Olympia Press

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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It specialized in books which could not be published (without legal action) in the English-speaking world, and correctly assumed that the French, who were unable to read the books, and were more sexually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.

Works in the Traveller's Companion Series

No.Title [1] Author
1 The Enormous Bed Henry Jones (pseudonym for John Coleman) [2]
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
8An Adult's StoryRobert Desmond
9The Whip AngelsXXX (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
13The Sexual Life of Robinson CrusoeHumphrey Richardson
14 White Thighs Alexander Trocchi
15Rogue WomenNicholas Cutter
16With Open MouthMarcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)
17 Fanny Hill John Cleland
18 How to Do It Gustav Landshot
19 Darling Harriet Daimler
20 The Small Rooms of Paris Ezra de Richarnaud
21Until She Screams Mason Hoffenberg
22The ItchSteven Hammer
23Roman OrgyMarcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)
24 Heaven, hell and the whore Robert Desmond
25Thongs Alexander Trocchi
26 Who Pushed Paula? Akbar Del Piombo
27SkirtsAkbar 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
33InnocenceHarriet Daimler
34Cosimo's WifeAkbar Del Piombo
35The WantonsMarcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)
36 Our Lady of the Flowers Jean Genet
37 The House of Borgia Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson)
38Flesh and BloodAnna Winter
39 Sexus Henry Miller
40The OrganizationHarriet Daimler
41A Gallery of NudesHume Parkinson
42Deva DasiAtaullah Mardaan
43The Double Bellied CompanionAkbar Del Piombo
44 The Story of O Pauline Reage
45Pearls of the RainbowRobert Desmond
46Sin For BreakfastHamilton 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 1Marquis de Sade
53Juliette Part 2Marquis de Sade
54Juliette Part 3Marquis de Sade
55Juliette Part 4Marquis de Sade
56Juliette Part 5Marquis de Sade
57Juliette Part 6Marquis de Sade
58Juliette Part 7Marquis de Sade
59DissolvingTim Harrack
60I Hear Voices Paul Ableman
61 The Woman Thing Harriet Daimler
62 Teleny Oscar Wilde
63The Gaudy ImageWilliam Talsman
64 Candy Maxwell Kenton (Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg)
65 Classical Hindu Erotology Ram Krishnanada
66 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
67Justine Marquis de Sade
68 Plexus Henry Miller
69The Watcher and The WatchedThomas Peachum
70Two Novels: The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell; The Debauched Hospodar Guillaume Apollinaire
71Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable Samuel Beckett
73 The Fetish Crowd Akbar Del Piombo
74Zazie dans le Metro Raymond Queneau
75Houses of JoyWu Wu Ming (Sinclair Beiles)
76 Naked Lunch William S. Burroughs
77 The Black Book Lawrence Durrell
78 The Thief's Journal Jean Genet
79Fuzz Against Junk: The Saga of the Narcotics Brigade, and, The Hero MakerAkbar Del Piombo
80The Young and Evil Charles Henri Ford
81NightFrancis Pollini
82The Hero MakerAkbar Del Piombo
83Steiner's Tour Phillip O'Connor
84Pleasures and Follies of a Good Natured LibertineRestif de la Bretonne
85The American Express Gregory Corso
86The Shy Photographer Jock Carroll
87Pinktoes Chester Himes
88 The Soft Machine William S. Burroughs
89StradellaJames Sherwood
90A Bedside OdysseyHomer & Associates (Michael Gall)
91 The Ticket That Exploded William S. Burroughs
92Busy bodiesEd Martin
93Murder vs. murder: The British legal system and the A.6 murder caseJean. [from old catalog] Justice
94Sextetj. Hume Parkinson
101StradellaJames Sherwood
102I Hear VoicesPaul Ableman
104The Gaudy ImageWilliam Talsman
105The Story of Venus and Tannhauser Aubrey Beardsley
107The best of 'Olympia': An anthology Maurice Girodias
108The Fifth Volume of Frank Harris's My Life and LovesAn Irreverent Treatment by Alexander Trocchi
109Young AdamAlexander Trocchi
112NightFrancis Pollini
114 Junky William S. Burroughs
115GordonLouise Walbrook (Edith Templeton)
205The Sexual Life of Robinson CrusoeHumphrey Richardson
206A bedside odysseyGerald Williams
210Sin for BreakfastMason Hoffenberg
214My Mother Taught MeTor Kung
301The Watcher and the WatchedThomas Peachum
429Crazy Wild breaks loose.Jett Sage
434Bishop's gambolRoger Agile
440Frankenstein '69Ed Martin
450Acid temple ball Mary Sativa
456A Satyr's Romance Barry N. Malzberg
465SookeyAngelo D'Arcangelo
467ThrustC.S. Vanek
470JyrosJ. Joth
505Run Little Leather Boy Larry Townsend
2218The OrganizationHarriet Daimler
2220 Whip Angels Selena Warfield (Dianne Bataille)

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  1. "Publisher Series: Traveller's Companion Series". Library Thing. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  2. Jones, Henry (28 March 2014). The Enormous Bed. Google . ISBN   9781626575172 . Retrieved 16 November 2018.