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(Emmanuelle #1)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,154 ratings  ·  86 reviews

This now classic book of erotica is, alongside Story of O, the most famous French underground novel of the late twentieth century and a work of seductive literary merit. Written by the wife of a diplomat in the French Foreign Service, it takes the form of an autobiographical novel, which it may or may not be.

As the story opens, Emmanuelle is boarding a plane in London to r

Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 5th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1959)
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3.29  · 
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 ·  1,154 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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I could easily write a cop-out, only-read-Playboy-for-the-stories type of review here. Lot of very interesting philosophical insights, perhaps a bit too much sex, that kind of thing. Fellow GoodReaders, I cannot lie to you. Nothing could in fact be further from the truth. I wolfed down the first two-thirds of this book, which consist of one juicy sex scene after another. Then she met dull, creepy, manipulative Mario, and we got started on the philosophy. I felt my eyes closing. I tried several t ...more
Luís C.
Emmanuelle is 19 years old, and leaves to find her husband Jean, a diplomat in Bangkok, whom she married a few months earlier. The society that welcomes it is rich and idle; fidelity is seen as an amusing eccentricity, chastity as a shocking defeat. And if Emmanuelle, with the consent of her husband, is not against some adventures, the freedom of these women intimidates him.
One of them will take pity on the girl, take charge of her education, and then entrust her to Mario's hands. He has very sp
Jennifyre Ziegler
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Believe it or not this is one of the first novels I ever elementary school about 5th grade. I found it in my Fathers closet..among other things *grin* I know..eww it was my Dad but trust me when I say all I had to do was open the book to forget.

I have to say that although I have not reread it since then it is embedded in my memory as one of the most provocative and far from boring books I ever read ; )
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sometimes we just need stereotypes to be confirmed: after all is said and done, we find in conventional ideas the last staple of our decaying culture.

The Thai writer Emmanuelle Arsan (actually Marayat Bibidh or Krasaesin or Virajjakkam or, for Heaven's sake, there seem to be a hundred more) became - lucky her - Madame Rollet-Andriane by marrying a French diplomat she met while still in her teens. He was 30. The happy couple moved to Bangkok soon after the ceremony... and the real fun began for b
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Kiki
(view spoiler)
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Read it on a lark but was surprised to find that it was fairly good read for a small paperback erotica. Dealt a lot with hedonistic philosophy and poly ethics. I was impressed by how literate and engaging it was, having watched the spin off television series more than once.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a teenage boy; not for the philosophical bits at the back!! Enough said.
Ami Sahl Nicholson
Aug 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was terrible. T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! I suffered through the first 125 pages and kept reading, because I thought that it simply had to get better. It is a fairly popular classic French underground novel. I have read several of those, including Story Of O, and this was the worst by far. Other than the quality of the writing, which was pretty decent, I have nothing good to say about Arsan's work. There is little character development with any of the characters, and all of the relationships were ...more
Lenny Nero
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Classic Smut review! Half erotic memoir and half philosophical treatise on eroticism, this book is a quasi-autobiographical account of Emmanuelle Arsan's(pen name of Marayat Rollet-Andriane) sexual adventures in Thailand as a diplomat's wife. Needless to say, their marriage defines the term 'open'. She has many lovers and she and them both expound incessantly on the nature of eroticism.

The sex scenes and most of the first half of this book are just great, with that subtle prose that one gets fro
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
You need to look past the shock value to find the literary genius in this one. I recommend holding out until the final pages which are filled with passages contemplating class, sex, and life itself in a magnificent manor.
This was the first R-rated movie I saw as an under-age teenager escorting my brother. While it may have made an impression at that time, I certainly did not have any conversations with anyone to either explain or debrief about my experience. Now almost four decades later I read the book and come across the philosophy within it.

In some ways it scares me and in others I appreciate the liberation it offers. Ultimately I have to ask under whose guidance can such a philosophy be a liberation rather
Jul 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Well, yes. The first "Emmanuelle" film, made in c. 1974. The very young Sylvia Kristel, with pixie-cut hair. Exotic settings--- Bangkok, the Concorde. Elegantly choreographed sex. Very, very hot. The novel...well, no less hot. Far too much talking, of course--- pages of tortured philosophising about pleasure and the joys of hedonism. But as erotica, some brilliantly powerful moments. All in all, erotica worth having in one's permanent collection.
Patrícia Amorim
Jun 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
The beginning of the story promised to be something very good, but it turned out to be a plot extremely bored .. Mario's character could not be more boring with its pseudo philosophical considerations .. totally exaggerated and unnecessary, killing the story instead of the make it even more exciting and full of eroticism. What a disappointment!
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
em is annoying
everyone is annoying
marie anne is a special kind of annoying
Feb 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: trashy, français
Will give you sexy dreams.
S.P. Aruna
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
A lovely, lilting ode to sensuality; an exquisitely written mix of innocent exploration and intellectual understanding.
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
An erotic novel of the 1960s set in Thailand about the sexual explorations of a young woman. Very explicit.
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is non-stop intimate action. I read this book twice. Loved it!
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel's as hot as august 1st. And moreover there's a certain rhythm to the prose which keeps one's interest aroused for the vast majority of the reading.
Mina Soare
Nov 23, 2014 marked it as foreign-lang-maybes
Shelves: romance, french
To quote the husband of the woman who recommended this, I'm "reading it for the philosophy".
Manan Desai
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, erotica
This semi-autobiographical novel written under pen name of Emmanuelle Arsan straddles genres of erotica and literary erotica. One could have interest in reading this due to it being one of the first books of erotica written by a woman back in 1970s, especially when it is based on the real life of the author and her husband. But one would be mistaken, of course. It was later found that it was actually written by her French diplomat husband.

As for the book, it cannot be considered purely erotica s
Trừng Duyên
Aug 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Everyone in this book is too annoying and the plot is boring as its characters.
Lexxi Kitty
Emmanuelle is one of the first erotic adult films I saw long long ago. It had a plot! And erotic stuff, and nudity, and did I mention it had a plot? To a certain extent there were more erotic scenes than sex scenes, though there were those as well. I knew that it was based on a book but . . . well, many things kept me from actually hunting down and reading the book. I’ll just mention that I liked, say, Planet of the Apes film a lot more than the book – another French book that had been translate ...more
Steve Vander
One of the first films I saw of an erotic nature was Emmanuelle. Certain scenes stayed with me afterwards. They were interesting scenes. Most of said scenes were not in this book. They might have been in a sequel, or I'm remembering things that occurred in a sequel film. I know there are more books, and more films.

There is something of a frustrating nature to this book. Emmanuelle is open to sex, to pleasure, to fooling around. And she's quite happy of that fact. While at the same time she's, to
Jim Dooley
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Telling people that I was reading EMMANUELLE almost universally brought a vivid recounting of having watched the original movie. Indeed, a number of folks were entirely unaware that the movie was made from the book, rather than the book (if there was one) being a movie tie-in. It is a little like hearing "The Blue Danube" waltz and being able to think only of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.

For those cinephiles who are curious, the book does share a number of scenes with the movie, yet also has some disti
Adrian Colesberry
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
The book is actually very well represented by the first movie with Sylvia Krystel. A little sex and pages of talky nonsense. Practically the entire last half of the book is the extended sequence where she is turned over to Mario for her sexual education, very much like in the Story of O. But in between the interminable and boring philosophical blather from Mario, the action becomes much more rapey and creepy than could possibly have been represented in the movie. In a strange way, even though th ...more
Doug Brunell
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: erotica
I read this book as research for my next Sinful Cinema project. I had seen many of the "Emmanuelle" movies in the past, but never got around to reading the book.

Many know that Arsan was not the primary writer of this. That duty went to her husband, though some have speculated that they wrote the book together. I am not ready to buy into that assertion, especially not when coupled with what I discovered doing the research for my upcoming book. Regardless of who wrote it, this remains a cornerston
Bob Valmont
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it
GO philosophize in HELL Mario !!!

I had watched a few of the movies first and so I naturally got curious about the book... I actually felt like two books in one : the one about sex scenes described perfectly and the one with Mario who literally makes us fall asleep with 70 pages of philosophy that got even the main character wondering "is he eventually gonna drop his pants and shut up ?". I'd rate the first part a 4,5/5 but the Mario part barely deserves a 1/5 in my opinion : not that the ideas a
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
My first erotica literature and I was underwhelmed. I didn't exactly know what I was expecting but not this. I don't get the idea why this was considered underground literature - I mean, WHY?

Maybe times have indeed changed. Maybe I have more scandalous thoughts than I could even accept. Maybe I just had too much expectation.

I dare say, this is quite vanilla.

Nothing wrong with vanilla right?
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe how much of so called erotica now is bondage and S and M. Perhaps because Fifty Shades of Gray got a movie deal? I found it unreadable and the wannabes unspeakable. Like the real thing, for me fantasy sex has to start in my brain, so I need beautiful writing, believable characters, and something interesting for them to do besides f*ck each other. Ms. Arsan's story feels so real it's hard to believe it isn't a memoir. I haven't done all these things, but I like to dream...
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Emmanuelle Arsan, née Marayat Bibidh, aussi Marayat, Marajat, Kramsaseddinsh, Krasaesundh, Krassaesibor, Virajjakkam, Virajjakam, Virajjakari, Rollet-Andriane, Bibidh. Née en 1932 ou en 1940 à Bangkok, romancière française d'origine thaïlandaise.

Emmanuelle Arsan, born Marayat Bibidh, also Marayat, Marajat, Kramsaseddinsh, Krasaesundh, Krassaesibor, Virajjakkam, Virajjakam, Virajjakari, Rollet-Andr

Other books in the series

Emmanuelle (4 books)
  • Emmanuelle II
  • The Secrets Of Emmanuelle
  • Emmanuelle exposed
“youre beautiful', he said without grandiloquence. 'that's the least of it', she replied politely.” 7 likes
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