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Been watching and reading stuff the past few days, sort of a "catching up" before school opens and I'll have my hands full trying to finish proper reading.



I bought a copy of John Cleland's Fanny Hill : Or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure during a sale at the university Co-Op. Not so much for the interest of actually reading it, but being far too amused at the fact that well, one doesn't really quite expect to find the said book in a NUS Co-Op. Read the book over the examination period as a sort of de-stressor (You'll be surprised what badly-written 18th C porn can do for you. Namely, cackling away in the middle of the night and scaring your neighbours in hall.), had a good laugh and laid the book to rest. It might have been interesting, not so much "erotic" as it is explicit but I wouldn't say it's the sort which makes me want to reread it.

And then last week, I met Erica Jong's Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones. Which has been keeping me awake till five in the morning for the past few days.

Certainly a play on the Cleland original, it keeps the same 18th C tone and spelling and egoistic tone of the original female protagonist, if I may dare add. XD;;; (You might almost accuse the book of being a Mary Sue, except the original Fanny reads the same way. And then the question would be is Cleland writing a Mary Sue or is he merely depicting a character? Jong would say the first. >D) But definitely with a much darker tone with bitterness injected in all the flippery. This is how the book starts:

I was born in the Reign of Queen Ann, but the exact Date of my Birth I did not, for many Years, know, owning to the unfortunate Occurrence of my having abandon'd upon a Doorstep in tend'rest Infancy. Whether my Natural Parents were, as the Saying goes, poor but honest, or whether they were poor and vicious, I could not in Good Conscience say. That they were poor was a fair enough Conjecture, else why would they have left a helpless Babe of their Begetting up the Doorstep of a Great House in the Neighbourhood?


Quite a beginning, isn't it?

But what was most interesting was the Jong manages to roll in Feminism (and of course, Inequality between the Sexes, for they go hand in hand), famous figures and a whole variety of bedchamber antics. You have Jong's Fanny discussing about the sufferings of women, the Great Goddess, inequality existing amongst womenfolk (For the saying goes, a Woman's Greatest Enemy is but another Woman.) and screaming injustice when an asterisk is added to the word "Man" to denote "Women included". You have Alexander Pope who attempted to deflower her (Alexander Pope! %&**#@$!?), Hogarth the painter who painted her before having her, Dean Swift (who is also known as Jonathan Swift and was a good friend of Pope) who tried to mate her with horses, Anne Bonny the saucy Pyrate and then you have John Bloody Cleland who played the Virgin bride to Jong's Fanny excited groom. (No really, they exchanged garments. Jong's Fanny also noted that Mr. Cleland who have "loved to play the Concubine whilst a savage Turk ravish'd him in his Nether Regions." Don't look at me, I don't know. I was too busy going ROTFL. XDXDXD

... of course, the dear lady mentions in the afterword that the entry of the RL characters into the book is intended as "no slur upon the greatness of their achievement", merely "imagined as fictional characters within the known facts of their lives". Believe at your own peril. >D)

And then you have lesbian orgies, sex toys, S&M, male love, more female love, threesomes, foursomes, scat, incest and then some. However, it might prove to be a relief, for those who have read the Cleland version, that there are no ivory-coloured, blue-veined, red-tipped phalluses in Jong's tale. The extraordinary number of names for that particular organ remains though, but with just as many number of names for the female organ introduced in Jong's version. Dear gotts, and you think the ficcers at FF.net had already quite a few names for body parts. Now you know.

I think I have gone on quite enough.



.

I think Dan Simmons' Song of Kali sucks. One, it isn't frightening. At all. So much for the one of the scariest book of our time. Two, I think there's a racist slant to it. I don't know. India, its progress, its culture and its people are depicted in a way, it makes me want to kick the man. And why use Kali as the God of Violence? Yes, she is a violent God, she demands blood and sacrifice. But the God of Violence? Like Moses' God wasn't one who demanded blood, wasn't violent and vicious and who didn't kill the innocents as well (Firstborns. Egypt. Enuf' said.) Three, I might be overly sensitive to such stuff, living on an ex-colonial island meself.
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September 2015

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