John Cleland: Fanny Hill, or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

(1950 words)
  • Peter Byrne (Independent Scholar - North America)

Published in November 1748 as a means of earning its author the funds to gain release from debtor's prison, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure has attracted equal parts popularity and condemnation; only recently has it begun to be viewed as something other than a purely pornographic work. With the growing interest in the birth of genre fiction, however, the Memoirs is being recognized as one of the significant works of eighteenth-century fiction.

The novel is told in the first person. Writing in response to the request of an unidentified correspondent, Francis (Fanny) Hill narrates the events of her early life. Lured to London from her home in Lancashire by the tales of her friend Esther Davis, fifteen year-old F…

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Byrne, Peter. "Fanny Hill, or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]