Last week we looked at a sampling of erotic verse in time for Valentine’s Day, but this week we’ll look at novels. In particular, we’ll look at novels that proved to be much too scandalous for their time, and we’ll salute the writers who stood up to everything the world threw at them; the writers who refused to back down because they had something to say.

Although erotic fiction is considered fairly commonplace now, this wasn’t always the case; in the past, erotic novels have been censored, heavily edited, confiscated, burned, and even banned. In 1748, John Cleland wrote Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure which was also known as Fanny Hill from debtor’s prison. It detailed the sexual adventures of Frances Hill, a sex worker.

The book caused such an uproar that it was instantly withdrawn from circulation, and Cleland himself was arrested again when he was released from debtor’s prison. The book was privately circulated at the time, and is easily available to buy now.

Read more here.