Is your curiosity piqued when someone tells you you shouldn't or can't read a book? Mine is - I always want to know what it is that they don't want me to know.
If you're curious what the fuss is all about, join me on Scandalous Books. We'll look at the history of censorship, what the censors hope to gain (or protect) by keeping certain books under wraps, and more.
Fanny Hill: "Truth! stark naked truth"
In this episode I talk about John Cleland's Fanny Hill or a Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. It's the first work in English to be censured for causing offence - perhaps not surprising since it's also the first pornographic novel written in English.
The version of the text is that edited by Peter Wagner and first published by Penguin in 1985 - it's based on the original two-volume novel (1748-9), not the expurgated version (broken up into 11 letters, instead of the original 2) or any of the various illustrated versions that began appearing in the 1760s.
This episode includes discussions of sex (between women, between men and women - including group sex, and between men), flagellation, defloration, non-consensual sex, prostitution, abortion, miscarriage, women's and children's bodily autonomy, incest, and Americans and guns. It also includes occasional use of four-letter words that some might find objectionable.
A short pause for thought
In this short episode I explain why the Fanny Hill episode will be two weeks late.
This episode includes discussion of abortion (Roe v Wade), miscarriage, women's rights, and sexuality.
Moll Flanders' many adventures
Join me to learn about one of the most engaging criminal narrators you're ever likely to come across - Moll Flanders. Through multiple marriages (one to her brother and a few that overlap), she keeps her spirits up in a world that sometimes seems set against her. She always finds a way to triumph - though her methods are often unorthodox (prostitution, theft, etc.).
Content note: this episode involves discussions of sex, adultery, prostitution, bigamy, incest, capital punishment, and crime (mostly theft).
John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore - from the seventeenth-century stage to Midsummer Murders!
Join me for a short history of the reception of John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore - a play that centres on an incestuous relationship between brother and sister: Giovanni and Annabella.
In the episode I discuss a promotional poster for a performance of the play that was banned by TfL for overt sexuality. This article discusses the ban: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tis-pity-shes-a-whore-sam-wanamaker-playhouse-se1-pdc5lw6fdxd, but this blog post gives you the full poster: https://peterviney.com/stage/tis-pity-shes-a-whore-wanamaker/
If you want to discuss the issues raised in the episode, go to this page to sign up for a discussion session: https://ewc.coach/speaker-podcaster/
Content notes: this episode includes discussions of the following: sex, adultery, incest, murder, and religion. If this is likely to offend you, please choose a different episode.
Chaucer - 'The Miller's Tale'
If you want to know what the fuss is all about with Chaucer's 'The Miller's Tale' from The Canterbury Tales, you're in the right place. If you want to join the discussion, you're invited to my discussion group next week - if you attend the week of 11 April 2022, it's free. Click here for more details: https://ewc.activehosted.com/f/27
To help you make choices that work for you, I'll put 'content details' in the descriptions for each episode - these are like content warnings or trigger warnings.
This episode is about a comedic tale, so there's nothing too harrowing involved, but it does include frank discussions of the following:
sex - this is the main reason given for banning the story
body parts and functions - including vaginas, anuses, and farting
practical jokes with a sexual element
Introduction to Scandalous Books
Listen to this episode if you want to know why I've decided to start this podcast and what to expect over the next several months!
Click this link to get your season 1 reading list and to be the first to find out how to join the discussion group: https://ewc.coach/scandalous-books-list/