Marquis De Sade

So i just read one of his books, Justine Or The Misfortunes Of Virtue, while i think there were some flaws in it, i can see how he turn to be so influential, especially on freud and nietzsche. He definetely posed interesting questions. Anyway how do you feel about his work?
 
Do you know what the masochist said to the sadist?
He said "Hit me."
And the sadist said "No."
:eek:
 
Depends what you mean: as a writer, as an erotic visionary or as a philosopher? The French regard him as a philosopher, but the rest of the world has trouble taking that seriously. Personally I find all those abstract dialogues about free will and personal liberty tough going, but then that's the French for you....
 

Johannes

Founding member
The novels suck, except for some spectacle factor which quickly wears off.

But the letters are hilarious, especially the ones he wrote to his wife while being imprisoned. Mad, tragic, genius, humor on the edge (virtually) ... it's all there.
 
Depends what you mean: as a writer, as an erotic visionary or as a philosopher? The French regard him as a philosopher, but the rest of the world has trouble taking that seriously. Personally I find all those abstract dialogues about free will and personal liberty tough going, but then that's the French for you....
Well i meant as a whole, Marquis de Sade, the thinker, artist and yes, also as an erotic visionary. Yes, i know his work is quite elitist, not meant for a wide reading, but those dialogues you speak of that's what i found most interesting in Justine Or The Misfortunes Of Virtue, i found them very thought provoking and quite scary too, there's a kind of transgression that appealed to me. Basically i think De Sade was saying that morality,religion and laws were just invented to stop men act upon his most primordial instincts, his "natural" state. I think he was really one of the first to develope this thought about human nature. I felt there was something timeless about Justine, the idea of virtue, in a corrupt, with no principles world. Kinda leaves you asking yourself, What's the use of virtue in world that's more interested in being corrupt and vicious?
 
I only came to know more about his life and ideas via a couple of biographies I read after some novels so I would appreciate the novels and the philosphy more now. I should revisit the novels now. Johannes is right, the letters are amazing. (The biographies include some.) He was a very difficult man. He really was operating on the limits of society and sanity if he was absolutely serious about all his ideas. I think he is often dismissed out of hand because of the sexual aspect. That said, if the sexual aspect did not permeate his writing and thought I think most of his books would be out of print...
 
I've wondered also about connections to Bukowski. I can't find any references indicating Bukowski ever read him, but some of his late, unpublished stories really get to the edge and beyond as far as exploring the nether regions of psychosexuality. And there are many published works which have similarities to de Sade. Buk read Celine, Artaud, Genet, Villon, so he knew the French bad boy tradition.
 
I only came to know more about his life and ideas via a couple of biographies I read after some novels so I would appreciate the novels and the philosphy more now. I should revisit the novels now. Johannes is right, the letters are amazing. (The biographies include some.) He was a very difficult man. He really was operating on the limits of society and sanity if he was absolutely serious about all his ideas. I think he is often dismissed out of hand because of the sexual aspect. That said, if the sexual aspect did not permeate his writing and thought I think most of his books would be out of print...
Well i sugest Justine to start with, The 120 Days Of Sodom they say is much more tough, since it seems to present endless kinds of torture, Justine while it has some of that, is more balanced, while presenting this and the philosphy. Don't know about the letters, i still haven't read them. But yes i think he was a very funny man, his books shouldn't be taken all serious, some of the dialogues on Justine were pretty funny, in a very disturbing way that is.
True, for better or for worse, De Sade lives on because of the sexuality present on his work, but i think if one reads closely his work, sex wasn't just sex, it was a means to get trough his ideas about humanity and nature's laws, the strong subjugating the weak, it worked as metaphor too. I saw a documentary about him while ago, it seems it was some kind of mad genius who hated society. For anyone who might be interested:
 

Johannes

Founding member
I've wondered also about connections to Bukowski. I can't find any references indicating Bukowski ever read him
He mentions "the collected works of de Sade" in a poem, but don't know which right now.
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
hot month (Play the Piano Drunk)

[...]

I am going out to buy more
towels
bedsheets
Alka-Seltzer
washrags
mop handles
mops
swords
knives
bombs
vaseline flowers of yearning
the works of
De Sade.

Also described as "grinning in the dark" in "fourteen dollars and thirty-two cents" in Dangling in the Tournefortia.
 
the documentary had interesting commentary, but it didnt make me want to read de sade. it just made him seem interesting as a historical figure. also the visuals they used were irratating.
 
[...] morality,religion and laws were just invented to stop men act upon his most primordial instincts, his "natural" state. I think he was really one of the first to develope this thought about human nature. [...]
There have been predecessors in philosophy. Thomas Hobbes is a famous example.

I don't remember, who said it [maybe Horkheimer/Adorno], but it's a well known quote, that it was De Sade, who showed the 'dark side' of the 'Age of Enlightenment'. I think this covers it quite well. But I only know 'Justine'.
 
I didn't said he was the pioneer of this kind of philosophy, but there was definetely something new about his work at the time, if not for the sexual aspect. That seems a great quote, since his work portrays the darker side of humanity. The only book i read of him was Justine too, but also want to read Philosophy In The Bedroom, i heard it's pretty funny too.
 
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