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Pauline Réage

Pauline RéageAKA Anne Desclos

Born: 23-Sep-1907
Birthplace: Rochefort-sur-Mer, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes, France
Died: 27-Apr-1998
Location of death: Corbeil-Essonnes, Île-de-France, near Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Histoire d'O

Already publishing articles under the pen name of Dominique Aury in 1946, she wrote the story Histoire d'O, translated Story of O, in response to the Marquis de Sade's remark that "women are incapable of writing an erotic novel" -- a remark which her then-lover and employer Jean Paulhan encouraged her to prove wrong. The novel was published in June 1953 by Olympia Press, the same publishing house which would later publish Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. The book's outrageous sexual content led the French goverment to ban it in 1955, charging her publisher and its anonymous author with obscenity. Remarkably, Réage's identity remained a secret until 1994, when The New Yorker published a formal interview with her in which she admitted to having written Histoire d'O. The novel was adapted for the screen in 1975.

Some aspects of the plot, in particular the woman arriving nude to a masked ball save but her owl mask, were based on the life of surrealist Leonor Fini, who supposedly arrived to a surrealist ball thrown by Tristan Tzara in such an attire.

Boyfriend: Jean Paulhan (editor, Nouvelle Journal Française; b. circa 1887, his mistress 1938 onward, d. 1968)
Husband: (married, one child)

    Obscenity March 1955, charges dropped 1959
    Nouvelle Journal Française
    French Legion of Honor

Author of books:
Histoire d'O (Jun-1953, erotica, trans. Story of O)
Retour à Roissy (1967, erotica, trans. Return to Roissy)


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