BibliOgraphy / FilmOgraphy / OTheatre / OArt
"SIXTY YEARS OF STORY OF O"
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Illustrated 50 page hard bound celebration of the
publication of STORY OF O in June 1954
available now to buy
STORY OF O
with a preface "Happiness in Slavery" by Jean Paulhan, first appeared as 600 copies published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert in Paris in 1954. A number carried a medallion sized lithograph by artist Hans Bellmer. The first English translation by Baird Bryant was published in tandem with the French edition by the Olympia Press, Paris. An improved translation for Olympia by Austryn Wainhouse appeared in 1957 as Wisdom of the Lash. The Grove Press (USA) edition of Story of O and with a translation by Sabine d'Estree appeared in 1965. This edition has been available in Britain since 1970 and is still available in the UK published by Corgi Books. (see Shop page to purchase this novel)
Retour a' Roissy
Return to the Chateau
Story of O Part Two
originally published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert in 1969, this sequel or added 'chapter' has been available in the USA and Britain since 1971 and 1985 respectively. It includes an article Une Fille Amoureuse (A Girl in Love) by Pauline Reage (Dominique Aury). A biography of Dominique Aury by Angie David informs that this sequal was not penned by Aury.
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Story of O (1961)
USA. Directed by Kenneth Anger - unfinished (apparently survives as a short film in the collections of a small number of connoisseurs). In an interview Kenneth Anger recalls having made four ten minute films sold to a small handful of collectors in France and Germany.
The films have never been shown. Story of O is one of these and starred a nineteen year old girl who was set upon rebelling against her high society family by appearing in Anger's movie. Permission to film Histoire d'O had been granted by both Jean Jacques Pauvert and 'Pauline Reage' who had requested, "as long as it's like a private thing, for a few people."
Anger thought it could be done like a 'poetic film', - "Well, Story of O would have been beautiful because I was doing it in the style of Robert Bresson, like Les dames du Bois de Boulogne which is very understated." Anger maintains the collectors' item was produced in a designed box, "It's a 400ft can which fits inside a fake book." Each edition carried a simple title and edition number, "In a sense, it was my exercise in snobbism." Anger had planned the film to be longer but the finance dried up after the girl's boyfriend, who offered to pay for the film, was jailed for a kidnapping (the boyfriend had been one of the kidnappers of Eric Peugeot, heir to the Peugeot car company fortune). Anger maintains, "So despite the film not being finished, there actually remains twenty minutes at the Cinemateque Francaise. Someday possibly I can screen it."
Story of O (1975)
Fr/Ger. Directed by Just Jaekin, based on Histoire d'O. Screenplay: Sebastian Japrisot. Photography: Robert Fraissa. Music: Pierre Bachelet; with Corrine Clery, Martine Kelly, Alain Noury, Udo Kier and Anthony Steele.
It is said, for a very long time, French director Henri-Georges Clouzot dreamt to adapt the novel. Finally, a film, The Story of O, was made in 1975 by director Just Jaeckin. Shown for the first time in London December 1999 (with a Camden Council 18 certificate for a short run at the ABC Leicester Square) twenty four years after its British ban. Available on video and DVD. Much maligned but very praise worthy film version of the Reage novel with Bond-girl Corrine Clery suffering at the hands of her 'lovers'. A dreamlike atmosphere pervades the whole footage, helped mightily by illumination, filters and of course the excellent score by Pierre Bachelet (that recalls briefly Listz's "Dream of Love", a very fit inspiration, with its blending of sensuality and religiosity). A departure from the book comes at the close, when O claims her due from Sir Stephen, providing a happy end. One satified customer wrote, "The quality of the film is first class, it is well acted, and is a classic. IMO, it is a must have film. It is the only erotic film in our house - the rest just are so bland."
To purchase Story of O on dvd go to Shop Page. (A word about "cut" and "uncut" versions. In the English language version about 8 minutes are omitted. They include some dialogues between René and O and some nudity of the latter. The reason for the omission was not censure and nothing fundamental is missed in this English version.)
Story of O 2 (1984)
Fr. Directed by Eric Rochat. Screenplay: Eric Rochet. Story: Jeffrey O'Kelly. Photography: Andres Berenguer. Music: Stanley Myers; with Sandra Wey, Manuel de Blas, Rosa Valenty, Christian Cid. Though not without merit this 'sequel' to Story of O has little to do with the Pauline Reage novel and instead tells a story of business and family moral intrigues which later found its way into print as The New Story of O (sometimes accredited to "James Jennings") and as the third comic strip Story of O (Vol.3) by Guido Crepax.
Story of O: the series (1995)
Brazil. Directed by Ron Williams (actually Eric Rochat) Screenplay Ron Williams and Jennifer Field.
With Claudia Cepeda, Paolo Reis and Nelson Freitas.
A ten hour version of Hoistoire d'O is a luxury indeed, and despite the Latin American settings, stilted acting, uneven dialogue, dubbing and irritatingly repetitive music there is much to enjoy in this long version of Storyof O with a somewhat gamine Claudia Cepeda delivering ultimately a quite charming and sincere interpretation of 'O'. Much thought has gone into the choreography of certain scenes and additional scenes not found in the original novel are not without invention. A prologue introduces each of the ten episodes. There is a commentary track by director Eric Rochat.
Passion Slave (1995)
Brazil. 82 minute adaption of ten one hour episodes shot in Brazil and France. Produced & Directed by Ron Williams, Screenplay Ron Williams and Jennifer Field. With Claudia Cepeda, Paolo Reis and Nelson Freitas. See above.
Fruits of Passion (1981)
Jap/Fr. Directed by Shuji Terayama. With Isabelle Illiers and Klaus Kinski and Arielle Dombasle.
Based on Retour a' Roissy.
"Like Magritte let loose in Wonderland."- Nigel Andrews, Financial Times.
Again, very little to do with Reage but the film's oddness (only recently available uncut) and the casting of Kinski compensates for the film's shortcomings. Like an epic poem to melancholy Fruits of Passion rambles through a series of eccentric set pieces interspersed with moments of surreality, with a story setting the sadness of brothel life against a slim plot involving Sir Stephen financing a Cooley uprising! Fascinating.
In an interview, Andre Heinrich reveals Philippe d'Argila, son of 'Pauline Reage' and one of the producers on Borowczyk's Blanche, wished to cash in on the success of Just Jaekin's Story of O by producing a sequel based upon his mother's Retour a' Roissy for which she retained the rightes. As Associate Producer on Fruits of Passion one can only assume d'Argila had to make-do with this Hong Kong based movie which claims to be the sequal to Story of O but is as far from Return to the Chateau as one can imagine. (SP 2015)
Lars von Trier's
Menthe - la bienheureuse (1979 )
Menthe - the Blissful
Curious black & white homage to Reage and Story of O directed with style by Lars von Trier.
Lars von Trier was a twenty one old year student and member of the Filmgruppe 16 (an amateur nonprofit association) when he made Menthe - la bienheureuse in 1979. In the same year he was accepted to the National School of Denmark as a directing student. Both Histoire d'O and the works of de Sade made a lasting impression and around 1990 von Trier had serious plans of adapting de Sade's Justine and Reage's Story of O for the sreen. Neither project got off the ground and Menth - la bienheureuse remains von Trier's solitary stab at the erotic classic. ( see Lars von Trier Interviews edited by Jan Lumholdt (pp.168) pub 2003 )
"Various brief notices of the film identify it as Lars von Trier’s homage to Histoire d’O but it also draws on the narrative style of Marguerite Duras as if retouched by Jean Genet. The title has been translated into English as Menthe – the blissful but it would probably be more accurate (if apparently awkward) to translate it as Mint – the blessed one." (Cinema of the World)
Writing credits Dominique Aury (novel), Lars von Trier.
Cast: Inger Hivdtfeldt ... The Woman
Annette Linnet ... Menthe
Car-Henrik Trier ... The Gardener
Lars von Trier ... The Driver
Jenni Dick ... The Old Lady
Brigitte Pelissier ... Voice of The Woman
Runtime 31' Language French, Denmark
The Story of O - Untold Pleasures (2001)
Directed by Phil Leirness, Produced by Pierre-Richard Muller (USA)
with: Danielle Ciardi, Neil Dickson, Max Parrish, Michele Ruben. (Screenplay Phil Leirness & Ron Norman)
"Your parents named you O???"... A somewhat clever reshaping of the O story has an American 1990s "O" enjoining in a battle of compliance with Sir Stephen. The film is not without imagination but lacks both grace and strength. With music reminiscent of the Emmanuelle spin-offs and action more in keeping with 'straight to video' this Story of O, despite its good intentions, is sadly more Red Shoe Diaries than Reage, and rather than ringing 21st century changes to the original novel it gets stuck in a dated sensibility.
"WRITER OF O" (ECRIVAIN D'O) (2005)
French/American 80 minute biopic featuring Dominique Aury, Cyril Corral, Thierry de Carbonnières, John de St. Jorre, Catherine Mouchet
Director: Pola Rapaport / Writer: Pola Rapaport / Producers: Anne Schuchman, Sylvie Cazin
Language: English, French
"WRITER OF O is a unique drama/documentary hybrid about the author of the notorious erotic novel STORY OF O, who kept her identity a closely guarded secret for 40 years. Filmmaker Pola Rapaport explores the writer's clandestine romantic inspiration, re-creating the world of '50s literary Paris and setting it against provocatively dramatic sequences that bring the infamous book to life." (Amazon.com)
"- essential past interview with the original author when she was younger..."
Not O: Themes & Motifs
Historia Sexual De O (1986)
Directed by Jess Franco: "My film used the title and nothing else..." with: Alicia Principe, Carmen Carrion, Daniel Katz, Mamie Kaplan, Mauro Rivera. Eurotrash movie borrowing the 'O' tag is typical Jess Franco fare from the 1980s and has nothing to do with Story of O, with Alicia Principe (a.k.a. Alicia Pedreira) as Odile, the 'O' of the title, who ultimately comes to a sticky end at the hands of a sadistic couple who lure young women to their private island home. Lots of nudity, bad music and awful furniture, with subtitles which translate the "Aahs" and "Mhms" to exactly that, "Aah... Mhm...".
The Journey of O (1976)
Directed by Chris Latham (C.F. Kennedy) with Georgina Spelvin, Clair Dia, Marilyn Berg, Susan Hurley, Serena (Serena Robinson) USA 1975. 74 min.
Again, nothing to do with Story of O: "Ever since she was a child, Ophelia has had a urinal fixation. Her psychologist sends her to a house in the country where a group session with a lot of men relieves her of this fixation." (IMDb)
Dark teen drama version of Shakespeare's Othello with Mekhi Phifer, set in a modern-day private high school. Director Tim Blake Nelson.
The Story of Joanna (1975)
A stand-out movie from the genre, which in its dark and graphic sexual melodrama borrows themes and motifs from Story of O, is American director Gerard (Deep Throat , The Devil in Miss Jones) Damiano's The Story of Joanna. It combines motifs from one of the book's chapters and from Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit.
Cast: Terri Hall, Jamie Gillis, Juliet Graham, Zebedy Colt, Steven Lark.
The Image (1973)
Rumoured to have been co-written by Catherine Robbe-Grillet and her husband French novelist and filmaker Alaine (Eden & After, Glissements progressifs du plaisir, La belle captive , Gradiva...) Robbe-Grillet, L'Image by Jean de Berg was published in 1956, just two years following the publication of Histoire d'O. It carried a preface by 'PR' (Pauline Reage), a fabrication on the part of the writer/s.
The film version (also known under the more exploitative title The Punishment of Anne) from American director Radley Metzger, is about as faithful to the novel as a film can be and for this fact alone is worthy of a favourable reputation. Though now a little dated, its principle players pleasingly make credible the Paris based tale.
One Amazon reviewer maintains,
"Arguably the finest S/M movie ever made, Radley Metzger's 'The Image' tells of Jean, a writer who meets an old friend, Claire, at a party and is soon drawn into her world of S/M along with her slave, Anne. Based on the French novel 'L'image' by Jean de Berg, a nom de guerre for Catherine Robbe-Grillet, this may be Radley Metzger's best film. Beautifully filmed and acted and very erotic."
The Film Music:
The soundtrack music from Story of O by Pierre Bachelet & the Stanley Mayers music from Story of O 2 on cd is available on the CAM Original Soundtrack label from Rome (Italy)
The Story of O:
By THE RABBLE after Pauline Reage. Creators – Kate Davis and Emma Valente. Director – Emma Valente. Set & Costume Design – Kate Davis. Supported by NEON (Melbourne Theatre Company). The Lawler Studio – Southbank. June 27 – July 7, 2013."O is sexy, O is sublime, O is submissive, O is delicious, O is a mess, O is powerful, O is O.
THE RABBLE take on Pauline Reage’s famous erotic novel Story of O, reinventing it as a surreal and erotic visual fantasia... THE RABBLE take you deeper – exploring the recesses of O’s mind, the depths of female sexuality, deviancy, arousal and submission. A luscious, visceral odyssey through O’s looking glass.
Story of O is THE RABBLE in their element : feminine, provocative, subversive and beautiful."
"Mary Helen Sassman is mesmerising in the role of the central cipher, oscillating between brutalised innocent and hardcore seductress. Her annihilation plays out under a video camera's watchful eye, projected onto the rear wall like an amateur porno. Such fantasies push the limits of our libertarianism — several people stormed out on opening night. Everyone will react differently, but the conversations it will generate are vital."
Sydney Morning Herald
June 30, 2013
The Illustrators:Leonor FiniBetween 1968 and 1975 several editions of Histoire d'O were produced in France as large 'luxury' editions containing illustrations (in color and black & white) by the surrealist painter born in Buenos Aires LEONOR FINI (1918-1996). Fini was raised in Trieste, Italy. She moved to Milan at the age of 17, and then to Paris, in the early 1930s. There, she became acquainted with, among many others, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, and Salvador Dalí. The sphinx and cats play major parts in her paintings, as does the theme of 'the double'. Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (many times resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations. Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females. Her obituary in the London Times stressed her physical beauty, her erotic art, and her legions of lovers, whose names "read like a roll call of the literary and artistic talents of that brilliant age." (return to Key/Inex for more on Fini)
Artist Hans Bellmer (1902-75) supplied a medallion size engraving for the cover of the Histoire d'O first edition published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert in Paris (1954) However, only a small number of the first edition were printed in this fashion possibly only for friends of the publisher and those of the author. Bellmer at this time was working on illustrations for editions of Sade and Bataille's Story of the Eye. (Recently a book seller offering a copy of the 1st edition maintained, "The first twenty copies on Arches paper has an original engraving by Hans Bellmer, surrealist whose work on eroticism, animated and inanimated bodies resonate with the theme of this "destruction in joy" to borrow the words of Pauline Réage .")
(b.1933. Milan - d.2003) It was his creation Valentina, who first appeared in 1965, that proved for illustrator Guido Crepax the potentiality of cartoon literature or 'fumetti'. Crepax created Bianca (1970), Belinda (1973), Anita (1973), and went on to produce distinctive comic- strip versions of Story of O (1975), Emmanuelle (1979), Justine(1980), and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1984). Story of O was drawn between 1973 and 1974. Grove Press published the comic in English in 1978. It is still available in paperback as three volumes.
(Return to Key for Crepax page)
Cent dessins pour illustrer HISTOIRE D'O, Paris 1981.
Dubigeon's style, mostly in pencil, is sophisticated realism, - hand drawn, in black on white. Scenes of violence and physical acts seduce the viewer in numerous drawings inspired by Story of O. Further drawings were published in Paris in 1997 as Retour de Roissy. "In the late 70s... a big Munich publisher... suggested I illustrate a luxury edition of the Story of O. I was very keen. I started work straight away, but the project was called off... When Alaine Robbe-Grillet saw my plates, he put me in touch with Roger Borderie. We made an agreement and Story of O was published with my drawings in September 1981. I was knocked out by the quality of the writing in Pauline Reage's novel... I found making the drawings extremely captivating." Loic Dubigeon 'La Scene'
Exhibitions in Nantes, Paris, Dieppe, Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Vienna, New York and Hamburg.
UK artist and creator of this website (known to some as "Keeper of the Book" !). Over twenty large oil paintings and numerous drawings since 1996 all inspired by Story of O. Some now in private collections. Examples exhibited in London at the Coventry Gallery, Erotica (Olympia) and elsewhere. Featured in Skin Two, Desire, Marquis Fetish Images 2, Penthouse Fetish, and in the film 'Preaching to the Perverted'. 'Erotic Oscar' finalist (London 2000). "...there is a power here that far exceeds illustration. Although Stephan has taken STORY OF O as his inspiration the paintings have an autonomous life that is independent of the book. Something is about to happen and if you watch quietly and do not draw attention to yourself you will witness it..." (Noel Myles)
Go to Stephan's Art Page
Lynn Paula Russell
One of Britain's few erotic film stars, Lynn Paula Russell has become an established illustrator in the field
of sm erotica. Over several years during the 1980's she produced a series of stunning illustrations based on Story of O for a private patron. In recent years her work has been published by The Erotic Print Society, London, and featured regularly in Februs magazine and elsewhere...
Lynn Paula Russell recalls exhibiting at 'Les Larmes d'Eros' in Paris thus; "On the opening night of my show I was surrounded by an extraordinary assortment of people, some in fetish wear, some smart and glamorous. There were intellectuals, a psychologist, writers and other artists. I chatted to a petite lady in her sixties, her hair swept back severely off her face, who told me of her exploits as a dominatrix. This was obviously one of her great pleasures in life. To my delight, I also found out that she was quite a famous writer too. She had written a strange and darkly erotic book called 'L'Image'. I knew it well and had assumed that the pseudonym Jean de Berg meant that the author must be a man. For a moment I felt a wave of excitement, as if I had been an eleven year old boy meeting their favourite football star! Just to think: this lady had probably actually KNOWN Pauline Reage!"
French artist Francoise Muller illustrated Histoire d'O for Editions Famot. Born in Strasbourg in 1949, Muller has described her work as, " all about the continuing desire for a balance between heaven and earth, a harmony of bodies for spiritual well-being and an eventual transcendence... I seek to construct a peaceful and serene world full of realized dreams." In her pictures birds are the messengers of the invisible world, fish signify renaissance and ceremonies are inspired by "ancient mysteries".
1968-1971 - Elève aux Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg/ 1971-1973 - Collabore au journal''La Maison Française'' à Paris/ 1973-1974 - Professeur de gravure à l'Académie d'Art de Provence. Exhibitions in France, Belgium and Japan.
David Wilde (Norman Shacklock 1918-74) illustrated a series of erotic books including Story of O for a private client. His work (which at best is extreemly uneven in quality) managed to find a place in Erotic Masters of the 20th Century (pub. Germany 1984-5).
Curious Histoire d'O art by an unknown artist
THE OWL MASK: Josien Vogelaar
from an animated short film
The Illustrated Story Of O
by Doris Kloster with extracts from the original text by Pauline Réage
Introduction by Jean-Jacques Pauvert
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, La Musardine France, 2001
Doris Kloster is a world-recognized photo artist whose unique vision has found expression in art books of her own conception, exhibitions, installations and films. She has also worked as a commercial photographer. Kloster realised a long-standing ambition with The Illustrated Story of O. Her book presents over fifty superb images which mirror the intense eroticism of the novel. Schooting entirely in Paris and its environs, Kloster sought to match characters, locations, costumes and props to the original descriptions. Each colour photograph is accompanied by a short extract from the novel and together the portraits create a rich visual feast.
Numerous photographers have flirted with images redolent of Histoire d'O including Claude Alexandre (above right) and John Deitrich (above left). It could be said that few find an original voice within the darker regions of erotic photography. France's Gilles Berquet comes to mind as does the UK's China Hamilton (above). Mr Hamilton writes,
"My work explores a most challenging and difficult area of visual art. The erotic and its sub-sections and divisions of this massive subject have always found it a hard battle to be accepted and enjoyed as other aspects of the arts are. It is often only with the distance of historical time that any such work is taken seriously by the establishment. Yet of all the subjects that art can choose it is the nearest to the truth of joys and pains, our true selves and our most precious inner thoughts... The erotic is beyond simple pornography for it feeds our mind and not our body."
from a student in Australia:
"I am a Master of Arts student at the Australian National University. My thesis on Story of O is almost complete, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your site. Your biblio page gave me a great place to start in researching the text! As you already know, the sphere of information on the text is quite small, and they all seem to reference each other pretty closely. In most cases, I was lead time and again back to texts on your list, so thank you!"
Unique MAP of places mentioned in the novel: O MAP - with kind permission of Sirlpe (Sweden)
Texts close to the novel:
Texts of substantual interest:
Articles, books & other texts:
"Anne-Marie" Was Edith Thomas??? Dorothy Kaufmann's engaging book is based in large part on previously unavailable material that Edith Thomas chose not to publish during her lifetime. This included an unexpected windfall of letters, articles, poems and diaries passed to Kaufmann in a "large shopping bag" by Dominique Aury during an initial taped interview between Kaufmann and Aury in 1991.
During this interview not only did Aury confirm she was the clandestine author of Story of O but revealed the presence of Edith Thomas in Story of O, as well as Aury's reciprocal presence in much of Thomas's writing. Their romantic relationship had lasted just under a year, ending when Aury became the lover of Jean Paulhan in 1947, but the two women of letters remained friends and co-correspondents until Thomas's death in December 1970.
There is a lot here to interest the casual reader as well as the 'O' reader, not least of all the perceptive portrait of Dominique Aury in which Kaufmann detects Aury's pleasure in having multiple identities. "By not signing O with her name", maintains Kaufmann, "(Aury) could write freely, as someone else In fact, Dominique Aury was already a pseudonym" --- Stephan
Radio & TV:
- The Story of O: The Vice Francaise
A documentary broadcast on Mon, 7 Sep 2009, 23:00 on BBC Radio 4. entitled The Story of O: The Vice Francaise, presented by Rowan Pelling, former editor of the Erotic Review, which looked at the history of the book and Pauline Reage.
"Writer and former editor of The Erotic Review, Rowan Pelling, goes in search of Pauline Reage, pseudonymous author of the pornographic novel The Story of O, which caused a sensation upon its publication in Paris in 1954.
Written with an almost hallucinatory erotic intensity in spare, elegant prose, the purity of the writing took the literary world in France by storm despite the explicit scenes of bondage and sadomasochism.
Rowan goes in search of the real Pauline Reage and discovers that she was, in fact, an impeccably dressed, demure intellectual, and that she had written the novel as a love letter for her lover."
- Erotica -A Journey Into Female Sexuality
Canadian tv documentary dir. by Maya Gallus features parts of a filmed interview with Dominique Aury
conducted in Paris in 1997. (Films Transit International)
Story of O is mentioned in numerous books, articles and papers including:
Read Molly Weatherfield on: Story of O
WEBMASTER @ Story of O .info
RETURN TO KEY O