What if Tom Jones had been a woman?
What if Fanny Hill had been as witty as she was sensuous?
What if Moll Flanders had been as tenderhearted as she
was tough? You would have a hint (but only a hint) of
Fanny Hackabout-Jones. In Fanny: being the True
History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones,
Erica Jong combines the historical reality of 18th
century England with a woman whose consciousness and
aspirations are thoroughly contemporary.
Told as a diary to her daughter, Fanny
begins her story when she is discovered upon the doorstep
of a great house in Wiltshire, where she grows to
luscious young womanhood under the care of Lord and Lady
Bellars. Circumstances force her to run away to London to
"seek her fortune", and on the way, she falls
in with witches, highwaymen, a Madam, Famous Notables of
the Day (such as Swift and Hogarth), pirates and other
assorted characters. Fanny experiences a series of
hilarious adventures which not only test her mettle as a
woman (and force her to grow up) but reveal the world of
18th century England, Africa and the Caribbean with
detailed accuracy. Fanny, written in the
language of the 18th century, is a parable of a woman's
life in a time when women suffered much greater
oppressions than they do today. It is also a novel about
mothers and daughters, a social history of 18th century
life and mores.
Fanny is currently in development as a
musical with Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City.
"An explosion, a surge of
literary energy..an entertaining novel, but also a novel
of ideas...a prodigious work of fiction."
--New York Times Book Review
"...Mrs. Fanny, who useth her reason as well
as her rump, is a most refreshing delight."
--Washington Post Book World
"A galloping good story...
rollicking and bawdy, with a center of pure gold. Read
--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Signet reissue edition 1991
537 pages; paperback
Published originally by New American Library in 1980
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