It remains one of the most widely banned books in history, shocking readers with its ‘pornographic‘ content centuries before Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Nearly 270 years on, it seems that modern day students are proving equally squeamish, as Fanny Hill, the first ever erotic novel written in English, has been dropped from the University of London curriculum for fear of offending students.
Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, was first published in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors prison in London, it’s the story of an ageing courtesan who looks back with “stark naked truth” on her scandalous life.
The book incensed the British clergy and censors upon its publication. However, heteronormative descriptions in Fanny Hill of “maypole[s] of so enormous a standard” appear to be proving too much for university students.