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The Marquis de Sade, vilified by respectable society from his own time through ours, apotheosized by Apollinaire as "the freest spirit that has yet existed," wrote The 120 Days of Sodom while imprisoned in the Bastille. An exhaustive catalogue of sexual aberrations and the first systematic exploration-a hundred years before Krafft-Ebing and Freud-of the psychology of sex, it is considered Sade's crowning achievement and the cornerstone of his thought. Lost after the storming of the Bastille in 1789, it was later retrieved but remained unpublished until 1935.
In addition to The 120 Days, this volume includes Sade's "Reflections on the Novel," his play Oxtiem, and his novella Ernestine. The selections are introduced by Simone de Beauvoir's landmark essay "Must We Burn Sade?" and Pierre Klossowski's provocative "Nature as Destructive Principle." "Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell, and kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change."-From Sade's Last Will and Testament
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Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 - 2 December 1814) was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author. He is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence and criminality.
Georges Bataille (1897-1962) was one of the most original thinkers and writers of the 20th century. In 1928 he wrote Story Of The Eye, often regarded as the greatest pornographic novel of all time, and broke away from Surrealism in 1929 to edit his own highly influential journal, Documents.
Sade, who cut himself off from humanity, only had one occupation in his long life which really absorbed him - that of enumerating to the point of exhaustion the possibilities of destroying human beings, of destroying them and of enjoying the thought of their death and suffering. Even the most beautiful description would have had little meaning for him. Interminable and monotonous enumeration alone managed to present him with the void, the desert, for which he yearned, and which his books still present to the reader. Boredom seeps from the monstrosity of Sade's work, but it is this very boredom which constitutes its significance. As the Christian Pierre Klossowski says, his endless novels are more like prayer books than books of entertainment. The accomplished technique behind them is that of the "monk... who sets his soul in prayer before the divine mystery”. One must read them as they were written, with the intention of fathoming a mystery which is no less profound, nor perhaps less "divine”, than that of theology. This man, who appears in his letters as unstable, facetious, beguiling, fanatical, enamoured or amused, capable of tenderness and even of remorse, contented himself, in his books, with an invariable exercise in which an acute but permanent tension, infinitely sustained, springs from the cares that limit us. From the outset we are lost on inaccessible heights. Nothing remains that is hesitant or moderative. In an endless and relentless tornado, the objects of desire are invariably propelled towards torture and death. The only conceivable end is possible desire of the executioner to be the victim of torture himself. In Sade's will, to which we have already referred, this instinct reached its climax by demanding that not even his tomb should survive: it led to the wish that his very name should "vanish from the memory of men”. FROM THE FOREWORD BY GEORGES BATAILLE
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Book Description Grove Press, 1967. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110394171195