What happens when pornography ends in marriage: the uniformity of pleasure in Fanny Hill

Haslanger, Andrea (2011) What happens when pornography ends in marriage: the uniformity of pleasure in Fanny Hill. ELH: English Literary History, 78 (1). pp. 163-188. ISSN 0013-8304

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Abstract

This essay argues that John Cleland's pornographic novel, Fanny Hill, conceals coercion by employing the language of materialism to suggest that all sex, commercial or not, produces pleasure. While the ostensible benevolence of human instinct allows the novel to sidestep questions of injury and rape, they persist until Fanny's marriage, which delivers her to conjugal felicity. Fanny Hill presents an extreme version of the marriage plot, showing that marriage's claim to retroactively pardon harm allows it to sanction violent means. Cleland's novel implicates Pamela by demonstrating that they share a basic structure: materialist pornography, like the marriage plot, transforms injury into the impossibility thereof, forcefully restricting first-person narrative in the process.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Depositing User: Andrea Haslanger
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 13:08
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015 13:08
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56655
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