'I shall recall to view those scandalous stages of my life ... Truth! stark naked truth, is the word, and I will not so much as take the pains to bestow the strip of a gauze-wrapper on it, but paint situations such as they actually rose to me in nature, careless of violating those laws of decency, that were never made for unreserved intimacies.'
From her position of wealth and happy respectability, Fanny
Hill looks back at her early life and disreputable adventures. Arriving in London alone, poor and innocent, she falls into the hands of a brothel-keeper. But only when she is separated from the man she loves does she enrol in the 'unhappy profession' of prostitution. Fanny becomes a kept woman and also works in an elegant bawdy-house, entertaining polite voluptuaries. By the age of eighteen, she can afford to retire; in her marriage she can at last combine sexual passion with romantic love.
Like its heroine, the novel Fanny Hill has also risen to
respectability. It is now recognized as an erotic entertainment that exemplifies both the philosophy of libertinism and the attitudes of eighteenth century bourgeoisie, combining sensibility, irony and enlightened self-interest.ISBN:0-14-062088-5