MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE by John Cleland

MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The ""woman of pleasure"" is none other than Fanny Hill and her memoirs have been an under-the-counter best seller for lo these two hundred and fourteen years. (Boswell thought it was a ""most licentious and inflaming book"".) The author was given twenty guineas for it and it made his publishers thousands. It is written in the form of two long letters of reminiscence by Fanny (well named). Fresh up from the country to London, the innocent Fanny was introduced to Vice at a bawdy house-- and she just loved it. Her record is as sprightly as her demeanor was modest, for after the fashion of Georgian times Fanny strove always to be ladylike -- even at orgies. The descriptions of her each encounter until marriage elevated her to Virtue are as detailed as she could make them (she didn't miss a trick, so to speak) but even she was forced to admit that monotony is inescapable in reporting an endless string of paid surrenders -- and busman's holidays. The introduction is by Peter Quennell who gives a careful history of the book's birth and underground life through the centuries. The appendix is a bibliography that represents only a fraction of the editions through which Fanny has run on her priapic path-- which begins with P and is followed by Q.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1963
Publisher: Putnam