Believe me, I had a hard time finding an appropriate picture for this post. My mother reads this blog, for goodness sake.
Sex, sex, and more sex. That is what this novel is about. Fanny Hill has lots of sex, she watches people have lots of sex, and sexual encounters are descibed in detail. This, of course, makes for an incredibly dull novel. After the first couple of times Cleland described sex, he really didn't have anywhere else to go, and so it became very repetitive. Unless you are really immature or horny, this novel really won't interest you.
That being said, I do appreciate the stark constrast between a novel like this and a novel like Clarissa. Sex is the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman according to Richardson and yet according to Cleland it is just plain fun! I always appreciate influential novels. I think, though, that books like Tom Jones (where sex is casually mentioned as an activity people do without having their lives revolving around it) probably did more for the progression of modernism rather than pure porn.
In 1749, Cleland was arrested for "corrupting the King's subjects".
In a huge Supreme Court case, Memoirs vs. Massachusettes, the ban on the book was lifted.
The history of this book is really interesting so if you want to read more about it click here.
The female Tom Jones? I don't think so!