August 13, 2020
STORY OF O
Story of O (1954) is a French erotic novel by Anne Desclos, under the pseudonym Pauline Réage. The book recounts the tale of O, a gorgeous Parisian photographer, who allows herself to be made a sexual slave to René, her lover. Over time she submits to other men and even lures other women into sexual slavery. Various endings exist. In one version she asks for permission to kill herself, which is granted. The sexuality described is various. The other actions include stripping, blindfolding, chaining and whipping. O’s anus is widened with plugs; her labia are pierced; and her buttocks are branded. Story of O won the Prix des Deux Magots, though the government also brought obscenity charges. The charges failed in court but the book was banned for several years. Several films, including The Story of Joanna, were inspired by the book. Guido Crepax created a graphic novel version.
The Story of O is a remarkable novel. Superbly written, it details the degradation of a person. Excuses are made for this evil. In the end I found the book repellent.