Between the Restoration and the first half of the 18th Century, England built its own territorial identity to the detriment of the great explorations that had marked the Tudor era and the reign of the first two Stuart monarchs. English literature does not care anymore for the tales of adventures in foreign and exotic lands, and busies itself with the discovery and the exploration of what is near and familiar.
Even in "Gulliver’s Travels" we can see how Gulliver’s amazing adventures in strange countries end with the problematic albeit happy coming back home of the eponymous character. The journey itself stands rather for a trial, as in medieval allegories, than for the desire for adventures, and the ultimate goal is that of coming home and settling down.
The essay focuses on the representation of London, in particular through the novel of "Fanny Hill, The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" by John Cleland, a controversial novel which mixes ambiguous morality and religious disenchantment, a novel in which the city is background and intricate black soul, inspiration and hypostasis of vice, desired but then avoided destination, conquered and finally re-inhabited place. These are the multiple functions and the stimuli given by the urban space of London in "Fanny Hill".