There’s something about classic literature that was deemed racy or scandalous in it’s time that is endlessly fascinating to me. Hence why I own the Marquis deSade collection, and hence why I’m currently reading Fanny Hill (well, that, and Emily Skinner just did a musical version of Fanny Hill, but really…sssh!)
It’s interesting to see how people’s views on what is shocking have changed over the years. Today’s world is so sex-saturated, works like Fanny Hill and deSade’s Justine are seriously child’s play now. When I first read Justine (the pivotal, key work of deSade) I expected to be shocked, grossed-out, titilated, SOMETHING, but no… I was kinda bored, and found myself counting how many times the word “member” could be used… Clearly, I am a product of my generation.
So now, I’m reading Fanny Hill… And I feel much the same way. Although John Cleland is a much better crafter of words than DeSade (which could be blamed on translations, but..) I’ve come to realize that Fanny Hill and Justine are the SAME book. The life stories of young, fiercely attractive and naive young women who find themselves in compromising positions, related in confessional letter format, and full of saucy details and apt descriptions of various forms.
I found myself at Starbucks last night, underlining passages that amused me or whose wording I was impressed with.
(Yes, college, I underline. Blame my English profs.)
“Rash, sudden undigested, and even dangerous as this offer might be from a perfect stranger, and that stranger a giddy boy, the prodigious love I was struck with for him had put a charm into his voice there was no resisting, and blinded me to every objection: I could, at that moment, have died for him: think if I could resist an invitation to live with him.”
I like words.