Reading (Story of) O


Emmanuelle Waeckerlé

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ISBN 978 1 910010 07 5
208pp, 234 x 142
paperback with flaps
2015, £12.00

The famous erotic novel Story of O began as a series of love letters written by Anne Cécile Desclos to her lover Jean Paulhan. It was first published in French in 1954, under the pen name Pauline Réage, and the official English translation appeared in 1965.

Fifty years later Reading (Story of) O reprints, in parallel, both English and French versions in a graphic reworking of the original story. In doing so Emmanuelle Waeckerlé attempts to navigate a passage through this difficult literary work and its notorious yet little known history. She offers a few simple strategies and choices for reading—alone or with others, in private or to an audience. Waeckerlé includes three further texts: (Reading) O, (Story of) A, and (Story of) E, describing a path as if through her own story, from A to O to E to you… does a story ever end?

Emmanuelle Waeckerlé was born in Morocco and now lives in London. She is a Reader in Photography and relational practices at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, and director of bookRoom press. Between 2007 and 2014 she was part of the small team running the Centre des Livres d’Artistes at Saint Yrieix la Perche in France. Her interest lies in the parallel histories and practices of the artists’ book and the photobook, and in publishing as a critical and collaborative venture. Her works and performances explore language and the related issues of place and identity, the limitations of translation and the poetics of survival and resistance.