cleland and his publisher were arrested and charged with 'corrupting the King's subjects'. Interestingly enough, Cleland had finished The Memoirs of Fanny Hill whilst in prison for debt. When the case of corruption went to court, Cleland renounced the book, claiming that he could only 'wish from his soul that the book be buried and forgot'.

The book, while not legally published again for over a hundred years, still sold in the form of pirate copies. In 1750, Cleland wrote a censored edition, but it too was banned.

№ 27 in Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

This book has 122 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1748.

Production notes: This e-book of The Memoirs of Fanny Hill was published by Global Grey on the 17th January 2018 and updated on the 8th September 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Head of a Young Girl' by François Boucher.

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