Born in 1919, Maurice Girodias is the son of Jack Kahane (1887-1939), a man of culture who settled in France after WW1.
With a printer, Jack Kahane founded The Obelisk Press whose main editorial line was the erotic novel in English intended for tourists.
Although his production was modest, he became infamous.
In 1934, Obelisk Press acquired a literary dimension, though still dealing in scandal, by publishing Tropic of Cancer by an unknown writer who wouldn’t stay that way for long, Henry Miller.
Maurice Girodias learned the profession of publisher working with his father.
In 1941, he founded Les Editions du Chêne.
First reserved for artists’ books and topical subjects, the catalogue opened up to literature with Georges Bataille’s Critique review and Henry Miller.
Les Editions du Chêne, in financial difficulty, was taken over by Hachette.
After working for the group, Girodias launched The Olympia Press in 1953.
Publishing under easily-recognisable green covers, he employed his talent by combining literary ambition, scandals and… clashes with the law.
In English or in French, Miller, Sade, Apollinaire and Beckett, Histoire d’O by Pauline Réage, Vladimir Nabokov and his Lolita: these are the kind of books Girodias wanted to produce: ‘to find champions capable of undertaking this major work, crushing the old morality, old systems of thought…’.