Marquis De Sade
(1740 – 1814)
Donatien Alphonse François de Sade (1740 – 1814), better known as the Marquis de Sade, was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer. He is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law. The words sadism and sadist are derived from his name. He was incarcerated in various prisons and in an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life.
The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinism is a novel by the French writer and nobleman Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Described as both pornographic and erotic, it was written in 1785. It tells the story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies. To do this, they seal themselves away for four months in an inaccessible castle in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, with a harem of 46 victims, mostly young male and female teenagers, and engage four female brothel keepers to tell the stories of their lives and adventures. The women’s narratives form an inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims, which gradually mounts in intensity and ends in their slaughter. The work remained unpublished until the twentieth century. In recent times it has been translated into many languages, including English, Japanese and German. Due to its themes of sexual violence and extreme cruelty, it has been banned by some governments.
Philosophy in the Bedroom is a 1795 book by the Marquis de Sade written in the form of a dramatic dialogue. Though initially considered a work of pornography, the book has come to be considered a socio-political drama. Set in a bedroom, the seven dialogues concern Eugenie, a virgin, who has been sent to the house of Madame de Saint-Ange by her father, to be instructed in the ways of the libertine. Along, with Le Chevalier de Mirval, (Madame de Saint-Ange’s 20-year-old brother), and Dolmancé, a 36-year-old atheist and bisexual, they all teach her their ways. When her mother shows up, she is punished for bringing her daughter up with ‘false virtues’.
Justine (or The Misfortunes of Virtue) is set just before the French Revolution in France and tells the story of a young woman who goes under the name of Therese. Her story is recounted to Madame de Lorsagne while defending herself for her crimes, en route to punishment and death. She explains the series of misfortunes which have led her to be in her present situation.