Fifty Shades of Grey

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Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James. It is the first installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM). Originally self-published as an ebook and a print-on-demand, publishing rights were acquired by Vintage Books in March 2012.

The second and third volumes, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, were published in 2012. Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States. The series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into 52 languages, and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Critical reception of the book has been mixed, with the quality of its prose being generally seen as poor. Universal Pictures and Focus Features plan a film adaptation scheduled for a February 13, 2015 release.


  • Critical reception of Fifty Shades of Grey has been mixed to negative, with most reviews noting poor literary qualities of the work. Sir Salman Rushdie said about the book: "I've never read anything so badly written that got published. It made 'Twilight' look like 'War and Peace.'
  • Fifty Shades of Grey has also attracted criticism due to its depictions of BDSM as being submissive sexually is not tantamount to being the victim of abuse as portrayed in the novel, nor that s-types are giving up their power or their equality with their partner. In many cases this has led to wide spread belief of unsubstantiated and in many cases false myths regarding BDSM. Proponents of the book state that while it may be a very poor representation of BDSM as a lifestyle or practice, the books have encouraged many to learn and become involved with these practices that otherwise may not have.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey has attracted criticism due to its origin as a fan fiction based on the Twilight novels, with some readers predicting copyright issues due to this connection.