STORY OF O BY PAULINE REAGE PDF

adminComment(0)
    Contents:

The Story Of OAn erotic novel published in by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage, and published in French. Story of O—an erotic novel that shocked and aroused millions—was published in under the pseudonym Pauline Réage. Many readers suspected the book. This books (Story of O [PDF]) Made by Pauline Reage. Book details Author: Pauline Reage Pages: pages Publisher: North Star Line Language: English ISBN ISBN Gone Viking: The laugh out loud debut novel from the bestselling.


Story Of O By Pauline Reage Pdf

Author:CANDANCE WHITTENBERG
Language:English, Indonesian, Arabic
Country:Malawi
Genre:Religion
Pages:690
Published (Last):09.03.2016
ISBN:256-3-21245-658-9
ePub File Size:28.32 MB
PDF File Size:16.17 MB
Distribution:Free* [*Sign up for free]
Downloads:24529
Uploaded by: NICHOLAS

Pauline Reage's notorious novel Histoire d'O () was origi- nally written as a series of love letters to an absent lover. Every night for three months, parents. Story of O is an erotic novel published in by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage, .. Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. The notorious novel of dark obsession How far will a woman go to express her love? In this exquisite novel of passion and desire, the answer emerges.

These are the two defining axes of transgression, since a text's transgressiveness is measured both by the extent to which it manages to envelop the fictional subject in a system which appropriates her from herself, and by the extent to which it manages to 'pollute' the actual world - an effect which depends on its verisimilitude.

Beyond these distinctions there is, according to Sontag's defi- nitions, a fundamental difference in the mode of the two works.

Sontag observes two major patterns in pornography as a literary form: 'one equivalent to tragedy as in Story of O in which the erotic subject-victim heads inexorably toward death, and the other equivalent to comedy In comparison to Story of O the Beauty trilogy is definitely more of a comedy, and like all comedies it ends in marriage.

I wrote the story of O

While Story of O's ambiguous ending does not oblige us to assume O's death as most critics do, it certainly suggests it as a plausible resolution, and the gradual aggravation of the practices to which O is subjected, culminating in the permanent marking of her body, seems to trace a tragic trajectory. In contrast, Beauty's slavery is underscored by the knowledge of its temporariness and reversibility, no permanent mark is left on her body, and it is expected that at the end of the period she will re-assume her former social role.

Furthermore, while both works stress the emotional-spiritual component of sexual slavery and describe the gradual initiation into true submission as a process of learning and ascendance, in the Beauty trilogy the sensual aspect is much more emphasized. In Story of O there are only few references to O's own sexual pleasure or arousal - the idea of her humiliation and vulnerability seems to be of more importance to her.

Her masters too do not seem to be very concerned with her pleasure, and her sexual responsiveness is condemned by Sir Stephen as 'wantonness', as 'easy virtue' In the Beauty story, on the other hand, sexual responsiveness is cultivated and valued, and not for any practical purpose: the male slaves too are expected to maintain a This content downloaded from Sexual responsiveness in general, and to pain and ation in particular, is so highly valued that it is taught by training to those unable to achieve it by themselves.

It is also sign that while O is already a mature woman with a considerable history by the time she is taken to Roissy, Beauty is fifteen yea without any former sexual experience. For her, then, SM fu merely as an ultimate sexuality, the maximal enhancement o and pleasure, while for O the passage into this type of sexua chiefly emotional and spiritual significance: the shattering boundaries of personality, the flight from individual freedom.

A difference in the meaning of SM for the two protagonists, and in texts in general, makes for the 'tragic' mode of Story of O and th mode of the Beauty trilogy. One of the most conspicuous differences between the two concerns their representation of the relation between gender and Whereas in Story of 0 there is a clear alignment of the mast divide along the gender-division line,5 in the Beauty books there such evident correlation between the two factors.

Story of consistently been analysed in terms of this alignment; so much feminist critics like Susan Griffin and Kaja Silverman regard fundamentally male fantasy albeit spoken through a woman Griffin views the text as reflecting 'pornographic culture's denial female self , in fact, as an 'emblem of pornographic cu She regards the process that O undergoes in the course of as one of gradual physical and spiritual self-alienation and a hilation, and condemns sado-masochism in general for attemp divorce body and consciousness, thus reflecting male culture's at to divorce culture and nature and to conquer nature, symbolized woman who is 'animalized and separated from cultural power According to her formulation, then, SM is by definition a misog practice and is aimed against the female self.

Kaja Silverman d engage such an essentialist concept of a 'female self, but she, in regards the text as an allegory of the social construction of subjectivity through the inscription of meaning on the fema 'Histoire d'O is more than O's story. It is the history of the female - of the territorialization and inscription of a body whose involu internalization of a corresponding set of desires facilitates its co exploitation' Silverman offers an interesting interpr of the rules and practices to which O is subjected.

She groups th three types of operations: territorialization - the division of into functional zones 'in terms of phallic meaning' ; coloniza her subjection to a network of rules and prohibitions which med relation to her body, exclude her from the production of m through her imposed silence , and establish her subservience phallus and to the enunciating gaze of the male subject; and insc - the whipping marks on her body as signifiers for the power im upon her, which also make her readable as a masochistic subj This content downloaded from Silverman points out O's necessary function for her masters' participation in the network of power and in the 'discursive fellowship' represented by Roissy.

She also notes her mediating role in Rene and Sir Stephen's relationship, thus implicitly questioning the boundary between the homosocial and the homosexual.

The trouble with Silverman's compelling analysis is that it is coupled with an assumption of a unitary pornographic discursive fellowship which encompasses both the male characters of the text and the text itself as a discursive product. The confusion of these two ontological levels enables Silverman to conclude that the effect of the pornographic representation is analogous to the process of construction represented in the text itself, and to warn that this process will continue to epitomize the history of the female subject - 'until she succeeds not only in exercising discursive power, but in exercising it differently' , emphasis added.

This last remark can be understood to express Silverman's position in the pornography debate: a denial of special status to female-authored pornography and a view of pornogra- phy as an inherently oppressive arena of social construction.

While it is true that Story of O provides a symbolic representation of the construction of the female subject, and that this representation is eroticized, it is not necessary to assume that the effect on the reader is oppressive - not even when one 'collaborates' with the text and internalizes its eroticism.

In a sense, since the text exposes and dramatizes the hidden assumptions of patriarchal ideology, it facilitates their identification and even compels the reader to confront them.

More importantly, I believe that feminist theorizations of pornography need to re-examine the issue of female masochism. The hypothesis that I would like to propose is that female masochistic fantasy should be understood not as a product of construction, but as a reaction to construction.

Masochism is the trace of the gap between the female subject and the construct 'woman' which she assimilates. Fantasy enables the subject to relegate the insupportable ideas7 to a realm that is kept apart from the ordinary self, and in that way to affirm them and reject them simultaneously.

The unpleasant tension which these ideas arouse is translated to sexual arousal, yet this does not mean that they are thereby unproblematically assimilated. The masochistic component of the fantasy attests to the contrary: the pain and humiliation scripted by the fantasy are a transposition of the psychic pain caused by these ideas and indicate the ongoing resistance to them. As a form of representation, female masochistic fantasy retains the tension at its base, and hence cannot be reasonably said to 'promote' the objectifi- cation it depicts.

This, of course, is not to say that we should advocate This content downloaded from The Beauty story does not from the outset pose the same problems or lend itself to analysis along the same lines, since it offers a far more flexible and pluralistic vision of sexuality. Indeed, taken at face value, it seems almost to offer the impossible: a politically correct SM fantasy.

In particular, the work does not problematize gender relations: its main erotic force does not hinge on the power differential between women and men. The slaves in the Queen's Court are both female and male, and so are their masters.

Yet if we examine the gender-power correlation more closely, we find that it is neither completely negligible nor that different from the traditional one. The kingdom is indeed run by a woman, but that is only due to the late king's decease; the women of the Court possess male pleasure-slaves, but among the laity women seem to take only a secondary, accessory role in regard to the slaves: when Prince Alexi is sent to the kitchen as punishment, those are primarily the men who torment and abuse him, and when a woman does partake of these amusements, it is through the mediation of a man.

Unlike Story of 0, then, where we have a simple relation between gender and power, here the gender factor interacts with the class factor to produce a more complex pattern. One commoner who does possess slaves and interact with them directly is Mistress Lockley, the village innkeeper in Beauty's Pun- ishment. Yet, though she has complete authority over her slaves, the nature of her relation to them is ambiguous since she keeps them not only for her own pleasure and as a subsidiary labour force, but, perhaps chiefly, for commercial puposes, as erotic entertainment for her guests mostly men.

Even though she enjoys her slaves sexually, she has no exclusive sexual possession of them, and their function as status and power markers is compromised by this fact. Since she employs her slaves as a commodity in a commercial exchange, she does not have unlimited access to them, and therefore does not enjoy the authority and ownership of a true proprietor. In this, we find the traces of the familiar norms linking gender and class: since women are deemed unable to 'possess' others sexually and capable only of being possessed, their own sexuality and that of others has no use value for them - only exchange value.

Therefore, if they wish to rise above the status of commodity, they may do so only by becoming sexual traders - sexual proprietors they can never be. A related issue which a closer examination of the text reveals as problematic is the issue of female desire.

Even when women in th do practice erotic domination, as the Court ladies do, the scenes w they conduct differ significantly from those conducted by men. W Queen and Lady Juliana engage Beauty in a session of spanking, w ping and fetching games, these practices, though accompanied by festations of desire on both sides, strangely lack sexual consumm This content downloaded from A similar pattern emerges also with male slaves: the queen is more prone to have Prince Alexi fellate other slaves than to use him for her own pleasure, and Lady Elvira is usually satisfied simply to watch Laurent chase and mount female slaves in the garden.

Both women are described as 'cold'. It seems, then, that the text finds it hard to portray a combination of female sadism and female sexual responsiveness, that in its underlying female psychology the two more plausible female types are the voluptuous masochist and the cold sadist. An exception to this rule we find, once more, in Mistress Lockley, who does take Beauty and another male slave to her bed and allow them to gratify her.

Yet, this exception is attributable to her class: as a commoner, she falls under the type of the 'natural' countrywoman whose voluptuousness is part of her lower nature. Moreover, the scene still differs from the analogous male-dominated ones in two respects: it does not incorporate or immediately follow torture or abuse in the reading sequence, three chapters separate 'Mistress Lockley's Discipline' from 'Mistress Lock- ley's Affections' , and the sexual interaction itself is surprisingly egalitarian and almost devoid of any manifestations of power.

All in all, it is hard to avoid the sense that according to the work's implicit assumptions, while female sadism is sexy, female sexuality is not quite reconcilable with sexual dominance and sexual aggression.

One of the seemingly most progressive aspects of the Beauty trilogy is its total assimilation of same-sex desire. The text abounds with male-male desire, and does not at any point problematize same- desire in general. The writer's true identity was not revealed until 10 years ago, when, in an interview with John de St Jorre, a British journalist and some-time foreign correspondent of The Observer, an impeccably dressed year-old intellectual called Dominique Aury acknowledged that the fantasies of castles, masks and debauchery were hers.

Aury was an eminent figure in literary France, and had been when she wrote the book at the age of She could scarcely have been more highbrow, nor, according to de St Jorre, more quietly and soberly dressed, more 'nun-like'.

The French state has not always had an easy relationship with Story of O, but, this year, the government has announced it is to be included on a list of national triumphs to be celebrated in Dominique Aury died, aged 90, in , but many people who knew her well are still alive and a number feature in a fascinating and, as yet, unseen documentary about the book and the secrecy that for so long surrounded it, made by an American film-maker, Pola Rapaport.

It turns out that Story of O has had considerable influence. In the s, such a book could arguably only have been written in France. It would certainly never have been published in England or the United States, both of which were in the grip of censorship laws. Now, of course, women are expected to write about their fantasies and what they get up to, and they do it with enthusiasm: this month sees the publication of One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bedtime, by 'Melissa P', who, we are told, is a year-old Sicilian girl with a taste for blindfold sex with several men at once.

Navigation menu

We've had swinger-sex from Catherine Millett and pensioner sex from Jane Juska, who advertised in the New York Review of Books for men who would also throw in some conversation about Trollope. The burnings of Story of O by American campus feminists in the s have, it seems, had a less enduring and subversive effect than the book itself. But first things first.

Story of O is not a book to read on the bus - or not the first 60 pages, anyway, which are written with an almost hallucinatory, erotic intensity that you would have to be rather peculiar not to be left hot and bothered by. Here, she is initiated into a secret society with complicated rules: she is not to look any man in the eye nor speak to any of the other women.

She must wear a corseted dress that exposes her breasts, a leather collar and cuffs. Any man may dispose of her as he wishes. O welcomes all this, understanding that the harsher the treat ments she endures, the more she proves her love. These are the pages that, in a third-person account written nearly 20 years later, the author described herself writing at night, 'lying on her side with her feet tucked up under her, a soft black pencil in her right hand For the first time in her life, she was writing without hesitation, without stopping, rewriting or discarding; she was writing the way one breathes, or dreams She wrote it as a dare, a challenge and an enterprise de seduction for her lover, Jean Paulhan.

Probably, they were first introduced by her father, in the hope that she might solicit Paulhan's aid in publishing the volume of 17th-century devotional poetry she had collected.

She did, and it was. Paulhan was a towering literary figure, handsome in an imperious way, with features that most readily expressed amusement and disdain. In film footage from , when she was 81, and which she stipulated was not to be shown until after her death, Aury remembers him as 'tall, broad-shouldered, somewhat heavy-set, with a Roman-like face, and something both smiling and sarcastic in his expression'.

Nearly two decades after his death, her eyes had a faraway look when she talked about him. The atrocious fascinated him.

The enchanting enchanted him. Dominique Aury once boasted that she had read all of Proust every year for five consecutive years. Novelist and cultural critic Regine Desforges, who became Aury's friend and who interviewed 'Pauline Reage' in , publishing the conversation as 'O m'a Dit, Confessions of O' remembers: 'Dominique Aury was fascinated by intelligence. The intelligence of Paulhan was obvious.

And for her it became a kind of obsession. Jean Paulhan, a generation older than Dominique Aury, and in his early sixties when she wrote Story of O, was married twice. The first alliance produced a son; the second, to Germaine Dauptain, was overshadowed by her long illness with Parkinson's disease she was already an invalid when he met Dominique Aury, although she would outlive him by four years. Jacqueline Paulhan, who married his son, told me that in addition to his long relationship with Dominique, there were also other women: 'My father-in-law was quite the ladies' man.

Well aware of his liking for erotic literature he had written a preface to de Sade's Days of Sodom , she said she thought she could do something similar. Paulhan was dismissive: erotica wasn't a thing women were capable of. In the footage, licensed by Rapaport to show in her documentary, she explained: 'I wrote it alone, for him, to interest him, to please him, to occupy him.

I wasn't young, nor particularly pretty. I needed something which might interest a man like him. Aury admitted that after the initial explosive burst of energy, the writing slowed, and you can tell. Story of consistently been analysed in terms of this alignment; so much feminist critics like Susan Griffin and Kaja Silverman regard fundamentally male fantasy albeit spoken through a woman Griffin views the text as reflecting 'pornographic culture's denial female self , in fact, as an 'emblem of pornographic cu She regards the process that O undergoes in the course of as one of gradual physical and spiritual self-alienation and a hilation, and condemns sado-masochism in general for attemp divorce body and consciousness, thus reflecting male culture's at to divorce culture and nature and to conquer nature, symbolized woman who is 'animalized and separated from cultural power According to her formulation, then, SM is by definition a misog practice and is aimed against the female self.

Kaja Silverman d engage such an essentialist concept of a 'female self, but she, in regards the text as an allegory of the social construction of subjectivity through the inscription of meaning on the fema 'Histoire d'O is more than O's story. It is the history of the female - of the territorialization and inscription of a body whose involu internalization of a corresponding set of desires facilitates its co exploitation' Silverman offers an interesting interpr of the rules and practices to which O is subjected.

She groups th three types of operations: territorialization - the division of into functional zones 'in terms of phallic meaning' ; coloniza her subjection to a network of rules and prohibitions which med relation to her body, exclude her from the production of m through her imposed silence , and establish her subservience phallus and to the enunciating gaze of the male subject; and insc - the whipping marks on her body as signifiers for the power im upon her, which also make her readable as a masochistic subj This content downloaded from Silverman points out O's necessary function for her masters' participation in the network of power and in the 'discursive fellowship' represented by Roissy.

She also notes her mediating role in Rene and Sir Stephen's relationship, thus implicitly questioning the boundary between the homosocial and the homosexual. The trouble with Silverman's compelling analysis is that it is coupled with an assumption of a unitary pornographic discursive fellowship which encompasses both the male characters of the text and the text itself as a discursive product.

The confusion of these two ontological levels enables Silverman to conclude that the effect of the pornographic representation is analogous to the process of construction represented in the text itself, and to warn that this process will continue to epitomize the history of the female subject - 'until she succeeds not only in exercising discursive power, but in exercising it differently' , emphasis added.

This last remark can be understood to express Silverman's position in the pornography debate: a denial of special status to female-authored pornography and a view of pornogra- phy as an inherently oppressive arena of social construction. While it is true that Story of O provides a symbolic representation of the construction of the female subject, and that this representation is eroticized, it is not necessary to assume that the effect on the reader is oppressive - not even when one 'collaborates' with the text and internalizes its eroticism.

In a sense, since the text exposes and dramatizes the hidden assumptions of patriarchal ideology, it facilitates their identification and even compels the reader to confront them. More importantly, I believe that feminist theorizations of pornography need to re-examine the issue of female masochism.

The hypothesis that I would like to propose is that female masochistic fantasy should be understood not as a product of construction, but as a reaction to construction.

Masochism is the trace of the gap between the female subject and the construct 'woman' which she assimilates. Fantasy enables the subject to relegate the insupportable ideas7 to a realm that is kept apart from the ordinary self, and in that way to affirm them and reject them simultaneously. The unpleasant tension which these ideas arouse is translated to sexual arousal, yet this does not mean that they are thereby unproblematically assimilated. The masochistic component of the fantasy attests to the contrary: the pain and humiliation scripted by the fantasy are a transposition of the psychic pain caused by these ideas and indicate the ongoing resistance to them.

As a form of representation, female masochistic fantasy retains the tension at its base, and hence cannot be reasonably said to 'promote' the objectifi- cation it depicts. This, of course, is not to say that we should advocate This content downloaded from The Beauty story does not from the outset pose the same problems or lend itself to analysis along the same lines, since it offers a far more flexible and pluralistic vision of sexuality.

Indeed, taken at face value, it seems almost to offer the impossible: a politically correct SM fantasy. In particular, the work does not problematize gender relations: its main erotic force does not hinge on the power differential between women and men. The slaves in the Queen's Court are both female and male, and so are their masters. Yet if we examine the gender-power correlation more closely, we find that it is neither completely negligible nor that different from the traditional one.

The kingdom is indeed run by a woman, but that is only due to the late king's decease; the women of the Court possess male pleasure-slaves, but among the laity women seem to take only a secondary, accessory role in regard to the slaves: when Prince Alexi is sent to the kitchen as punishment, those are primarily the men who torment and abuse him, and when a woman does partake of these amusements, it is through the mediation of a man.

Story of O

Unlike Story of 0, then, where we have a simple relation between gender and power, here the gender factor interacts with the class factor to produce a more complex pattern. One commoner who does possess slaves and interact with them directly is Mistress Lockley, the village innkeeper in Beauty's Pun- ishment. Yet, though she has complete authority over her slaves, the nature of her relation to them is ambiguous since she keeps them not only for her own pleasure and as a subsidiary labour force, but, perhaps chiefly, for commercial puposes, as erotic entertainment for her guests mostly men.

Even though she enjoys her slaves sexually, she has no exclusive sexual possession of them, and their function as status and power markers is compromised by this fact. Since she employs her slaves as a commodity in a commercial exchange, she does not have unlimited access to them, and therefore does not enjoy the authority and ownership of a true proprietor.

In this, we find the traces of the familiar norms linking gender and class: since women are deemed unable to 'possess' others sexually and capable only of being possessed, their own sexuality and that of others has no use value for them - only exchange value.

Therefore, if they wish to rise above the status of commodity, they may do so only by becoming sexual traders - sexual proprietors they can never be.

A related issue which a closer examination of the text reveals as problematic is the issue of female desire. Even when women in th do practice erotic domination, as the Court ladies do, the scenes w they conduct differ significantly from those conducted by men. W Queen and Lady Juliana engage Beauty in a session of spanking, w ping and fetching games, these practices, though accompanied by festations of desire on both sides, strangely lack sexual consumm This content downloaded from A similar pattern emerges also with male slaves: the queen is more prone to have Prince Alexi fellate other slaves than to use him for her own pleasure, and Lady Elvira is usually satisfied simply to watch Laurent chase and mount female slaves in the garden.

Both women are described as 'cold'.

It seems, then, that the text finds it hard to portray a combination of female sadism and female sexual responsiveness, that in its underlying female psychology the two more plausible female types are the voluptuous masochist and the cold sadist. An exception to this rule we find, once more, in Mistress Lockley, who does take Beauty and another male slave to her bed and allow them to gratify her.

Yet, this exception is attributable to her class: as a commoner, she falls under the type of the 'natural' countrywoman whose voluptuousness is part of her lower nature. Moreover, the scene still differs from the analogous male-dominated ones in two respects: it does not incorporate or immediately follow torture or abuse in the reading sequence, three chapters separate 'Mistress Lockley's Discipline' from 'Mistress Lock- ley's Affections' , and the sexual interaction itself is surprisingly egalitarian and almost devoid of any manifestations of power.

All in all, it is hard to avoid the sense that according to the work's implicit assumptions, while female sadism is sexy, female sexuality is not quite reconcilable with sexual dominance and sexual aggression. One of the seemingly most progressive aspects of the Beauty trilogy is its total assimilation of same-sex desire.

The text abounds with male-male desire, and does not at any point problematize same- desire in general. There is nowhere a question of the legitimacy same-sex desire, and nowhere are same-sex and cross-sex desire seen mutually exclusive or conflicting. The sexual ideology which the projects proposes that different people may indeed have differ preferences in terms of their sexual objects and the type of role and acts they incline toward, but these preferences do not carry an significative weight and are, at any rate, quite fluid and liable to chan This ideology is immanently linked to the structural requirement the text as an SM narrative, since the movement of the plot is that of gradual enhancement of the scope of desire, at least for the slaves, w are initiated not only into ever-new practices but into ever-new desi However, there is a significant gap between the fiction's ideology it may be extrapolated from the text along the lines of what it does proscribe or label and its social reality the actual assignation of des to individuals , since female-female desire is far less prevalent t either male-female or male-male desire.

Furthermore, there is no instance in the text of a woman possessing a female slave on a long-term non-commercial basis, and the one major instance of female-female desire, Beauty's affair with Inanna, the Sultan's wife, in the third volume, is totally egalitarian and devoid of power play.

Interestingl this affair is given an exceptionally political context. In Inanna, B first encounters and is horrified by the fact of clitoridectomy, arouses in her feelings that in contemporary feminist language c defined as 'rage' and 'sisterhood'. This is the only point in the text any one at all experiences a political reaction to socio-sexual ar ments, and it certainly opens up a new dimension in the tex situating Beauty in a conflict between her sexuality as it ha constructed, founded on total unquestioning obedience and love f master qua master, and her nascent political awareness which tak form of hatred for the Sultan as the embodiment of the patriarch of a singular outburst of generalized hatred for men: 'nothing left portal that the man might enjoy.

The filthy, selfish beast, the a Roquelaure, For Beauty in this situation, giving an woman an orgasm is a political act, and it is interesting how half-formed understanding of it echoes similar formulations by le feminists like Joan Nestle.

Beauty grieves over her friend for a while, but then, as her former lover re-accustoms her to the pleasures of submission and heterosexuality, she resigns herself to merely wishing that Inanna would find another woman with whom to practice this subversive sexuality. This is hardly a satisfactory resolution, and it sends us right back to the question at the heart of the SM debate: are feminist politics and erotic domination reconcilable?

As as a full-time slave, Beauty is not a free agent and cannot act as a political person. Had she decided to act politically and been able to do so, she would have had to give up her former sexuality. She would also have left the realm of pornography, since she would have ceased to exist as a primarily sexual being. By creating this conflict for Beauty and leaving it unresolved, the text exposes its own limits.

It brings into contact a pornographic construction and a feminist construction of the same social institution, the harem, causing their inevitable clash, only to show that eroticizing oppression and politicizing it are two distinct reactions that may not co-exist on the same psychological or artistic plane.Although one cannot deny that Roissy represents, as Silverman claims, the privileged male 'discursive fellowship', still within the fictional world itself it is a circumscribed social system and to a significant degree transgressive, in so far that its rules and modes of interaction counter those prescribed in outer society - even though they may symbolically represent them.

The two works display in this point a clear affiliation to th social theory of their time, and the difference in their conceptualization of desire reflects the development in social theory in the three decades separating them, a development attributable mainly to the combined influence of feminism and poststructuralism, as well as to the creation of social alternatives to conventional gender arrangements. The kingdom is indeed run by a woman, but that is only due to the late king's decease; the women of the Court possess male pleasure-slaves, but among the laity women seem to take only a secondary, accessory role in regard to the slaves: when Prince Alexi is sent to the kitchen as punishment, those are primarily the men who torment and abuse him, and when a woman does partake of these amusements, it is through the mediation of a man.

This book was written about how Story of O was written. Thus, in Story of 0, masochism as the internalization of the victim status allows women to gain sexual subjectivity, and the work's essentialist notions of gender consolidate this subjectivity into a logically distinct and stable sexual identity. Another major 'practical' concern is the extent to which SM may be incorporated into a 'normal' functioning life. In Story of 0 this is achieved through enclosure, and as both Sontag and Kaja Silverman note, Reage follows in this a Sadean tradition.