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