Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Story of O
Histoire d'O (English title: Story of O ) is a sadomasochistic novel by French author Pauline Réage, revealed a few years before her death as being the pen name 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, branded, made to wear a mask, and taught to be "constantly available" for oral, vaginal, and/or anal intercourse. In February 1955, it won the French literature prize Prix des Deux Magots, although this did not prevent the French authorities bringing obscenity charges against the publisher. The charges were rejected by the courts, but 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 (Return to Roissy , but often translated as Return to the Chateau ), 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 a shortening of the name Odile, it could also stand for "object" or "orifice," an O being a symbolic representation of any "hole."
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.
- Sadism and masochism in fiction
- 1975 in film
- Compare with Venus in Furs, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
- An obituary of Dominique Aury
- BBC article on the Story of O
- Observer article about Dominique Aury and the Story of O
- Story of O, the Series at the Internet Movie Database
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