Taste: Ye Olde Sex

Just when it was becoming fashionably sick, someone had to come along and remind everybody that sex can be fun. The contemporary five-foot shelf abounds in incest, lewd vagrancy, homosexual hanky-panky, reckless driving, and other suburban indelicacies. Such misdemeanors seem thoroughly neurotic compared to the plain if repetitive dalliance of Fanny Hill, heroine of John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, originally published circa 1749 and widely accredited as the first deliberately dirty novel in English.

Last week in Manhattan, after hearing arguments on two injunctions to ban sale and distribution of the book (in a new edition by...

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