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The thin end of the whip.
July 28, 2014 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Toni Bentley on the most famous dominatrix in France, and her companion.
posted by Mistress (12 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting, thank you. On a related note, At the Crime Scene by Adam Shatz: a review of Mme. Robbe-Grillet’s late husband’s ‘Sentimental Novel’.
posted by misteraitch at 7:59 AM on July 28


I really, really want to hear what she thinks of Fifty Shades of Gray. Something tells me she looks on it much like we look on Robot Monster or Manos Hands of Fate or the like.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I would like to think they don't even know it exists.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:23 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Oh, I'm thinking more like someone showed them a copy once as like a "get this" kind of thing and they spent a night taking turns reading passages out of it to each other and laughing uproariously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:34 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Something tells me she looks on it much like we look on Robot Monster or Manos Hands of Fate or the like

Perhaps the height of masochism: to pay money to sit through a Michael Bay movie. A light whipping might feel downright refreshing after.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:00 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


a review of Mme. Robbe-Grillet’s late husband’s ‘Sentimental Novel’.

You know, the uroboric irony there is in how Robbe-Grillet, acclaimed as one the 20th century's most avant-garde writers, turns out to be—or maybe always was—basically a 19th century Decadent.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:02 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Great bit from Adam Shatz's piece:

'By now, most readers in France had ceased to care; even his intellectual champions lost interest, although Barthes stood by him. ‘Transgression’ had come to mean l’écriture féminine and gay erotica; Robbe-Grillet’s hetero-sadist fixations looked decidedly démodé, quite possibly reactionary... At the party for Barthes’s 1977 inaugural lecture at the Collège de France, Foucault confronted Robbe-Grillet: ‘I have told you this already and I will say it again, Alain: when it comes to sex, you are, and always have been misguided!’ Barthes rose to his defence, reminding Foucault that Robbe-Grillet was, at the very least, a pervert. Foucault replied: ‘Ça ne suffit pas!’'
posted by Mocata at 9:22 AM on July 28 [11 favorites]


This is a fascinating article, thank you for posting!
posted by Windigo at 10:08 AM on July 28


I really, really want to hear what she thinks of Fifty Shades of Gray

Catherine Robbe-Grillet has become somehow the go-to expert on BDSM in France, so she has participated in many debates on francophone talk shows about the book. Her late popularity may have something to do with the contrast between her nun-like appearance and the absolutely joyful and carefree (and erudite) way she talks about kinky sex. Her take is that it's a silly fairy tale full of clichés (in French here - she giggles about the size of Grey's penis - and here at 23:20 and 38:25), a nice romance that desperately lacks actual porn and BDSM (in the latter talk show, someone says that Fifty shades is a book about meat cooking written by a vegan). She compares her own "contract" with the one in the book, calling the former a beautiful literary piece and the latter a boring notarial contract (39:40). However, she's enthusiastic about the fact that women - rather than men - are buying the book (29:35 in the previous video), something that she calls a "very interesting sociological phenomenon". She also likes the idea that Fifth shades seems to have "opened up new possibilities that did not exist before" for many of its (female) readers (53:10). She notes that her own books, which were censored in the past, can now be found in paperback, so that's progress. In 1985, when she was invited to the famous literary talk show Apostrophes, she wore a veil!
posted by elgilito at 10:41 AM on July 28 [16 favorites]


How beautiful this was!
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:45 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I really wish it wasn't Monday, because I could rabbit-hole this all day long.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:52 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I found this beautiful and fascinating. It hit on a number of themes in a way that's very timely for me personally: the transition from submission to dominance; the places where dominance and submission can be difficult to distinguish; the complexities at the intersection of bisexuality, power exchange, and polyamory; the craving for high ritual, beauty, and exclusivity in realizing sadomasochistic fantasies. Lots of inspiration and food for thought in Robbe-Grillet's life story.
posted by ootandaboot at 6:25 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


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