Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749) is an erotic novel and early work of pornography by English author John Cleland. Written while Cleland was in prison, the novel was both successful and controversial, banned from publication but widely distributed in pirated and heavily edited copies. Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure was the subject of numerous court cases, including a prominent United States Supreme Court decision in 1966 which found that the book did not violate obscenity laws.
Using extensive euphemism, Cleland’s novel is the story of Frances “Fanny” Hill. Narrated in two letters to a friend known only as “Madam,” the book traces Fanny’s early life as an orphan-turned-prostitute. After the death of her parents from smallpox, Fanny moves from Lancashire to London to work at a brothel, where she witnesses and participates in numerous sexual acts with women and men of all ages. When her lover Charles is sent abroad, Fanny becomes the mistress of a wealthy merchant who later abandons her. While earning a living working for wealthy clients in a high-end brothel, Fanny witnesses wilder and increasingly dangerous sexual encounters, eventually retiring to a life as the lover of an older intellectual. Recognized as an early and controversial pornographic novel, Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is important for its groundbreaking depictions of queer sex and fetish and continues to be read and studied to this day.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is a classic of pornographic and erotic literature reimagined for modern readers.