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The Best 4 Books by Marquis de Sade [PDF]

Today we bring you a collection of the best 4 works of the Marquis de Sade in PDF format. But first, a little history about this French writer.

Donatien Alphonse François, better known as Marquis de Sade, was born in Paris, France, on June 2, 1740. His father was a diplomat at the court of Louis XV and his mother was a lady-in-waiting. From the beginning, de Sade grew up with servants who indulged his every whim. Shortly after his infancy, his father abandoned his mother and she took refuge in a convent.

By the age of 4, de Sade was known as a rebellious and spoiled child with an ever-growing temper. On one occasion he beat the French prince so severely that he was sent to the south of France to stay with his uncle, a church abbot.

During his stay, when he was 6 years old, his uncle introduced him to debauchery. Four years later, de Sade was sent back to Paris to attend the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. After misbehaving at school, he was subjected to severe corporal punishment, namely whipping. He spent the rest of his adult life obsessed with this violent act.

As a young man, de Sade had many affairs with women, most of them prostitutes. De Sade’s father was desperate to find his son a wealthy wife. De Sade, although he was in a stable condition, had drastically decreased his financial possessions. In 1763, de Sade married Renée-Pélagie de Montreuil, daughter of a wealthy government official. However, married life did not curb his sexual preoccupations, and within a few months he was renting rooms to act out his intense fantasies.

His first serious crime occurred when he forced a prostitute to incorporate crosses into their sex acts, something downright blasphemous. The woman immediately reported the incident to the police, and de Sade was arrested and imprisoned. He was released shortly thereafter, and quickly returned to his old habits. Of course, his behavior tested his wife’s limits, but divorce was virtually impossible. The couple ended up having three children.

On Easter Sunday 1768, de Sade invited a chambermaid into his room, cut her and poured hot wax on her wounds. The de Sade family paid the woman not to testify, but after such social embarrassment, de Sade was forced to live on the fringes of society. Obsessed, he committed sodomy with four prostitutes and their servant only four years later. Although the act of sodomy was quite common among the aristocracy, the court decided to teach him a lesson and banished him to exile in Italy.

While in prison, de Sade wrote incessantly, producing a total of 15 manuscripts, including «Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue» and «The 120 Days of Sodom». When the French Revolution broke out, de Sade convinced members of the new regime that he had been a victim of the old aristocracy. Surprisingly, they released him from prison and welcomed him into the new government. It was the rise of Napoléon Bonaparte that brought about his demise.

De Sade was committed to an insane asylum. From 1810 until his death on December 2, 1814, he maintained a relationship with the 13-year-old daughter of an employee of the asylum. He died there on December 2, 1814.

1) Justine

Justine author Marquis de Sade

Justine takes place just before the French Revolution in France and tells the story of a young girl named Thérèse. Her story is told to Madame de Lorsagne as she defends herself against her crimes, on her way to punishment and death. She explains the series of misfortunes that have led her to her present situation.

Justine was one of the first works of the Marquis de Sade, written in two weeks in 1787 while he was imprisoned in the Bastille. It is a 187-page novel with little of the obscenity that characterized his later writing, as it is written in the classical style that was fashionable at the time, with a very detailed and metaphorical description.

2) Philosophy in the Bedroom

Philosophy in the Bedroom author Marquis de Sade

Philosophy in the Bedroom is a 1795 book written in the form of a dramatic dialogue. Although initially considered a work of pornography, the book has evolved into a sociopolitical drama.

Set in a bedroom, the two main characters argue that the only moral system that reinforces the recent political revolution is libertinism, and that if the French people do not adopt the libertine philosophy, France will be destined to return to a monarchical state.

Continuously throughout the play, Sade argues that one must embrace atheism, reject society’s beliefs about pleasure and pain, and further argues that if one commits a crime while seeking pleasure, one cannot be condemned.

3) Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man

Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man author Marquis de Sade

Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man is a dialogue written by the Marquis de Sade while imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes in 1782.

It is one of the earliest written works by Sade whose date is known with certainty, and was first published in 1926 along with an edition of «Stories, Tales and Fables» (originally written in 1788). It was subsequently published in English by Pascal Covici in 1927 in a limited, hand-numbered edition of 650 copies.

The work expresses the author’s atheism by having a dying man (a libertine) tell a priest what he considers the errors of a pious life.

4) The 120 Days of Sodom

The 120 Days of Sodom author Marquis de Sade

The 120 Days of Sodom, or «the School of Libertinage» is a novel described as pornographic and erotic, written in 1785.

It tells the story of four wealthy libertines who set out to experience maximum sexual satisfaction in orgies. To this end, they lock themselves up for four months in an inaccessible castle in the heart of the Black Forest, with a harem of 36 victims, mostly teenage boys and girls, and hire four brothel keepers to tell their lives and adventures.

The women’s stories serve as inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims, which gradually increases in intensity and ends with their sacrifice.