by Marquis de Sade
Compiled by Richard Seaver
Translated from French by Richard Seaver
Translated from French by Austryn Wainhouse
"No other writer has so scandalized proper society as the Marquis de Sade, but despite the deliberate destruction of over three-quarters of his work, Sade remains a major figure in the history of ideas. His influence on some of the greatest minds of the last century—from Baudelaire and Swinburne to Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky and Kafka—is indisputable. This volume contains Philosophy in the Bedroom, a major novel that presents the clearest summation of his political philosophy; Eugénie de Franval, a novella widely considered to be a masterpiece of eighteenth-century French literature; and the only authentic and complete American edition of his most famous work, Justine.
This literary portrait of Sade is completed by one of his earliest philosophical efforts, Dialogue between a Priest and a Dying Man, a selection of his letters, a fifty-page chronology of his life, two important essays on Sade, and a bibliography of his work."
Marquis de Sade
Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade, the Marquis de Sade, was born in Paris in 1740. Much of the Marquis de Sade’s life was spent in prison due to his scandalous libertine lifestyle. But, he did fight in the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763) as a young Colonel of a Dragoon regiment, and he was briefly a leftist politician in the 1790’s, even dropping the Marquis title. It was not until the mid-1940s that de Sade would earn serious attention as a novelist, playwright, essayist, and pamphleteer, due to a family member finding a cachet of the Marquis’s manuscripts and publishing them.
While imprisoned in the Bastille and in the insane asylum at Charenton, he wrote the famous The 120 Days of Sodom (1785), about the imprisonment and torture of forty-six teenagers by four businessmen. While incarcerated in the Bastille, de Sade wrote Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue (1787), and from 1797 to 1801, he would write the sequel Juliette, or Vice Amply Rewarded. De Sade published these works anonymously, but he was soon discovered and imprisoned when Napoleon ordered the immediate arrest of the author. He would spend the final thirteen years of his life as a prisoner as a result of Justine and Juliette. He died in 1814. Other notable works include the series Crimes of Love and the dramatic works Dialoque Between a Priest and a dying Man and Philosophy in the Bedroom. The renowned French poet, Guillaume Apollinaire, once called the Marquis de Sade “the freest spirit that has yet existed.”