`Fanny Hill' scandalised thousands of Victorians with its vivid descriptions of sexual pleasure, and landed its author in court a year after publication on charges of `corrupting the King's subjects'. This only heightened its allure - and today it is still hugely appreciated as a work of true erotic and literary merit.
What's a penniless country girl to do in the big city?
Fanny Hill is a blushing country maiden until tragic circumstances force her to seek a new life in London. She is taken in by the motherly Mrs Brown, but on her first night she receives a rather unorthodox welcome from one of the young ladies in the house - and swiftly gains a much more explicit idea of what is expected in her new role. Fanny takes to carnal pleasures with gusto, and she vividly recalls each lusty encounter, every thrusting conquest, in her saucy, voyeuristic and thoroughly irresistible memoirs.
John Cleland wrote 'Fanny Hill', also known as 'Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure', in two instalments whilst serving time in Fleet Prison for a bad debt. In 1749, Cleland was arrested for obscenity, yet denied responsibility for the novel. The book was officially withdrawn, and not officially published again for a hundred years. However, it continued to sell well and was published in pirate editions.