John Cleland (1709 1789) was an English novelist made infamous for his banned novel Fanny Hill: or, the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Cleland was born in Surrey but was educated in London and then entered the British East India Company as a soldier. After being arrested for a debt, he began composing his erotic novel while in prison. He was once more arrested after the publication of the book, which he disavowed in court. With the exception of pirated copies, it wasn’t published again for another century. Cleland attempted other literary novels, letters, and reviews, but none of his work had the lasting success of Fanny Hill.