Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fanny Hill; Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland

Title: Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
Author: John Cleland

Narrator: Various

Publisher: Librivox

First Published: 1749

Running time: 10 hrs 27 min 30 sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 8/10

Forced by the death of her parents to seek her fortune in
London, Fanny Hill is duped into prostitution by an old procuress. In Mrs Brown's bawdy-house the naive young woman begins her sexual initiation - progressing from innocence to curiosity and desire - and soon embarks on her own path in pursuit of pleasure, until she at last finds true love. John Cleland's story of Fanny's rise to respectability was denounced after its publication by the then Bishop of London as 'an open insult upon Religion and good manners', while James Boswell called it 'a most licentious and inflaming book'. But beside its highly entertaining and boisterous depictions of a startling variety of sexual acts, Fanny Hill stands as one of the great works of eighteenth-century fiction for its unique combination of parody, erotica and philosophy of sensuality.

The man who read part one (someone listed only as "Chip") has the most lascivious voice I've ever heard! Fanny Hill is erotic pretty much from the get-go, with the start of the corruption of Fanny's innocence within hours of her arrival in
London (what might be known nowadays as "hot girl-on-girl action", no less!).

Part two (read by Peter Yearsley, whose voice is warm, soft and very suggestive!) continued with Fanny being slowly indoctrinated into life in a brothel (although, as yet, untouched by men). This is pretty steamy stuff and I can see why it caused such a stir when it was first published (leading to the arrest of the author for "corrupting the King's subjects").

I have to admit that listening to this whilst walking around town may not have been such a good idea, as it's rather steamy and I could actually feel myself blushing! That said, it didn’t stop me - this was excellent stuff!

Although it features everything from prostitution to voyeurism, lesbian/gay sex, cross-dressing, group sex and even light BDSM, it's never crass or crude in any way, and is written almost tenderly. Surprisingly enough, it actually has a moral message to impart at the end, despite Fanny's obvious enjoyment of her activities throughout the tale, but it doesn't come across as being trite or forced at all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish and can highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little titillation!


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