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.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 163-188
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-04
Open Access
No
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