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It specialized in books which could not be published (without legal action) in the English-speaking world, and correctly assumed that the French, who were unable to read the books, and were more sexually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

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; 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[edit]

The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade

A Bedside Odyssey by Homer and associates

The Carnal Days of Helen Seferis by Alexander Trocchi

The Enormous Bed by Henry Jones 1

Rape by Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson) 2

School for Wives by Alexander Trocchi 3

The Libertine by Robert Desmond 4

Play This Love With Me by Willie Baron 5

Tender Was My Flesh by Winifred Drake 6

The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy 7

WHAT FRANK HARRIS DID NOT SAY... Being the Tumultuous, Apocryphal Fifth Volume of My Life and Loves, as Embellished by A by Alexander Trocchi 10

The Loins of Amon by Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson) 11

The Chariot of Flesh by Malcolm Nesbit 12

White Thighs by Alexander Trocchi 14

Fanny Hill by John Cleland 17

How to do it by Gustav Landshot 18

Darling by Harriet Daimler 19

The small rooms of Paris by Ezra de Richarnaud 20

Until She Screams by Mason Hoffenberg 21

The Itch by Steven Hammer 22

Roman Orgy by Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson) 23

Heaven, hell and the whore by Robert Desmond 24

Thongs by Alexander Trocchi 25

Who Pushed Paula? by Akbar Del Piombo 26

Sarabande for a bitch by Mickey Dikes 28

Helen and Desire by Alexander Trocchi 29

Cruel Lips by Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson) 30

Kama Houri by Ataullah Mardaan 31

The Pleasure Thieves by Harriet Daimler 32

Innocence by Harriet Daimler 33

The Wantons by Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson) 35

Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet 36

The House of Borgia by Marcus Van Heller (John Stevenson) 37

Sexus by Henry Miller 39

Deva Dasi by Ataullah Mardaan 42


The world of sex by Henry Miller 47

Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery (The New Traveller's Companion Series) by John Wilmot 48

The White Book by Jean Cocteau 51

Juliette by Marquis de Sade 56

The Woman Thing by Harriet Daimler 61

Teleny by Oscar Wilde 62

Candy by Terry Southern 64

Classical Hindu Erotology by Ram Krishnanada 65

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 66

Plexus by Henry Miller 68

Two Novels: The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell; The Debauched Hospodar by Guillaume Apollinaire 70

Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett 71

The Fetish Crowd by Akbar Del Piombo 73

Zazie dans le Metro by Raymond Queneau 74

Glædeshuse by Sinclair Beiles 75

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs 76

The Black Book by Lawrence Durrell 77

The Thief's Journal by Jean Genet 78

Fuzz against junk: The saga of the Narcotics Brigade, &, The hero maker (Traveller's companion series, edited by Mau by Akbar Del Piombo 79

The Young and Evil by Charles Henri Ford 80

The American Express by Gregory Corso 85

The Shy Photographer by Jock Carroll 86

The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs 88

The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs 91

Busy bodies by Ed Martin 92

Murder vs. murder: The British legal system and the A.6 murder case by Jean. [from old catalog] Justice 93

Sextet by j. Hume Parkinson 94

Stradella by James Sherwood 101

I Hear Voices by Paul Ableman 102

The Gaudy Image by William Talsman 104

The Story of Venus and Tannhauser by Aubrey Beardsley 105

The best of 'Olympia': An anthology of tales, poems, scientific documents and tricks which appeared in the short-lived a by Maurice Girodias 107

Young Adam by Alexander Trocchi 109

Night by Francis Pollini 112

Junky by William S. Burroughs 114

Gordon by Edith Templeton 115

The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe by Humphrey Richardson 205

A bedside odyssey by Gerald Williams 206

Sin for Breakfast by Mason Hoffenberg 210

My Mother Taught Me by Tor Kung 214

The Watcher and the Watched by Thomas Peachum 301

Crazy Wild breaks loose. by Jett Sage 429

Bishop's gambol by Roger Agile 434

Frankenstein '69 by Ed Martin 440

Acid temple ball by Mary Sativa 450

A satyr's romance by Barry N. Malzberg 456

Sookey by Angelo D'Arcangelo 465

Thrust by C.S. Vanek 467

Jyros by J. Joth 470

Run Little Leather Boy by Larry Townsend 505

THE ORGANIZATION by Harriet Daimler 2218

Whip Angels by Selena Warfield 2220[1]


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