Talk:Fanny Hill

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{{in popular culture}}


Untitled[edit]

I am missing a description of the content of the novel; sad. Bgohla 21:25, 2005 Apr 25 (UTC)

Plot in[edit]

I've read the novel, so I tossed in what I remember of the plot. It's an interesting read, as well as a titilating one, and Cleland's literary skill is miles beyond that of the hack pornographer. At the same time, one can have no illusions that the book was written for any moral, or even political, point. It was written to sell. I had to correct a misstatement at the outset, though. Fanny Hill didn't cause any kind of a stir in legal circles when it was published. I believe it took two years for anyone on the religious side to react, and the evidence they used when pointing to why it should be banned was the depiction of sodomy. The chapters that depicted the sodomy were from a pirate edition not authored by Cleland, and even in those Fanny is shocked and outraged at what she sees and cannot imagine what on earth the men are gaining from what they're doing. Geogre 18:54, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Having just read the book, I can tell you that the plot summary is inaccurate in places and needs extensive reworking. It's also quite a biased summary. Pooints I'd raise off the top of my head: Phoebe and Fanny at no point engage in lesbian sex, but simple mutual masturbation, over several instances. Nor does Phoebe go into detail with Fanny about the nature of sexual acts. I would not agree that the lover who is arranged to take Fanny's faked maidenhead has rape fantasies -- there is just no evidence to support this assertion -- although he is clearly an unpleasant character. 109.152.26.38 (talk) 19:28, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
We have to go by what reliable sources say. A Google Books search for "Fanny Hill" "lesbian sex" gives "Fanny enjoys lesbian sex", "Through lesbian sex, Fanny discovers erotic pleasure", "she is introduced to lesbian sex by one of the prostitutes", "Phoebe Ayres, her much older instructor, who initiates her into lesbian sex", "Through lesbian sex, Fanny discovers erotic pleasure". Kenilworth Terrace (talk) 19:41, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

sex toy[edit]

Can someone find a good way to write a note of fanny hill butt plug to the article, so it doesn't sound stupid. It is named after her, right? --Easyas12c 13:12, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

  • Not sure it would be a good thing to talk about here, as it's simply another appropriation of the name to say something is "fun, classy, and sexual," like someone talking about a "Caterbury Tales Walking Stick." A thing not mentioned in this article, though, is that the word "fanny" was both a familiar form of Francis and a British slang term for the vagina. Consequently, the "fanny hill" is either the buttocks or the mons veneris, depending upon one's point of view. Geogre 11:53, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Correction to plot[edit]

There are many errors in the summary of the plot, I would like to add some corrections and I think it is really important to write a summary as close as possible to the text, especially when it appears in Wikipedia's first page. Do not let Wikipedia be corrupted !!

“[Fanny] begins as a poor country girl who is forced by poverty to leave her village”:

More precisely, she left her native “small village near Liverpool, in Lancashire” because her parents “were both carried off by the small-pox” when she was fifteen years old.

“she is corrupted by a handsome man to whom she loses her virginity, and who leaves her after professions of love which turn out apparently to be false. Fanny then seeks the help of a woman who is, in fact, a madam. This woman introduces Fanny to lesbianism and the ability to make a living by prostitution.”

This is totally wrong! Fanny was left alone on her arrival in London. On the second day, she went to the “intelligence office” to find a place. There, a “lady” who is in fact a “Madam” (called Mrs Brown) proposed her a place as a “servant” (planning to make her become a prostitute). At Mrs Brown’s, Fanny experienced homo-eroticism with Phoebe, one of the prostitutes. She only met Charles (her first lover)AFTERWARDS and fled with him on her own accord. She gave up her virginity to Charles out of pure love and lived with him for eleven months when he “was sent away at least on a four years' voyage” in the South Seas by his father. What is sure is that he did not deliberately left her and his “professions of love” were certainly true as he accepts to marry Fanny at the end.

“Fanny … repeatedly sells her "virginity."”

She gave up her virginity to Charles out of pure love and only sold a "pretended virginity" once to Mr Norbert, a man whose fancy was to deflower young virgins and abandon them afterwards.

“[Fanny] does realize that she is being exploited.”

The narrator (i.e. Fanny) never says so. Neither her body nor her money has been exploited while she worked at Mrs Cole’s (another “Madam”). She clearly expresses that everything that happened there was done with consent of each partner, and that Mrs Cole never took advantage of Fanny, even when she could. Near the end of the novel, when Fanny lived in “easy circumstances”, she was “indifferent to any engagements in which pleasure and profit were not eminently united”.

More precisely, she explains her "modesty and reserve" at the time were "less the work of virtue than of exhausted novelty, a glut of pleasure, and easy circumstances", which made her indifferent to pleasures. So she isn't saying that she likes prostitution per se, she is saying that she was tired of sex and wouldn't do it without profit. It's far from the end of the novel - eventually, she reunites with her sweetheart, quite monogamously.
Concerning the exploitation part - they certainly tricked her into prostitution, and there certainly was an old repugnant "brute" that they would make her have sex with in the beginning. However, it's true that she was described as kinda prosperous and enjoying her profession in some later parts of the book. --194.145.161.227 11:03, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

“Further, Fanny acts as a picaro, for as a prostitute she shows the wealthy men of the peerage at their most base and private.”

This is should rather be applied for Defoe’s Roxana who is a “courtesan” at court.


  • Corrections by Marion 24/04/06*

Plot (until now in the article)[edit]

See above, it is very misleading "== Plot ==The book concerns the eponymous character, who first appears in the novel as a poor country girl who is forced by poverty to leave her village home and go to a nearby town. [i.e London] There, she is tricked into working in a brothel, but before losing her virginity she escapes with a man named Charles with whom she has fallen in love. After several months of living together, Charles is sent out of the country unexpectedly by his father, and Fanny is forced to take up a succession of new lovers to survive."--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 02:14, 5 October 2009 (UTC) The summary is not accurate, e.g relationship with Charles.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 02:19, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Fanny comes from Liverpool and therefore London is not a "nearby town"! 109.152.26.38 (talk) 19:36, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Miller Test[edit]

The Roth Standard is no longer the current test for Obscenity, it is the Miller Test. Sources may be needed for my addition, but I figured I would add it anyways because it seems important to note that it passes the miller test since publishers are selling the book since the article left it up in the air whether the book was still banned or not. 132.170.36.235 (talk) 03:50, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

In popular culture[edit]

The "References in popular culture" was removed citing "In popular culture sections are discouraged under Wikipedia guidelines". I think that a lot of these references help the reader understand the book, so I have reverted. This is a long way from the worst "" lists that I have seen. We have an essay about Wikipedia:"In popular culture" articles. I'd like to see and discuss the guideline which discourages this list. John Vandenberg (chat) 23:10, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm not really arguing for or against the inclusion of the section, though I don't see how any of the listed items help readers understand the book more as they all either over simplify the book as simply one big sex joke, or overly describe alternative versions of the character from their own fictional world. Generally, the right way to do an in popular culture section discourages simply listing appearances. Instead notable references should be mentioned and then explained how the reference in question influenced public perception/reaction/knowledge of the work, etc. Otherwise the references should be moved to the specific popular culture topic article itself. Additionally, the section should include a prose paragraph explaining how Fanny Hill influenced popular culture.24.190.34.219 (talk) 07:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Bathing party[edit]

File:Édouard-Henri Avril (9).jpg is included in the article on obscenity. This picture apparently illustrates a scene from Fanny Hill. Would it be okay to feature it on this article as well? Y12J (talk) 00:36, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Plot section tedious and irrelevant[edit]

The Plot section has been adequately tagged. I hardly know where to begin, to be fair. This book is not about plot. Yet, plot is the largest section by far, in fact it dominates the article. The encyclopedia is a scholarly work; scholarly: erudite, learned. What is written in this section is wooden, regurgitated. It's reminescent of what I would have written in a junior highschool book report to convince the teacher that I had indeed read the book. What the plot needs to be, would be established as follows: read the book in a single go. Then read another absorbing book, to disengage the mind from the first. Then, without peeking, summarize the first book. What is remembered is what matters (very little - that's ok, and my point).

The remainder of the article would be a learned or erudite description and discussion of the work. For example, having read the article, I should be able to answer this question: what literary movement(s) would the book be a part of, and what classifies the book that way? That's a highly relevant and not difficult question to answer. It can be answered tersely in maybe two sentences. Or answer this: why is the book in the 'Classics' section of my local bookstore, and the Literature section of my library? It's pornography, right? It should be sold only under the table, except that it isn't.

The book is part of the social, cultural, literary, and legal fabric, and how that fabric is different then than now is a vital part of what we ought to know and appreciate about this book. The article is woefully deficient; and in what it does say, superficial and pretentious. For the relevant elements of the plot beyond a broad brush paragraph, they can be incorporated into the text, to explain and buttress the points being made. We cannot escape synthesizing this work into the greater body of work of the author, related erotica and non-erotic works of the time and place, the literary movements in which it participates, and the greater historical trends in that time period.

The publication timeline is also problemmatical: it should separate the U.K and U.S. timelines, or go strictly in order by date, earliest to latest, regardless of place. Instead it's a mishmash of both.Sbalfour (talk) 23:46, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

References in Popular Culture[edit]

This section is a list of trivia - none of the items are significant culturally. The significant items that would normally be listed here are already listed in the Adaptations sections. I'd propose that the section be trimmed substantially, or deleted entirely.Sbalfour (talk) 01:59, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I oppose deletion. If substantial trimming is proposed, what references would be candidates? -- Jmc (talk) 09:23, 27 February 2014 (UTC)