Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones

Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones - Erica Jong [These notes were made in 1982:]. An interesting attempt to imitate the eighteenth-century style while imposing the anachronism of 20th-century sensibilities on an eighteenth-century setting. Fanny Hackabout-Jones is supposed to be the true original of Fanny Hill, and while she has, if anything, even wilder erotic adventures than her namesake, she is also possessed of a good strong feminist bent with which she becomes very much too didactic at times - in fact, even the generally didactic tone of a good many eighteenth-century novels doesn't quite let her get away with it. The novel has a great deal more scope than Cleland's - as indeed, one would hope. Besides the brothel, we also get a pirate ship, London secret societies, Newgate ... Ms. Jong has obviously done her homework, and has some academic credibility, although for one who does not have to struggle with 18th-century language, her occasional modernisms jar terribly - pace her explanation in the afterword. Fanny's erotic scope is considerably larger than her namesake's too - there is a greater acceptance of - almost a paean to - homosexuality in both sexes; group sex; and just about every kind of sex besides - even the suggestion of (though not the actual achievement of) bestiality. Does it finally work? It's an entertaining enough romp, so I suppose in that sense it works - but in some ways Erica Jong is too good at the 18th-century style, for I found myself reacting -incredibly enough - with 18th-century sensibilities to her 20th-century tirades, and the dislocation was just enough to take the edge off the pleasure of reading this most interesting experiment.