18 November 2014
[CLELAND, John (1709-1789).] Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure: Being the Life and Adventures of Miss Frances Hill. Written by Herself. London: for the Proprietors, 1860.
2 parts in 1 volume, duodecimo (144 x 93 mm). 9 engraved plates including the frontispiece, all hand-coloured. (Without the final blank probably as issued, frontispiece soiled and with short tears, small repaired loss in leaf 4.1 affecting a few words, repaired tear in leaf 20.1, occasional light marginal soiling.) Contemporary sheep, spine with raised bands, morocco label gilt this perhaps later (some wear to the rear free endpaper and binder’s blank).
A 19TH-CENTURY ILLUSTRATED EDITION, PERHAPS AMERICAN, OF THE MOST CELEBRATED EROTIC NOVEL IN ENGLISH; APPARENTLY THE ONLY KNOWN COPY OF THIS EDITION. The place of publication is given as London, but the typography and engravings suggest it may have been published in America. Through the course of its long and clandestine printing history – it remained illicit into the 1970s – Fanny Hill was the object of constant government prosecution, with editions systematically suppressed, and often destroyed. As a result even mid 19th-century edition, particularly with hand-coloured plates, are rare. WorldCat locates no copy in any institution, while AE and ABPC list no copy at auction. Not in Ashbee.
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