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"O" (fictional character)

Guido Crepax - Just Jaeckin - O (film) - O (novel) - Pauvert (publisher) - Olympia Press (publisher) - Pauline Réage

O (1975) - Guido Crepax
image sourced here [Jun 2005]

HER LOVER one day takes O for a walk in a section of the city where they never go - the Montsouris Park, the Monceau Park. --Story of O by Pauline Réage

From the first chapter:

Voici les deux commencements d’Histoire d’O :

-"Son amant emmène un jour O se promener dans un quartier où ils ne vont jamais, le parc Montsouris, le parc Montseau. À l’angle du parc, au coin d’une rue où il n’y a jamais de station de taxis, après qu’ils se sont promenés dans le parc, et assis côte à côte au bord d’une pelouse, ils aperçoivent une voiture avec un compteur qui ressemble à un taxi. "Monte", dit-il. Elle monte."

- "(...) Une autre version du même début état plus brutale et plus simple :

"la jeune femme pareillement vêtue était emmenée en voiture par son amant, et un ami inconnu. L’inconnu était au volant, l’amant assis à côté de la jeune femme, et c’était l’ami, l’inconnu, qui parlait pour expliquer à la jeune femme que son amant était chargé de la préparer, qu’il allait lui lier les mains dans le dos, par-dessus ses gants, lui défaire et lui rouler ses bas, lui enlever sa ceinture, son slip et son soutien-gorge, et lui bander les yeux. Qu’ensuite elle serait remise au château, où on l’instruirait à mesure de ce qu’elle aurait à faire."

First Sentence:

...it was the unknown friend who explained to the young woman that her lover had been entrusted with the task of getting her ready, that he was going to tie her hands behind her back, unfasten her stockings and roll them, remove her garter belt, her panties, and her brassiere, and blindfold her. --from the Doris Kloster illustrated version of Story of O
Excerpt from the first chapter of Story of O

Part I: The Lovers of Roissy

Monceau Park (1878) - Claude Monet

Her lover one day takes O for a walk in a section of the city where they never go - the Montsouris Park. After they have taken a stroll in the park, and have sat together side by side on the edge of a lawn, they notice, at one corner of the park, at an intersection where there are never any taxis, a car which, because of its meter, resembles a taxi.

"Get in," he says.

She gets in. It is autumn, and coming up to dusk. She is dressed as she always is: high heels, a suit with a pleated skirt, a silk blouse, and no hat. But long gloves which come up over the sleeves of her jacket, and in her leather handbag she has her identification papers, her compact, and her lipstick.

The taxi moves off slowly, the man still not having said a word to the driver. But he pulls down the shades of the windows on both sides of the car, and the shade on the back window. She has taken off her gloves, thinking he wants to kiss her or that he wants her to caress him. But instead he says:

"Your bag's in your way; let me have it."

She gives it to him. He puts it out of her reach and adds:

"You also have on too many clothes. Unfasten your stockings and roll them down to above your knees. Here are some garters."

By now the taxi has picked up speed, and she has some trouble managing it; she's also afraid the driver may turn around. Finally, though, the stockings are rolled down, and she's embarrassed to feel her legs naked and free beneath her silk slip. Besides, the loose garter-belt suspenders are slipping back and forth.

"Unfasten your garter belt," he says, "and take off your panties."

That's easy enough, all she has to do is slip her hands behind her back and raise herself slightly. He takes the garter belt and panties from her, opens her bag and puts them in, then says:

"You shouldn't sit on your slip and skirt. Pull them up behind you and sit directly on the seat."

The seat is made of some sort of imitation leather, which is slippery and cold: it's quite an extraordinary sensation to feel it sticking to your thighs. Then he says:

"Now put your gloves back on."

The taxi is still moving along at a good clip, and she doesn't dare ask why René just sits there without moving or saying another word, nor can she guess what all this means to him - having her there motionless, silent, so stripped and exposed, so thoroughly gloved, in a black car going God knows where. He hasn't told her what to do or what not to do, but she's afraid either to cross her legs or press them together. She sits with gloved hands braced on either side of her seat.

"Here we are," he says suddenly. Here we are: the taxi stops on a lovely avenue, beneath a tree - they are plane trees - in front of some sort of small private home which can be seen nestled between the courtyard and the garden, the type of small private dwelling one finds along the Faubourg Saint-Germain. The street lamps are some distance away, and it is still fairly dark inside the car. Outside it is raining.

"Don't move," René says. "Sit perfectly still."

His hand reaches for the collar of her blouse, unties the bow, then unbuttons the blouse. She leans forward slightly, thinking he wants to fondle her breasts. No. He is merely groping for the shoulder straps of her brassiere, which he snips with a small penknife. Then he takes it off. Now, beneath her blouse, which he has buttoned back up, her breasts are naked and free, as is the rest of her body, from waist to knee.

"Listen," he says. "Now you're ready. This is where I leave you. You're to get out and go ring the doorbell. Follow whoever opens the door for you, and do whatever you're told. If you hesitate about going in, they'll come and take you in. If you don't obey immediately, they'll force you to. Your bag? No, you have no further need for your bag. You're merely the girl I'm furnishing. Yes, of course I'll be there. Now run along."

--from the first chapter of Story of O (1954) , Pauline Réage via http://www.geocities.com/free_library/story-o1.html [Apr 2005]

Story of Ohh () - Helmut Newton

Another series of images, American Vogue's "Story of Ohh" featuring a man, two girls and a dog, contains an epoch-making shot of the model Lisa Taylor, wearing a Calvin Klein dress and eyeing a shirtless man with frank lust. Mr. Newton is delighted by the memory of how many readers, disgusted by the fully clothed but suggestive ménage unfolding on Vogue's pages, canceled their subscriptions. --http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/yulelog/discuss/msgReader$554 [Aug 2004]

Helmut Newton's Story of Ohh shows Lisa Taylor lounging on a sofa legs wide apart, gazing hungrly at a half-naked man. --http://www.guybourdin.fsnet.co.uk/other_pages/reviews.html [Aug 2004]

Menthe - la bienheureuse (1979 )

Stefan Prince's site, filmography, bibliography, ..., of all incarnations of Story of O. Mentions Menthe - la bienheureuse (1979 ), a curious black &white homage to Reage and Story of O directed by Lars von Trier. --http://www.storyofo.co.uk

The Castle of O

Chateau d'O, Normandy, France
photo sourced here.

For the reader with a taste for the erotic Story of O promises a veritable homecoming and if your dreams and fantasies roam the corridors of the novel's chateau thereafter, you will appreciate how intrigued I was whilst driving through France a few years ago, by the prospect of a 'Chateau d'O'. Following road signs I left the main road to travel a short distance along a leafy country road to where I found the Chateau d'O enclosed beyond heavy iron and padlocked gates, a fairy tale castle set jewel-like amongst tall trees, gardens straight out of Last Year at Marienbad, and total quiet and privacy. The inspiration surely, for any Story of O but apparently named simply after a neighboring river! --http://www.storyofo.co.uk/corridors.html [Apr 2005]


  1. Story of O/L'Histoire d'O (1954) - Pauline Reage et al [Amazon.com]

    See entry on O (novel)

  2. The Illustrated Story of O - Doris Kloster [Amazon.com]

    See entry on Doris Kloster

  3. Justine and the Story of O - Guido Crepax [Amazon.com]

    See entry on Guido Crepax.

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