Born in Paris, France, Jean-Jacques Pauvert shocked his friends and colleagues by openly publishing the works of the Marquis de Sade when he was twenty years old.
Pauvert’s new press Palimugre and his books were fined, destroyed, or banned from being sold to the public. In July 1954, he flagrantly published Histiore d’ O by Pauline Réage, a pseudonym for Dominique Aury, and refused to disclose the author’s real name. At the same time, The Olympia Press published The Story of O in English. The New York Times described Réage as “more dangerous than the Marquis de Sade.”
In this memoir, La Traversée du livre (or An Odyssey in Books,), Pauvert describes the literary world during and following World War II. The book business and the arts flourished during the Occupation, which is when he started working as a clerk for Gallimard, a prominent bookstore. Slowly he moved into selling clandestine and rare books. Then Pauvert naively and without any experience, began his own business by publishing Sartre’s essay on Albert Camus.
Functioning as a team, he and his wife Christiane, who died in 2008, dedicated fifty years to building their publishing company, which became Editions Jean-Jacques Pauvert. Controversial books were only a part of their publishing repertoire. Pauvert also published Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, André Gide, Andre Breton, and Genet.
In 2013, Pauvert wrote Sade Vivant (Le-Tripode), a biography that analyzes and critiques Sade’s life, philosophy and work. With the cooperation of the Sade family, libraries and archives, he included material that had never been published.
Pauvert married Brigitte Lozerec’h, a French author, in April 2014. They live in a small village near St. Tropez.
His memoir, La Traversée du livre was the winner of the 2005 Elle Magazine Reader’s Grand Prize.