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Olympia Press was a Paris-based publisher, launched in 1953 by Maurice Girodias as a rebranded version of the Obelisk Press he inherited from his father Jack Kahane. It published a mix of erotic fiction and avant-garde literary fiction, and is best known for the first print of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita .
It specialized in books which could not be published (without legal action) in the English-speaking world, and correctly assumed that the French, who were unable to read the books, and were more sexually tolerant, would leave them alone. They were books to buy if your travels took you through Paris.
Precisely 94 Olympia Press publications were promoted and packaged as "Traveller's Companion" books, usually with simple text-only covers, and each book in the series was numbered. The "Ophelia Press" line of erotica was far larger, using the same design, but pink covers instead of green.
Olympia Press was the first publisher willing to print William S. Burroughs's avant-garde, sexually explicit Naked Lunch , which soon became famous. Other notable works included J. P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man ; Samuel Beckett's French trilogy Molloy , Malone Dies , and The Unnamable ; Henry Miller's trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, consisting of Sexus, Nexus and Plexus; A Tale of Satisfied Desire by Georges Bataille; Story of O by Pauline Réage; Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg's Candy ; Alex Austin's The Blue Guitar and Eleanore; and a critical book on Scientology, Inside Scientology/Dianetics by Robert Kaufman. The South African poet Sinclair Beiles was an editor at the publisher. Other authors included Alexander Trocchi, Iris Owens (Harriet Daimler) and John Stevenson (Marcus Van Heller).
Girodias had troubled dealings with his authors including copyright issues; Nabokov was not satisfied with the publisher and its reputation, and another long-running dispute over the rights to The Ginger Man ended with Donleavy's then-wife Mary buying out Girodias at what was intended to be a closed auction. Having to leave France because he managed to annoy powerful people, Girodias briefly reestablished Olympia Press in New York in the 1960s, and in London in the early 1970s.
Grove Press in the U.S. would later print The Olympia Reader, a best-selling anthology containing material from some of Olympia's most popular works, including material by Burroughs, Miller, Trocchi and others. Another well-known collection was The Best of Olympia, first published by the Olympia Press in 1963 and reprinted by New English Library in 1966.
Other incarnations of the company, some with Girodias' support, emerged in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Olympia Press has been re-established and is currently operating out of Washington, London, and Frankfurt.
|1||The Enormous Bed||Henry Jones (pseudonym for John Coleman)|
|2||Rape||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|3||School for Sin||Frances Lengel (pseudonym for Alexander Trocchi)|
|4||The Libertine||Robert Desmond|
|5||Play This Love With Me||Willie Baron (pseudonym for Baird Bryant)|
|6||Tender Was My Flesh||Winifred Drake|
|7||The Ginger Man||J. P. Donleavy|
|8||An Adult's Story||Robert Desmond|
|9||The Whip Angels||XXX (Dianne Bataille)|
|10||What Frank Harris Did Not Say||Alexander Trocchi|
|11||The Loins of Amon||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|12||The Chariot of Flesh||Malcolm Nesbit|
|13||The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe||Humphrey Richardson|
|14||White Thighs||Alexander Trocchi|
|15||Rogue Women||Nicholas Cutter|
|16||With Open Mouth||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|17||Fanny Hill||John Cleland|
|18||How to Do It||Gustav Landshot|
|20||The Small Rooms of Paris||Ezra de Richarnaud|
|21||Until She Screams||Mason Hoffenberg|
|22||The Itch||Steven Hammer|
|23||Roman Orgy||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|24||Heaven, hell and the whore||Robert Desmond|
|26||Who Pushed Paula?||Akbar Del Piombo|
|27||Skirts||Akbar Del Piombo|
|28||Sarabande for a bitch||Mickey Dikes|
|29||Helen and Desire||Alexander Trocchi|
|30||Cruel Lips||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|31||Kama Houri||Ataullah Mardaan|
|32||The Pleasure Thieves||Harriet Daimler|
|34||Cosimo's Wife||Akbar Del Piombo|
|35||The Wantons||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|36||Our Lady of the Flowers||Jean Genet|
|37||The House of Borgia||Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)|
|38||Flesh and Blood||Anna Winter|
|40||The Organization||Harriet Daimler|
|41||A Gallery of Nudes||Hume Parkinson|
|42||Deva Dasi||Ataullah Mardaan|
|43||The Double Bellied Companion||Akbar Del Piombo|
|44||The Story of O||Pauline Reage|
|45||Pearls of the Rainbow||Robert Desmond|
|46||Sin For Breakfast||Hamilton Drake|
|47||The world of sex||Henry Miller|
|48||Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery||John Wilmot|
|49||The Bedroom Philosophers||D.A.F. de Sade (Marquis de Sade)|
|50||120 Days of Sodom||Marquis de Sade|
|51||The White Book||Jean Cocteau|
|52||Juliette Part 1||Marquis de Sade|
|53||Juliette Part 2||Marquis de Sade|
|54||Juliette Part 3||Marquis de Sade|
|55||Juliette Part 4||Marquis de Sade|
|56||Juliette Part 5||Marquis de Sade|
|57||Juliette Part 6||Marquis de Sade|
|58||Juliette Part 7||Marquis de Sade|
|60||I Hear Voices||Paul Ableman|
|61||The Woman Thing||Harriet Daimler|
|63||The Gaudy Image||William Talsman|
|64||Candy||Maxwell Kenton (Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg)|
|65||Classical Hindu Erotology||Ram Krishnanada|
|67||Justine||Marquis de Sade|
|69||The Watcher and The Watched||Thomas Peachum|
|70||Two Novels: The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell; The Debauched Hospodar||Guillaume Apollinaire|
|71||Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable||Samuel Beckett|
|73||The Fetish Crowd||Akbar Del Piombo|
|74||Zazie dans le Metro||Raymond Queneau|
|75||Houses of Joy||Wu Wu Ming (Sinclair Beiles)|
|76||Naked Lunch||William S. Burroughs|
|77||The Black Book||Lawrence Durrell|
|78||The Thief's Journal||Jean Genet|
|79||Fuzz Against Junk: The Saga of the Narcotics Brigade, and, The Hero Maker||Akbar Del Piombo|
|80||The Young and Evil||Charles Henri Ford|
|82||The Hero Maker||Akbar Del Piombo|
|83||Steiner's Tour||Phillip O'Connor|
|84||Pleasures and Follies of a Good Natured Libertine||Restif de la Bretonne|
|85||The American Express||Gregory Corso|
|86||The Shy Photographer||Jock Carroll|
|88||The Soft Machine||William S. Burroughs|
|90||A Bedside Odyssey||Homer & Associates (Michael Gall)|
|91||The Ticket That Exploded||William S. Burroughs|
|92||Busy bodies||Ed Martin|
|93||Murder vs. murder: The British legal system and the A.6 murder case||Jean. [from old catalog] Justice|
|94||Sextet||j. Hume Parkinson|
|102||I Hear Voices||Paul Ableman|
|104||The Gaudy Image||William Talsman|
|105||The Story of Venus and Tannhauser||Aubrey Beardsley|
|107||The best of 'Olympia': An anthology||Maurice Girodias|
|108||The Fifth Volume of Frank Harris's My Life and Loves||An Irreverent Treatment by Alexander Trocchi|
|109||Young Adam||Alexander Trocchi|
|114||Junky||William S. Burroughs|
|115||Gordon||Louise Walbrook (Edith Templeton)|
|205||The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe||Humphrey Richardson|
|206||A bedside odyssey||Gerald Williams|
|210||Sin for Breakfast||Mason Hoffenberg|
|214||My Mother Taught Me||Tor Kung|
|301||The Watcher and the Watched||Thomas Peachum|
|429||Crazy Wild breaks loose.||Jett Sage|
|434||Bishop's gambol||Roger Agile|
|440||Frankenstein '69||Ed Martin|
|450||Acid temple ball||Mary Sativa|
|456||A Satyr's Romance||Barry N. Malzberg|
|505||Run Little Leather Boy||Larry Townsend|
|2218||The Organization||Harriet Daimler|
|2220||Whip Angels||Selena Warfield (Dianne Bataille)|
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James Patrick Donleavy was an American-Irish novelist, short story writer and playwright. His best-known work is the novel The Ginger Man, which was initially banned for obscenity.
The Ginger Man is a novel, first published in Paris in 1955, by J. P. Donleavy. The story is set in Dublin, Ireland, in post-war 1947. Upon its publication, it was banned both in Ireland and the United States of America by reason of obscenity.
Maurice Girodias was a French publisher who was the founder of the Olympia Press. At one time he was the owner of his father's Obelisk Press. He spent most of his productive years in Paris.
Grove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1947. Imprints include: Black Cat, Evergreen, Venus Library, and Zebra. Barney Rosset purchased the company in 1951 and turned it into an alternative book press in the United States. He partnered with Richard Seaver to bring French literature to the United States. The Atlantic Monthly Press, under the aegis of its publisher, Morgan Entrekin, merged with Grove Press in 1991. Grove later became an imprint of the publisher Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
The Evergreen Review is a U.S.-based literary magazine. Its publisher is John Oakes and its editor-in-chief is Dale Peck. The Evergreen Review was founded by Barney Rosset, publisher of Grove Press. It existed in print from 1957 until 1984, and was re-launched online in 1998, and again in 2017. Its lasting impact can be seen in the March–April 1960 issue, which included work by Albert Camus, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bertolt Brecht and LeRoi Jones, as well as Edward Albee's first play, The Zoo Story (1958). The Camus piece was a reprint of "Reflections on the Guillotine", first published in English in the Review in 1957 and reprinted on this occasion as the magazine's "contribution to the worldwide debate on the problem of capital punishment and, more specifically, the case of Caryl Whittier Chessman." Its commitment to the progressive side of the political spectrum has been consistent, with early stance for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. The image of Che Guevara that first appeared on the cover of its February 1968 issue, designed by Paul Davis and based on a photograph by Alberto Korda, became a popular symbol of resistance.
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The Ticket That Exploded is a 1962 novel by American author William S. Burroughs, published by Olympia Press and later by Grove Press in 1967. Together with The Soft Machine and Nova Express it is part of a trilogy, referred to as The Nova Trilogy, created using the cut-up technique, although for this book Burroughs used a variant called 'the fold-in' method. The novel is an anarchic tale concerning mind control by psychic, electronic, sexual, pharmaceutical, subliminal, and other means. Passages from the other two books and even from this book show up in rearranged form and are often repeated. This work is significant for fans of Burroughs, in that it describes his idea of language as a virus and his philosophy of the cut-up technique. Also, it features the cut-up technique being used by characters within the story. The Ticket That Exploded lays the groundwork for Burroughs' ideas of social revolution through technology, which he would later detail in his book-length essay The Electronic Revolution.
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Exiled in Paris is a 1994 book by James Campbell, a Scottish cultural historian specialising in American Literature and culture. He is the former editor of the New Edinburgh Review and works for the Times Literary Supplement. The book is a study of Left Bank cafe society in post-war Paris, particularly the influence of American expatriates, as indicated by its subtitle: Richard Wright, LOLITA, Boris Vian and others on the Left Bank 1946–1960.
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Inside Scientology: How I Joined Scientology and Became Superhuman is a 1972 book by Robert Kaufman, in which the author takes a critical look at the Church of Scientology. It was first published in 1972 by Olympia Press. The book was the first to disclose secret Scientology materials. It was also published in 1972 in German, and was the first extensive critical report on Scientology in German.
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Marion Ursula Boyars, née Asmus, was a British book publisher who in 1975 founded her own imprint, Marion Boyars Publishers.
My Life and Loves is the autobiography of the Ireland-born, naturalized-American writer and editor Frank Harris (1856–1931). As published privately by Harris between 1922 and 1927, and by Jack Kahane's Obelisk Press in 1931, the work consisted of four volumes, illustrated with many drawings and photographs of nude women. The book gives a graphic account of Harris's sexual adventures and relates gossip about the sexual activities of celebrities of his day.
John "Steve" Stevenson was a British writer who, under the pen name Marcus van Heller, wrote erotic fiction for the Traveller's Companion series of Olympia Press publisher (1955–1961). Later he also wrote under the pen name Stephen John.