First published in England in 1748, "Fanny Hill" has incensed censors ever since. 

In fact, its last ban in the United States wasn't lifted until 1973, when it was finally deemed to have merit as a literary and historical oeuvre. These days, most critics would call the work bawdy rather than obscene. Sure, some of the pornographic adventures of working girl Fanny are not ones we'd want to live through ourselves, but that's why the book is such a good read aside from offering erotic encouragement. It shows that even back in the good old buttoned-up days, before Internet porn and casual encounters on Craigslist became the norm, it took more to excite people than a bit of exposed stocking or a dropped handkerchief. From flogging to voyeurism, John Cleland's novel covers all 50 shades of sex and then some.