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Thread: Fiction shocker.

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Fiction shocker.

    Um, you know that novel by John Cleland titled Fanny Hill?

    I didn't find out until yesterday what KIND of a novel that is.

    Whoa Nellie.

    Google for info (unless you already know). I won't link to Google because (ahem) there are...illustrations...from the book there.

    And here I thought Fanny Hill was akin to Pollyanna or something lame/stupid like that. I also wasn't aware it has a subtitle (which would have cued me in).

    Considering all the reading I've done throughout life, including being familiar with The Classics (themes and authors in many cases) ... this was a real surprise.

    What book/fiction shockers have you had?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Um, you know that novel by John Cleland titled Fanny Hill?
    The Fanny Hill that was supposedly written to win a bet that it is possible to write a pornographic novel without using a single naughty word?
    The Fanny Hill that is one of the most banned books in the history of book publishing?

    You though that Fanny Hill was a children's book?
    Last edited by HenrikOlsen; 2012-Mar-02 at 03:48 PM. Reason: speling and grammar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    The Fanny Hill that was written to win a bet that it is possible to write a pornographic novel without using a single naughty word?
    The Fanny Hill that is on of the most often banned books in the history of book publishing?

    You though that Fanny Hill was a children's book?
    I'd heard of it in passing, but never checked into it.

    Considering "Pollyanna" and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and etc. -- yeah, I presumed it was about a young naive girl with a sunny/optimistic message for girls.

    I'm especially surprised because I've done a lot of reading on the 18th Century, and Fanny Hill was (probably) published in 1749.

    Am really unsure how I "missed" knowing WHAT Fanny Hill is about.

    Know about Marquis de Sade and Laclos and Casanova; have, for years. The Libertines of the era, etc.

    Oh well. :-\

  4. #4
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    pretty sure there was a film of Fanny Hill.

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    Buttercup, I am greatly amused by your ability to miss something as colossal as this, and impressed at your courage to openly admit to it online!

    Not that I am one to criticise - I've failed to be aware of things that everybody in the universe has known about since they were 8 years old. Not sure if I can think of a literary example offhand, though. Thinking...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Buttercup, I am greatly amused by your ability to miss something as colossal as this, and impressed at your courage to openly admit to it online!
    Thank you.

    For the life of me, I can't believe I didn't know until yesterday. Not a great fiction lover, but I'm quite familiar with themes and authors (at least): Jane Eyre/Bronte; Pride and Prejudice/Austen; Msr. Laclos; various works by Oscar Wilde, etc. Have a passing familiarity with what they're about, even if I've not actually read them.

    And to have studied the 18th Century as extensively as I have (at home, "armchair") especially! I am very chagrined.

  7. #7
    There was one art photography book that I picked up that was full of images I wish I could unsee, and this was about 20 years ago. The cover was blank, and I flip through books, so it was bound to happen someday. Never again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    pretty sure there was a film of Fanny Hill.
    Fanny Hill (USA/West Germany, 1964), starring Letícia Román, Miriam Hopkins, Ulli Lommel, Chris Howland; directed by Russ Meyer, Albert Zugsmith (uncredited)
    The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill (USA, 1966), starring Stacy Walker, Ginger Hale; directed by Peter Perry (Arthur Stootsbury)
    Fanny Hill (Sweden, 1968), starring Diana Kjær, Hans Ernback, Keve Hjelm, Oscar Ljung; directed by Mac Ahlberg
    Fanny Hill (West Germany/UK, 1983), starring Lisa Foster, Oliver Reed, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Shelley Winters; directed by Gerry O'Hara
    Paprika (Italy, 1991), starring Deborah Caprioglio, Stéphane Bonnet, Stéphane Ferrara, Luigi Laezza, Rossana Gavinel, Martine Brochard and John Steiner; directed by Tinto Brass
    Fanny Hill (USA, 1995), directed by Valentine Palmer
    Fanny Hill (Off-Broadway Musical, 2006), libretto and score by Ed Dixon, starring Nancy Anderson as Fanny
    Fanny Hill (UK, 2007), written by Andrew Davies for the BBC and starring Rebecca Night
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I also wasn't aware it has a subtitle (which would have cued me in).
    But that's not a subtitle, right? That's the title, unless we're talking about two different things.

    I didn't find out until last year that the Exorcist was a comedy!

  10. #10
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    Yes, the real title is Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Fanny Hill is just what it's known as in general.
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    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

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    The best admission I can come up with: I've never actually read or seen the novel or film Sophie's Choice, but I was aware of the title of the film for a very long time.

    A brief tangent... Thinking about it, I've rarely had a good discussion with my mother about films. If I heard that a film had been made based on a book I'd read, I might ask her if she'd seen it, hoping to find out if it was true to the book, and so on. But all she'd ever come up with was something like, "James Mason was in it. Ooh, he was gorgeous." So eventually I stopped asking.

    Anyway, I knew Sophie's Choice was from her era, so I guessed it was probably some sort of goofy romance (should she choose rugged-but-unreliable Brett or Peter the shy librarian?) with comedy scenes that wouldn't come close to being amusing now.

    So I was very shocked when I learnt what the "choice" actually was.

  12. #12
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    The Mighty Karnak: Fanny Hill.
    Ed McMahon: Fanny ... Hill.
    The Mighty Karnak: Describe Jackie Gleason as seen from behind.
    (Audience groans.)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    The Mighty Karnak: Fanny Hill.
    Ed McMahon: Fanny ... Hill.
    The Mighty Karnak: Describe Jackie Gleason as seen from behind.
    (Audience groans.)

    I can remember Jackie Gleason as being described as the "Great One"?

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    I have no idea what posts 12 and 13 mean.

  15. #15
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    The Mighty Karnak was a Johnny Carson character who would make joke predictions. "Fanny" does not mean the same thing here as it does over there; it means "backside." Jackie Gleason was an American television personality (the basis for Fred Flintstone, if that helps) who was a very large man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Yes, the real title is Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
    I'd known of *that* title. And since it wasn't something I was going to read (considering title and cover art), I didn't connect it with "Fanny Hill."

    Thought they were two entirely different books and genres.

    And as most of my focus on the 18th Century pertains to France especially, and continental Europe, apparently I didn't give the name John Cleland much attention. Also, most of the books on 18th Century I've read were written/published before the 1960s obscenity rulings in the US...so most authors probably didn't mention him.

    *shrugs*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    The Mighty Karnak was a Johnny Carson character who would make joke predictions. "Fanny" does not mean the same thing here as it does over there; it means "backside." Jackie Gleason was an American television personality (the basis for Fred Flintstone, if that helps) who was a very large man.
    I should have realized that might not translate well. Thanks!

    I should also explain that Karnak would hold a sealed envelope, answer the question within, and only then read the question. Some gags that don't work at all forward would almost work backward. Almost. Sometimes.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    The Mighty Karnak was a Johnny Carson character who would make joke predictions. "Fanny" does not mean the same thing here as it does over there; it means "backside." Jackie Gleason was an American television personality (the basis for Fred Flintstone, if that helps) who was a very large man.

    Jackie Gleason--Scatological jokes aside--was also in "Requiem of a Heavyweight"--if I am not mistaken.

    An obvious bad reminder that I took in the wrong direction --along with his 1950s American "Honeymooners" television sitcom.

    My apologies to buttercup if it seems I attempted to derail her post. . . That was not my intention

    post script:

    Fanny Hill appeared in an abridged short story form in Playboy Magazine in the 1980s

  19. #19
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    Thank you, Gillian and Don, for making an effort to clue me in.

    I knew about the different meanings of "fanny". Most UK people that I know are aware of all the UK/US different words for the same thing and same words for different things - indeed, I teach this - but many US TV shows and personalities are a complete mystery!

    As to Buttercup's request for further examples, not so much a shock as an (ahem!) anticlimax... I remember when we first got the TV show Desperate Housewives over here. A colleague of mine was excited about seeing it. Next day he came in looking glum. "It wasn't what I expected," he said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    I knew about the different meanings of "fanny". Most UK people that I know are aware of all the UK/US different words for the same thing and same words for different things - indeed, I teach this - but many US TV shows and personalities are a complete mystery!
    I know, but I felt that, if I were to explain the joke, I ought to explain all of it. And the differing definitions have come as a bit of a surprise, but I think that's mostly on this side of the Atlantic.
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  21. #21
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    Gleason, a comedy legend, could do pantomime and dramatic roles. He also composed music and led an orchestra. Could shoot pool rather well, I hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I know, but I felt that, if I were to explain the joke, I ought to explain all of it.
    Yes indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren
    And the differing definitions have come as a bit of a surprise, but I think that's mostly on this side of the Atlantic.
    Very probably true. Over here in the UK, we've had so many US movies over the decades that we've had to learn the vocab. The reverse is not so true.

    I remember when I was in my teens, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine had started appearing over here. It was quarterly at first. In the letters page, people were referring to "the fall issue". I hadn't a clue what "fall" meant - was it a publisher's term for the first issue? I could imagine them calling it that because copies had finally fallen into the finished product tray (or something of that ilk). Or perhaps it was a themed issue, with lots of stories about the fall of civilisation following a nuclear war, which of course was in vogue back in the late 1970s.

    It was some time later that I discovered fall=autumn! How was I to know that three US seasons were the same as ours, whereas one was a verb relating to leaves? It would make more sense if spring, summer, autumn and winter were called go green, lots, fall and none.

    This sort of reminds me of one other fiction surprise (not shock exactly) - I often wondered what The Catcher in the Rye referred to. I assumed it was some sort of US sport, like baseball, and this was the main reason why I didn't read the book until quite late in life, as I have no interest in sport. It turned out to be nothing of the sort, of course, but something even less interesting.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Yes indeed.



    Very probably true. Over here in the UK, we've had so many US movies over the decades that we've had to learn the vocab. The reverse is not so true.

    I remember when I was in my teens, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine had started appearing over here. It was quarterly at first. In the letters page, people were referring to "the fall issue". I hadn't a clue what "fall" meant - was it a publisher's term for the first issue? I could imagine them calling it that because copies had finally fallen into the finished product tray (or something of that ilk). Or perhaps it was a themed issue, with lots of stories about the fall of civilisation following a nuclear war, which of course was in vogue back in the late 1970s.

    It was some time later that I discovered fall=autumn! How was I to know that three US seasons were the same as ours, whereas one was a verb relating to leaves? It would make more sense if spring, summer, autumn and winter were called go green, lots, fall and none.

    This sort of reminds me of one other fiction surprise (not shock exactly) - I often wondered what The Catcher in the Rye referred to. I assumed it was some sort of US sport, like baseball, and this was the main reason why I didn't read the book until quite late in life, as I have no interest in sport. It turned out to be nothing of the sort, of course, but something even less interesting.

    Nice post--however, as I attempt to speak for one who had to read The Catcher in the Rye in an English Lit class in an American 12th grade level High School---it was refreshing to see that not all of us were as inexperienced or as callow (or even as foolish) as Holden Caulfield.

    Pardon the run-on sentences --and spelling as well.

  24. #24
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    There were two of us in my English class who were not fans of Catcher in the Rye and said so at the time. One person has since confessed to me that he wanted to admit to not liking it but was intimidated by the fact that everyone else in the class seemed to. I was never afraid of being different, in no small part because I knew I didn't have much of a choice.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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    Here in Alabama, all we got was Fannie Flagg. Great person, Whistle stop cafe and all..loved her on Match Game.

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    was Fabio on the cover of the book?
    if so, then you should have known what you were getting into..

    if not, the word "fanny" would be another clue..

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    What mildly shocked me was the realization I could use very basic cold-reading techniques in a discussion of some literary work I'd never read and not be caught out on it.

    I since learned to just say I never read it. This usually elicits the somewhat rueful response that the other person never read it, either. Sorry, Herman and Jane.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    Gleason, a comedy legend, could do pantomime and dramatic roles.
    Some.

    He also composed music and led an orchestra.
    Again, some.

    Could shoot pool rather well, I hear.
    Well enough.
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  29. #29
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    Nobody's perfect.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Um, you know that novel by John Cleland titled Fanny Hill?

    I didn't find out until yesterday what KIND of a novel that is.
    {Snip!}
    And here I thought Fanny Hill was akin to Pollyanna or something lame/stupid like that. I also wasn't aware it has a subtitle (which would have cued me in). {Snip!}
    I can understand how you might have gotten that impression because, IIRC, Fanny Hill was written as a parody of a book entitled Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, which was just such a pollyannish book.

    The one literary shocker I experienced was reading a book by William S. Burroughs with such repugnant subject matter that I could not stand more than about a dozen pages of it.

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