Readability

Triggered by . . . Fanny Hill?

Fifty years ago I was an avid young reader who would eagerly devour any book in front of me.

Back then I attended an all-girl’s Catholic school, and when I was twelve years old or so, I found out that the Catholic Church had a list of banned books: Index Libro­rum Pro­hibito­rum.

The Index became a syl­labus of sorts. Thanks to the Index I dis­cov­ered and devel­oped a taste for the works of George Sand, Balzac, both Dumas and sev­eral other great authors. As a result, I now think of great lit­er­a­ture as guer­rilla read­ing: a form of guer­rilla war­fare not only against Marx­ists, decon­struc­tion­ists and their destruc­tive pals, but against any form of censorship.

Fast-​forward fifty years and what do I find at Instapun­dit?

Fanny Hill is now too trig­ger­ing for col­lege stu­dents in London.

Fanny Hill??

The full title lets you know from the get-​go what the book is about, Fanny Hill: Mem­oirs of a Woman of Plea­sure. Ama­zon, (which sells a Kin­dle edi­tion for 99 cents) describes it,

Mem­oirs of a Woman of Plea­sure (pop­u­larly known as Fanny Hill) is an erotic novel by Eng­lish nov­el­ist John Cle­land first pub­lished in Lon­don in 1748. Writ­ten while the author was in debtors’ prison in Lon­don, it is con­sid­ered “the first orig­i­nal Eng­lish prose pornog­ra­phy, and the first pornog­ra­phy to use the form of the novel”. One of the most pros­e­cuted and banned books in his­tory, it has become a syn­onym for obscenity.

So 269 years ago Cle­land was broke and in the pokey, and thought, “Ya know, maybe if I wrote some smut I’d make enough money to get out of this mess,” which he did.

You would think this descrip­tion would inter­est Game of Thrones–watch­ing col­lege stu­dents, espe­cially when you real­ize that Fanny Hill was listed as one of the 15 of the Most Con­tro­ver­sial Books in the West­ern Canon, but noooo …

Cle­land did such a good job that, unlike thou­sands of smutty books over the ages, Fanny Hill stood the test of time.

Never mind that; the lit­tle SJWs are scandalized,

The book incensed the British clergy and cen­sors upon its pub­li­ca­tion. How­ever, het­ero­nor­ma­tive descrip­tions in Fanny Hill of ‘maypole[s] of so enor­mous a stan­dard’ appear to be prov­ing too much for uni­ver­sity students.”

The pro­fes­sor named in the arti­cle says she doesn’t teach Fanny Hill any­more, (empha­sis added)

The prob­lem with teach­ing Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power. When senior aca­d­e­mics make a work of pornog­ra­phy a set text, they should attend to the power rela­tions implicit in the ped­a­gogic rela­tion­ship and be aware that stu­dents can feel coerced.

Coerced? Because a pro­fes­sor lists a book in a syl­labus? Isn’t that what pro­fes­sors are for?

Crit­i­cal think­ing is one thing one may gain from the study of lit­er­a­ture, but that’s gone out the win­dow — not that the safe space SJWs inhabit has windows.

Now more than ever, read­ing lit­er­a­ture is a form of guer­rilla warfare.

Atten­tion: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin Amer­ica at Fausta’s blog

Fifty years ago I was an avid young reader who would eagerly devour any book in front of me.

Back then I attended an all-girl’s Catholic school, and when I was twelve years old or so, I found out that the Catholic Church had a list of banned books: Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

The Index became a syllabus of sorts. Thanks to the Index I discovered and developed a taste for the works of George Sand, Balzac, both Dumas and several other great authors. As a result, I now think of great literature as guerrilla reading: a form of guerrilla warfare not only against Marxists, deconstructionists and their destructive pals, but against any form of censorship.

Fast-forward fifty years and what do I find at Instapundit?

Fanny Hill is now too triggering for college students in London.

Fanny Hill??

The full title lets you know from the get-go what the book is about, Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Amazon, (which sells a Kindle edition for 99 cents) describes it,

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (popularly known as Fanny Hill) is an erotic novel by English novelist John Cleland first published in London in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors’ prison in London, it is considered “the first original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the form of the novel”. One of the most prosecuted and banned books in history, it has become a synonym for obscenity.

So 269 years ago Cleland was broke and in the pokey, and thought, “Ya know, maybe if  I wrote some smut I’d make enough  money to get out of this mess,” which he did.

You would think this description would interest Game of Thrones-watching college students, especially when you realize that Fanny Hill was listed as one of the 15 of the Most Controversial Books in the Western Canon, but noooo . . .

Cleland did such a good job that, unlike thousands of smutty books over the ages, Fanny Hill stood the test of time.

Never mind that; the little SJWs are scandalized,

“The book incensed the British clergy and censors upon its publication. However, heteronormative descriptions in Fanny Hill of ‘maypole[s] of so enormous a standard’ appear to be proving too much for university students.”

The professor named in the article says she doesn’t teach Fanny Hill anymore, (emphasis added)

The problem with teaching Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power. When senior academics make a work of pornography a set text, they should attend to the power relations implicit in the pedagogic relationship and be aware that students can feel coerced.

Coerced? Because a professor lists a book in a syllabus? Isn’t that what professors are for?

Critical thinking is one thing one may gain from the study of literature, but that’s gone out the window – not that the safe space SJWs inhabit has windows.

Now more than ever, reading literature is a form of guerrilla warfare.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog