Story of O front cover

Story of O front cover

by Pauline Reage
Published in 1965 by Grove Press

I’m not much for fiction. I know lots of folks like fiction, but time spent reading about events that didn’t happen seems like time squandered to me.

Story of O is well established as a classic work of both modern literature and erotic writing. This is fine and well, but not reason enough to make me want to read it. That the book had a substantial impact on the evolving definition of obscenity in the US and represented a significant milestone in the history of erotic publishing did not sway me to put aside my aversion to fiction and read it. What piqued my interest and made me track down a copy so that I could wallow in the promised debauchery was reading feminist critiques of the book, written before true identity of the pseudonymous author was revealed, which claimed that the contents of the book were so misogynistic that the author could only be a man.

I am sure that anyone reading the site is probably familiar with the overall plot of Story of O, so I won’t rehash it here.

Because the book was originally written as a series of letters to a lover, there is a certain discontinuity to the prose, most notably at the book’s sudden and incomplete conclusion. Depsite this, Story of O is a captivating book and deservingly one of the foundational cornerstones of modern conceptions of BDSM.