2011年3月9日 星期三

"Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" by John Cleland


Back in high school a friend handed me a book called "The Hot Wife." This was a porn novel printed back in the 70s. The book follows the exploits of a young newlywed as she seeks sexual fulfillment through men other than her husband.

"Fanny Hill," isn't all that different. The language used might be more flowery, but the characters and situations are largely the same. Fanny begins the story as a young girl from the country, eager to see London in the wake of her parents' death.  In London she is tricked into a period of servitude at the nearest bordello, and after that the book is little more than a catalog of sexual acts.

In Fanny Hill, penises are often referred to as "terrible machines," and vaginas are referred to as "downy clefts" or "seats of pleasure." The book is extremely graphic for something written in the 1700s, but falls short of what you'd probably find in most works of fiction these days. The sexual acts described are fairly conventional, and the worst that anyone gets is a good whipping. If you made this book into an adult movie, it would bore most people.

Still, it's a fascinating glimpse of what passed for transgressive fiction back in the 1700s. Some of the vocabulary used is also genuinely amusing. It's a short book, and not long enough to wear out its welcome, so I'd give it 6 stars out of 10.

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