John Cleland was born in 1710, eldest son of William Cleland, an officer and friend of the Pope. For a while hoe worked for the East India Company, rising from soldiers to businessman to secretary of the Bombay Council, though he returned to London in 1741. He then became a literary hack and journalist and was imprisoned for debt on several occasions, and on one such occasion used the time to write Fanny Hill. He died in Westminster in January 1789. Peter Wagner is a lecturer at the Catholic University of Eichstatt in Bavaria. His books in English include a study of Puritanism in colonial New England, and a survey of erotica in the age of Enlightenment.
"A rare achievement . . . a ray of sunshine in the gloomy world of lust."