Fanny Hill Summary

  • Last updated on June 12, 2023
Title: Fanny Hill
Author: John Cleland
Published: 1748
Genre: Erotic literature
Page length: Approximately 200 pages.

Fanny Hill is a novel written by John Cleland and published in 1748. The book is commonly classified as erotic literature and spans approximately 200 pages. The story follows the journey of Fanny Hill, a young woman who ventures from the countryside to London in search of a better life.

The novel is divided into two parts, each containing several chapters.

Part 1: The arrival in London

Fanny Hill is a young, innocent woman from the countryside who travels to London to find work. She soon finds employment with Mrs. Brown, a widow who runs a boarding house for young women. Fanny is introduced to a variety of characters, including prostitutes, pimps, and johns.

One day, Fanny is approached by Charles, a wealthy man who offers to set her up in an apartment and provide for her in exchange for her sexual services. Fanny is initially hesitant, but eventually agrees. She begins to enjoy her new lifestyle, but soon becomes disenchanted with Charles and his friends, who treat her as nothing more than a sexual object.

Part 2: The life of a prostitute

Fanny leaves Charles and becomes a prostitute. She works for several different madams, each with their own rules and regulations. Fanny encounters a variety of men, from wealthy aristocrats to poor laborers. She also develops relationships with other prostitutes, including Sally and Louisa.

Through her experiences, Fanny begins to explore her own sexuality and desires. She also develops a sense of empowerment as she gains control over her own body and learns to use it to her advantage.


Fanny Hill explores themes of sexuality, power, and gender. The novel challenges societal norms and expectations by presenting a female character who takes control of her own sexuality. Fanny's journey is one of self-discovery and empowerment, as she learns to use her body and sexuality as a means of survival.

The book also raises questions about the morality of prostitution. While Fanny experiences moments of pleasure and connection with her clients, she is also subjected to violence and degradation. The novel highlights the dangers and risks associated with prostitution, as well as the hypocrisy of a society that condemns it while simultaneously consuming it.

Overall, Fanny Hill is an important work of literature that challenges traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and morality. It offers a unique perspective on life in 18th century London and raises important questions about the role of women in society.

Categories: Books