[CLELAND, John (1709-1789).] Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. From the Original Corrected Edition. With a Set of Elegant Engravings. London: n.p., 1780.
2 volumes in 1, duodecimo (170 x 100 mm). 15 (of 16?) hand-coloured engraved plates perhaps by Gravelot, extra-illustrated with one probably by Rowlandson from another work. (Lacking 6 leaves [vol. 1: D1; vol. 2: C1, C5, E7, F5, H10] and final blank if issued; title laid down and with some wear and staining, B1 slightly cut-down and with remnants of old book label, some leaves worn or detached but present, soiling and wear throughout, some tears repaired with tape.) Contemporary calf, flat spine gilt in compartments and with red morocco label, sides with gilt border (worn, lacking hardware for a foredge lock, front endpaper stuck down, some gatherings sprung). Provenance: remnant of square, yellow printed label.
APPARENTLY THE ONLY KNOWN COPY OF AN EARLY EDITION THAT INCLUDES THE HOMOSEXUAL SCENE. After the very rare first edition of 1749 only the 1766 edition (known in only one copy) included this passage until the 1888 translation by Liseux. The present copy is from a previously unrecorded reprint of the 1766 edition, and it is the only one of the two with hand-coloured plates. Following his prosecution for the first edition Cleland produced a heavily expurgated edition, but even piracies of the first edition suppressed this homosexual scene. Although incomplete, this copy is a rare survival from an important edition of the most celebrated erotic novel in English. Through the course of its long and clandestine printing history – it remained illicit into the 1970s – Fanny Hill remained the object of constant government prosecution, with editions systematically suppressed, and often destroyed. As a result any 18th-century illustrated edition is very rare. WorldCat locates no copy in any institution, while AE and ABPC list no copy at auction.