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L'Histoire d'O / Story of O (1954) - Pauline Réage

Related: 1954 - Pauline Réage - French literature - erotic literature - BDSM literature - French erotica - "O" (fictional character) - O (film)

After a few reluctant rejections from publishers, Story of O was finally published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert who had previously published the entire works of the Marquis de Sade, sparking off a series of court cases that lasted eight years. It was published, at the same time, in English for Olympia Press by Maurice Girodias, a colleague of Pauvert's and a publisher of erotic books for sailors. Although the translation was very puritan, words were mis-translated and the author was not happy. It had been rushed through in less than three weeks as the publishers wanted to release both issues together. In 1965 Grove Press published the first U.S. edition. [Jan 2007]

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


In literature, O is the subject of the sadomasochistic novel The Story of O.

Story of O (1954)

Story of O (Histoire d'O) is a sadomasochistic novel by French author Pauline Réage, revealed a few years before her death as being the pen of Anne Desclos (1907-1998), who also wrote under the name of Dominique Aury.

Published 1954 in French, it is a fantasy of female submission about a Parisian fashion photographer who is blindfolded, chained, whipped, made to wear a mask and taught to be "constantly available". In February 1955, it won the French literature prize Prix des Deux Magots, although this did not prevent the French authorities bringing obscenity charges agaist the publisher. Although these were rejected by the courts, a publicity ban was imposed for a number of years.

The first English edition was published in 1965. Eliot Fremont-Smith (of the New York Times) called its publishing "a significant event". A sequel, Retour à Roissy, was published in 1967.

One view of the novel is that it is about the ultimate objectification of a woman. The heroine of the novel has the shortest possible name, consisting solely of the letter O. Although this is in fact an abbreviation of the name Odile, it could also stand for "object" or "orifice", an O being a symbological representation of any 'hole'.

The book has been the source of a various terms that are used in the BDSM subculture such as SAMOIS, the name of the estate of the character Anne-Marie who brands O.

A film, The Story of O, was made in 1975 by director Just Jaeckin, starring Corinne Clery. The film met with far less acclaim than the book. It was banned in the United Kingdom by the British Board of Film Censors until February 2000. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_O [Oct 2004]

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