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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paperback Cover Cavalcade 16: Emmanuelle and O

"Pauline Réage" and "Emmanuelle Arsan"

Two of the most famous creators of erotic literature are Pauline Réage and Emmanuelle Arsan. Anne Cécile Desclos (1907-1998) penned the notorious Histoire d'O after a remark by her lover Jean Paulhan, who said that women were incapable of writing erotic novels. Paulhan, a critic who had revived La Nouvelle Revue Française, worked for Éditions Gallimard where Desclos was a secretary and (as Dominique Aury) author. Desclos rose to the challenge by writing Histoire d'O, a controversial, graphic novel of sadomasochism which won a French literary prize, the Prix des Deux Magots, but was soon after branded as obscene in its native France. The case was eventually thrown out but a ban on publicising the book existed until 1967.

A sequel, Retour à Roissy, was published in 1969 as by Pauline Réage, but according to Angie David's Dominique Aury: La vie secrete de l'auteur d'Histoire d'O (2006), this was not the work of Anne Declos, although it was published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, who had published the original in 1954.

The fact that Desclos was the author remained a secret even with the publication (by Pauvert again) of Régine Deforges' O m'a dit, Entretiens avec Pauline Réage [O told me, Conversations with Pauline Réage] (1975); it was not until 1994 and the publication of an interview in The New Yorker that 'Aury' was outed as the author behind Pauline Réage.

Emmanuelle Arsan was also a pen-name. For many years it was thought to be the pseudonym of Marayat Rollet-Andriane, born Marayat Bibidh in Bangkok in 1932, who had married French diplomat Louis-Jacques Rollet-Andriane in 1956. The novel, Emmanuelle, originally appeared anonymously in 1959, although subsequent editions were credited to Emmanuelle Arsan. A sequel appeared in 1960 – Emmanuelle L'Anti-vierge – from the same publisher, Eric Losfeld, who reissued both books in the 1967-68 under the imprint Le Terrain Vague, along with a new volume Emmanuelle: Nouvelles de l'érosphère (1969).

Marayat Andriane had a brief career as an actress, appearing as Maily in the Steve McQueen movie The Sand Pebbles (1966) and in an episode the American TV series The Big Valley (1967). Her movie career did not take off; however, the Emmanuelle novels did when, in the 1970s, they were filmed as Emmanuelle (1974), Emmanuelle: L'Antivierge (1975) and Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977) starring Sylvia Kristel. (An earlier Italian movie, Io, Emmanuelle (1969) starred Erika Blanc in the title role.)

New books continued to appear from the pen of Emmanuelle Arsan, including Laure (1976), Néa (1976) and Vanna (1979). In 1976, Maryat appeared in the film version of Laure (a.k.a. Forever Emmanuelle), supposedly also scripting and directing the film. However, producer Ovidio G. Assonitis subsequently admitted that it was her husband, Louis-Jacques Rollet-Andriane, who directed the movie and who wrote the novel from which the screenplay was developed. By now, it seems, it was widely known (at least in the French film industry) that the true author behind the books was Louis-Jacques, and Marayat was a front, appearing in Laure as Emmanuelle Arsan to continue the myth that she was the author of the (semi-autobiographical) books.

Story of O by Pauline Réage
Corgi Books 0552-08930-3, 1972, 173pp, 50p.
"Story of O – notorious as an underground novel, remarkable as a rare instance of portnography sublimed to purest art – appeared first under mysterious circumstances in 1954 . . . Story of O is neither a fantasy nor a case history. With its alternate beginnings and endings; its simple direct style (like that of a fable); its curious air of abstraction, of independence from time, place and personality, what it resembles most is a legend – the spiritual history of a saint and martyr . . . Commencing with the simplest of situations, the story gradually opens out into a Daedalian maze of perverse relationships – a clandestine society of sinister formatlity and elegance where the primary bond is mutual complicity in dedication to teh pleasures of sadism and masochism..." – New York Times Book Review.
"A remarkable piece of work" – Harold Pinter.
"I do believe Pauline Réage has confounded all her critics and made pornography (if that is what it is) an art" – Brian Aldiss.
"A highly literary and imaginative work, the brilliance of whose style leaves one in no doubt whatever of the author's genius . . . a profoundly disturbing book, as well as a black tour-de-force" – Spectator.
"The style is cool, terse, with a remarkable paucity of expression: each scene is managed with highly professional skill and variations of pace; the descriptions – of clothes, of rooms – are vivid and excellent" – Sunday Times.
"Cool, cruel, formalistic fantasy about a woman subjected – at the price of the great love of her life – to the gamut of sado-masochistic urges" – Birmingham Post.
"Here all kinds of terrors await us, but like a baby taking its mother's milk all pains are assuaged. Touched by the magic of love, everything is transformed. Story of O is a deeply moral homily" – J. G. Ballard.
Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan
Mayflower 0583-12573-5, 1975, 190pp.

"Emmanuelle Arsan is the pseudonym of a beautiful young Eurasian, Maryat Rollet-Andriance, the wife of a member of the French delegation at UNESCO who had previously served at a diplomatic post in Bangkok. Her frank, liberated view of the human sexual impulse has brought her international fame and has turned her into a controversial figure on both sides of the Atlantic. At the time she completed Emmanuelle II she also addressed an "Open Letter to Pope Paul VI Concerning 'The Pill'" which caused a great deal of controversy in the French press.
__"Distinguished critic Francoise Giroud of L'Express wrote of her that she "preaches the 'erotic revolution' as seriously as others preach in today's China 'the cultural revolution'." The best-selling Emmanuelle novels have been turned into films that have broken box-office records all over the world and set new standards for the erotic cinema."

The Further Experiences of Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan
Mayflower 0583-12574-3, 1976, 270pp, 80p.
---- [2nd imp.] 1976; [3rd imp.] 1976; [4th imp.] 1976; [5th imp.] 1976; [6th imp.] 1977; [7th imp.] 1977; [8th imp.] 1977; [9th imp.] 1978; [10th imp.] 1978; [11th imp.] 1979; [12th imp.] 1979; [13th imp.] 1980; [14th imp.] 1981; [15th imp.] 1982; [16th imp.] 1982
Panther Books [17th imp.] 1984, 270pp, £1.95.
The first Emmanuelle – shameless, shocking and frankly sexual – fired the public imagination both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Now comes its eagerly awaited sequel, as scandalous and sensual as its predecessor. Few novels have ever managed to push a philosophy of eroticism to the frontiers of myth. The further experiences of Emmanuelle does just that.
Carry On Emmannuelle by Lance Peters
Arrow Books 0099-18220-3, 1978, 191pp, 75p.
For Emmannuelle, wife of Emile Prevert, the puny, weight-lifting French Ambassador to London, sex is like an English cup of tea – to be enjoyed twenty-four hours a day.
__Aided and abetted by her faithful Embassy staff – Loins the butler, Leyland the chauffeur and Mrs Dangle the only sexagenarian sexpot – Emmannuelle seeks to spread warmth and lust throughout the British establishment...
__Nelson's column takes on a new look . . . The Guards forget their duty . . . Wimbledon is treated to some expert 'ball control' . . . and for the first time in soccer history the entire Manchester team score, again and again...
Lance Peters also wrote the screenplay for Carry On Emmannuelle (note the spelling). A New Zealander, Peters (Peter Lichtenstein, 1934-2007) wrote primarily for television and film and, according to IMDB, had seven published novels in the 1980s-90s and had "5 more in the works". My question is... what was the seventh? I've found the following: Carry on Emmannuelle (1978), The Dirty Half-Mile (London, Mayflower, 1981), The Red-Collar Gang (London, Mayflower, 1982), Cut-Throat Alley (London, Granada, 1982), The Civilian War Zone (North Ryde, NSW, Angus & Robertston, 1988) and Gross Misconduct (Sydney, Pan Macmillan, 1993).

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