PAULINE Reage’s Story of O (1954) and Jean de Berg’s The Image (1956) are both extraordinary pastiches — almost parodies — of the kinds of sadomasochistic scenes, characters and paraphernalia we find so often in the pages of Sade. The Divine Marquis is by no means subtle, so that writers in the same tradition seem even more blatant and theatrical. The mysteriously pseudonymous Pauline Reage and Jean de Berg, who may conceivably be the same person, acknowledge no debt to Sade, and in fact in Pauline Reage’s preface to Return to the Chateau (1969), a composi­ tion made up of parts edited out of Story of O, the author claims to have encountered Sade only later in her life:

So it was that Sade’s castles, discovered long after I had silently built my own, never surprised me. . . . But Sade made me understand that we are all jailers, and all in prison, in that there is always someone within us whom we enchain, whom we imprison, whom we silence. By a curious kind of reverse shock, it can happen that prison itself can open the gates to freedom, (pp. 11-12)

The prison metaphor is especially apt for Sade, who spent so much of his adult life in various prisons. Pauline Reage seems also to owe a heavy debt to Dostoevsky and his com­ passionate belief in the enlightenment that comes only through suffering.