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Friday, February 05, 2016

Story of 0(1954) by Pauline Reage

Story of O is the obvious inspiration for recent pop culture phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey 

Book Review
Story of 0(1954)
 by Pauline Reage

   Before there was Fifty Shade of Grey there was  Story of O, the original work of erotic fiction focused on the pleasures of being a submissive woman.  It is worth noting that BDSM depictions in literature go back centuries, most notably in the work of the Marquis de Sade, an 18th century author. Unlike de Sade, Story of O places the experience of the woman at the center of the narrative.  O is a very willing participant in the S&M activities of Story of 0.

  Certainly most if not all of the shock value contained in the pages of Story of O has been depleted by the "pornification" of our culture and the mainstream success of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Activities that were considered beyond the pale by mid-century standards (anal sex, group sex, oral sex) are almost vanilla by today's standards, leaving behind the sketch of a S&M love affair.   The library copy I checked out had a never-before-seen, "Keep behind the Counter" sticker on the binding, proof that the library system holds back "dangerous" books from the public.

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