Sade, Marquis de


Sade, Marquis de

biographical name

(born June 2, 1740, Paris, France—died Dec. 2, 1814, Charenton, near Paris) French novelist and philosopher. After abandoning a military career at the end of the Seven Years' War, he married and became involved in a life of debauchery and outrageous scandal with prostitutes and with local young people he abducted, for which he was repeatedly imprisoned, once narrowly escaping execution. Despite his noble birth, he supported the French Revolution, which he saw as representing political liberation on a level parallel to the sexual liberation he himself represented. He was twice sent to the insane asylum at Charenton (1789–90, 1801–14), where he would eventually die. He overcame boredom and anger in prison and the asylum by writing sexually graphic novels and plays. The 120 Days of Sodom (written 1785) was a tale of four libertines who kidnap victims for a nonstop orgy of perversion. In his most famous novel, Justine (1791), the heroine suffers because she fails to perceive that there is no moral God and that desire is the only reality. His other works include Philosophy in the Bedroom (1793) and Crimes of Passion (1800). His reputation and writings gave rise to the term sadism.

Variants of SADE, MARQUIS DE

Sade, Marquis de orig. Donatien-Alphonse-François, count de Sade

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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