1. Welcome to BookAndReader!

    We LOVE books and hope you'll join us in sharing your favorites and experiences along with your love of reading with our community. Registering for our site is free and easy, just CLICK HERE!

    Already a member and forgot your password? Click here.

Pauline Reage: The Story Of O

Discussion in 'Romance Books' started by paperapostle, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. paperapostle

    paperapostle New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The Informer - Akimitsu Takagi
    I was originally going to post this in the Romance section of Fiction, but I thought best not. A few years ago I was taking some health sciences courses at the local college, and there I had an amazing women as my Human Sexuality Professor. She recommended this book to me. I found it at the library in the romance section, but I since then I've thought it shouldn't really be in the romance section.

    The book was published out of seemingly nowhere, written by a women using the pen name Pauline Réage in 1954. It wasn't until just before her death, 40 years later, that Anne Desclos came out as the author (she also wrote under the name Dominique Aury). The novel deals with Dominance & Submission and Mater/Slave relationships, but in the way only a French writer of the era could, with a certain amount of class not seen in modern BDSM writing. Think of French villas, spiral stone staircases that lead down to dungeons, and mascaraed parties where there's nothing under the party guest's cloak.

    Whatever your feelings are on BDSM I believe there is something in this book for anyone who enjoys a novel with a well crafted landscape and an author with a panache for laying out a scene of intense, raw, human emotion.

    Has anyone else read this novella? What were your thoughts?
     
  2. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
    This sounds like an interesting read.This is not Romance,I think.:whistling:
     
  3. jaybe

    jaybe Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    3
    I read it years ago. I certainly don't remember it for the magnificent writing or wonderful story telling.:lol:

    I'm not saying it's badly put together or 'owt. Just that it's porn.
     
  4. paperapostle

    paperapostle New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The Informer - Akimitsu Takagi
    I think this would more aptly be labeled erotica than porn. It's certainly not romance, as the library would have us believe. I don't think you can just write it off altogether. I admit I am keen to praise it because I think the time in and circumstances under which it was published are culturally significant.

    Then again I could hold it in such high regard simply because it outlined some desires of my own :whistling:

    I'm sorry it didn't interest you, but I still recommend it to anyone who thinks it could be more than porn, more than a pulp.
     
  5. lenny nero

    lenny nero New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,474
    Likes Received:
    2
    Currently Reading:
    'Watch You Bleed' by Stephen Davis
  6. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie

    Have you read Anais Nin? I wasn't too crazy about it cause it was short stories and not a novel,but I will be getting this one and I also think it would be under "erotica". What is there to lose?:whistling: More insight into another world just like any book I would think,:innocent:

    Lenny,thanks for the links,,verra nice,they are in the Romance section that is why I never saw them.:D
     
  7. Dogmatix

    Dogmatix New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Messages:
    644
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear Walter Moers
    I found this book titillating:whistling:
     
  8. jaybe

    jaybe Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    3
    paperapostle said.

    'I think this would more aptly be labeled erotica than porn'.

    Now there's an interesting debate! What do you think is the difference?

    Is it just the correct use of semi-colons, words of more than two syllables and no rude pictures which upgrades or downgrades (depending on your personal taste) porn to erotica?
     
  9. paperapostle

    paperapostle New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The Informer - Akimitsu Takagi
    Porn is about sex. Erotica is about sexuality. A very thin line of distinction, I know, but that is how I see it. Possibly just semantics, but akin to the difference between "having sex" and "making love".

    I'm involved in the making of erotica (I pose for pin-ups and am a photographer as well, hoping to get into burlesque) but I would not be offended if someone were to call it pornography rather than erotica, I myself use the term. I've never had to defend what I do in a porn vs erotica debate, but I know I would do a poor job of defining the difference.
     
  10. Libra6Poe

    Libra6Poe New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,973
    Likes Received:
    2
    Currently Reading:
    Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein
    I loved Story of O! I find it so haunting. I read this a few years ago after Lenny recommended it to me. I have Writer of O, but haven't finished it.
    Erotic.
     
  11. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
    Me agree.:D
     
  12. Sybarite

    Sybarite New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    529
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    'Iron Kingdom' by Christopher Clark
    Porn is essentially working-class and erotica is middle and upper-class.

    You laugh? I'll explain a little further.

    The word 'pornography' is a very old one. It comes from the ancient Greek meaning, in essence, 'the writings of prostitutes'. Until the second half of the 19th century, it had no 'moral' baggage about it. But then two things happened.

    First, archeologists started uncovering Pompeii – and found lost of artifacts and frescos that portrayed sex and sexual matters. For instance, there were a number of statues of Priapus with suitably priapic erection. In the ancient Roman world of the time, these were often kept outside houses as good luck items – a little like horse shoes. But for the archeologists, they were shocking. Many didn't know what to do. Some paintings were defaced. But many others were removed, together with similar artifacts, and placed in a number of 'secret museums' across Europe. There was one at the British Museum – and some artifacts are still kept from the public.

    The theory was that seeing these things would corrupt the working class, women and children – and that these groups needed protecting. Respectable men, of course, could, on provision of a letter giving a respectable reason why, see the secret exhibits.

    The second thing that happened was the invention of photography. To paraphrase simply – one day someone invented the camera and the next day, someone took a rudey picture. Now, given that 'erotic' art had existed pretty much since people could paint or sculpt, the representation of the human body and of acts of sex could not, of itself, be the problem, surely? Well no. But only rich people could afford 'erotica' previously, and the camera democratised it, allowing the 'man in the street' to buy a saucy postcard for a penny.

    Only at that time – and this is traceable through dictionaries of the era – did 'pornography' take on a new definition, as something that was dangerous and had a power to corrupt.

    It's worth noting, from a British perspective, that the Victorian era was also obsessed in general about female sexuality and keeping women 'pure' – not least because of syphilis. This is a major theme of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula (which I'll be reviewing in due course).

    Ultimately, there's no other difference. Both seek to arouse. Porn just tends to be less coy about it.

    Literary porn has existed for years – the French are masters at it, including The Story of O. For anyone's who's interested, I've posted a couple of reviews of 'erotic' classics in recent months – Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye, Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Belle de Jour by Joseph Kessell.

    Literary porn also includes the Marquis de Sade and the books of Emmanuelle Arsan, which interweave philosophy and sex as perhaps only the French can.

    In my opinion, The Story of O is incredible – at least 70 or so pages of it are absolutely stunning. And its power is such that, for many years, many women in particular refused to believe that a woman could have written it. There were riots on US university campuses over it. And now, when some feminists still try to tell the rest of us how we should run our relationships and our sex lives, it remains a reminder of the diversity of female sexual experience and fantasy.

    I wrote The Story of O (Observer, 25 July 2004).
     
  13. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
    Those statues are still being sold in Greece.I don't think there is a souvenir shop that doesn't display them.
     
  14. Sybarite

    Sybarite New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    529
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    'Iron Kingdom' by Christopher Clark
    On the other hand, Pan and the Goat was kept hidden for years.

    And in the last couple of years, a photography developer in the UK refused to print a woman's pictures of a painting of Priapus from Pompeii that she'd taken on a visit there. Their employer supported them on the grounds that it was erotic material etc.
     
  15. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
    I read it over the holidays and I found it very entertaining,:innocent:much better then Anais Nin,
    but the severe whipping and branding scared me,lol.


    I just ordered Unhallowed Rites from Lenny's reviews,I will see how that goes.
     
  16. Libra6Poe

    Libra6Poe New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,973
    Likes Received:
    2
    Currently Reading:
    Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein
    Nin in general? Or something more specific?
    I find it hard to compare Story of O to something like Delta or Little Birds just because they're so different. One full length story vs short stories...
    I love all three. Delta more than Little Birds, but I couldn't compare the two to O.
     
  17. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
    I agree,from the three ,Story of O wins hands down.Have you read Unhallowed Rites ? and what did you think of it?
     
  18. Libra6Poe

    Libra6Poe New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,973
    Likes Received:
    2
    Currently Reading:
    Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein
    I actually like Delta of Venus more than I like O when it comes down to it (like, if I had to choose one of the two to take on a trip with me or some such situation). I think that my earlier post was worded a little weird. I meant that I don't think that they should be compared because they're so different (apples & oranges - different fruit, both delicious).

    I have not read Unhallowed Rites. The only other Lenny recommendation I've read since O (that I can think of right now) was Disciplining Jane and I posted about it in his Smutty Books thread.

    But please let us know what you think of it!
     
  19. Libra

    Libra New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    5,257
    Likes Received:
    4
    Currently Reading:
    Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombie
    Will do!
     

Share This Page