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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark masterpiece
Undoubtedly Sade's chief novel, "Juliette" describes the lengthy adventures of a beautiful young whore who uses her body to obtain the money and power she craves. Her numerous sexual adventures are described in minute detail, as are her equally numerous murders and other less pleasant debaucheries. The whole is punctuated with philosophical discussion...
Published on August 27, 1998

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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ewwww!
First of all, this is a well-written book with some very provocative ideas. The philosophy is as over the top as the violence, so I think the Marquis must have intended "Juliette" as a pipe bomb in the gullet of conventional morality. Even so, some of his human-centered views are right on target. For instance, he vehemently argues for a woman's right to have...
Published on September 15, 2001 by The Pete


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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark masterpiece, August 27, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
Undoubtedly Sade's chief novel, "Juliette" describes the lengthy adventures of a beautiful young whore who uses her body to obtain the money and power she craves. Her numerous sexual adventures are described in minute detail, as are her equally numerous murders and other less pleasant debaucheries. The whole is punctuated with philosophical discussion regarding the nature of sex, God, and mankind. This is a very intense book, and one which has upset and offended many, many people since it was first published in the 1790's. If the subject of sex offends you, do not read this book. However, if you can stand a cold, dispassionate account of the human sex drive, and its function and meaning, then read "Juliette" immediately. One final comment - Sade's writing is often dismissed as "repetitive," but what could be more repetitive than the physical motions of sexual intercourse?
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars don't bother lookin' for Romeo..., June 4, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
I just finished reading this mammoth of a book, and, I'm here to report, it lived up to the reputation it has acquired. I consider myself one of the most jaded, cynical, steel-bellied readers around. When I read all of the reviews for "Juliette", as well as Sade's other works, I scoffed at all the warnings for the faint-hearted; the challenges to withstand the terrible text! I was not offended by what I read, but these reviewers weren't kidding! The sex can get quite preposterous and impossibly indulgent, but many reviewers take this way too literally and discredit Sade for not understanding the human anatomy and it's thresholds and limitations. There's no question in my mind that the Marquis was well aware that many of the things he wrote were physically impossible; but, where's the fun if you don't take it to the extreme? I often found myself- once the appetite was whetted- wanting him to magnify every act, every atrocity until it had peaked... and, then go further.
This is part of the beauty of the arts (in any form): it gives you a chance to be as crazy, as demented, as grotesque, as you desire, since it's all happening in your head; and, you don't even have to provide the fodder for this mill of depravity- Sade graciously delivers it. What makes it even more twisted is that it's written in such a Shakespearean- term used lightly- theatrical way, reminding you that this is a translation of a book written 200 years ago! Nobody in this day and age has duplicated the literary horrors that this libertine philosopher put forth. They wouldn't get published!
The "plot": Juliette, a young girl in a convent, meets a nun, Madame Delbene, who takes the philosophical- and physical- roots that she sees in little Juliette, and nurtures them, teaching her about the absurdities of prejudices, religious beliefs, and societal morals. Our title character is taught the maxim that will resonate as a constant throughout the entire novel: self-preservation and pleasure at no matter who or what's expense. As Hobbes wrote in "Leviathan"-- life is nasty, brutish, and short. We are animals and everything we do in an attempt to civilize ourselves goes against the accords of Nature. We help others to benefit ourselves or to feel selfish pride; we refrain from acts of murder, thievery, etc. only out of fear of being caught. All of these thoughts/philosophies are proffered, but, Sade is not afraid to back up all of his ideas with in-depth, analytical dissertations which are sometimes strewn with holes... and sometimes impossible to refute! Juliette takes her new-found "education", and the story follows her as she puts everything- and anything- into practice.
No matter what your beliefs, be they religious, political, moral, it can only benefit you to consider the other side's viewpoint: liberal vs conservative, God-fearer vs atheist, good vs evil. It is only then that you have made a healthy, well-founded decision on what to believe in.
Read "Juliette" and see the other side...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Extraordinary Quest, July 28, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
This is just a quick note upon finishing this novel, and words simply fail me. One surely comes to mind and that is "Whew!" If there is anyone else out there who has succesfully completed this book and was taken so deep for so many good hours, please send me an email and let me know what you thought! For those of you who just happen to be in here and are unfamiliar with Sade, then I really don't think this is the book to start off with! It's frightening 1,205 pages would scare a lot of people away, but I just simply love to get into a huge novel! This was sex scene after perverse and twisted sex scene every page jammed packed with "kink" and loads and loads of sodomy! The amazing thing is, when you come to the last page of this monstrosity, it all comes together and makes sense and you finally realize that there actually WAS a story going on and you were just too wrapped up in Sade's sex, as are the characters, to notice what was going on around you all the time!Incredible read. Maybe I will do it again in a few. . .YEARS
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Masterpiece, December 18, 2000
By 
Joseph "God" Jordan (Bronx, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
Amidst the gratuitous sex and abhorrent violence, this book contains a philosophy of pure libertinage that should not be ignored. The 10% of this work that is not pornography details a unique, startling, frighteningly base school of thought that I have not encountered before or since reading this (rightfully) immortal tome. Man, as protrayed in Juliette, is a self-serving, solitary beast that will commit acts of the most extreme depravity on a mere bout of caprice. Life is meaningless, God is dead, and no one matters save for yourself. This extreme nihilism is said to be the "right" way to live by Sade's characters, for nature allows their every "misdeed." Many would deem this mindset insane, but I ask them "why is it insane?" Is it not true? In the book, and in reality, it is only the subjectively chosen morality of other men that prevents us from acting on our most insidious desires. There is no right and wrong, because everything is permitted by nature. The adamant atheism, blasphemy, violence and selfishness entailed in the book is what makes me respect it so. I reccomend this work to every free thinker that can sit throught 1100+ pages of scatology. It is worth weeding through the shocking, occasionally repetitive porn to feast on the juicy nuggets of philosophy within.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Advocate of Cruelty, July 31, 2002
By 
A. Bhattacharya "Jengameister" (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
I finished 'Juliette' a few weeks ago and it is difficult to deny its power to shock the reader, even now, two hundered years after the book was written.
Sade's philosophy, such as it is, is exceptionally reductionist in its view of 'Nature'. He throws out all morality as an arbitrary construct of human society and argues that as customs and practices differ from place to place, morality itself is totally relative and worth utterly nothing. Out goes God and instead of a divine being, Sade promotes his view of Nature- which is cruel, cares not a jot for human life and wants us to appease our appetites at any cost to other human beings. Any talk of love is so much sentimental cant-all traces of love in the human heart are to be wiped out so they do not take away from our enjoyment of physical pleasures. All criminal acts give us pleasure, this is our Nature (if we deny this we are just not able to break free of society's conditioning of us and are not keeping good faith with Nature) therefore they are to be committed at every opportunity. His characters are invariably wealthy, powerful, totally unscrupulous and get their sexual kicks in the most laborious ways .
Because of his refutation of morality and his recognition of the fact that without God, our moral system seems to lack an anchor, he might be regarded as a predecessor of Nietzsche. Sade is however a lesser thinker and his conclusions sometimes verge on the rather simplistic 'might is right' kind. In his view of 'Nature' he is simply, in my opinion, wrong.
If he had been a little more observant and a little less insane, he would have noted that altruistic behaviours are as much exhibited by Nature as self-serving or cruel ones. He would have noted the rabbit on watch stamping its hindleg in order to warn the warren of an approaching predator, usually at cost to itself as it makes the predator aware of the its own presence. He would have noted that drones will willingly give up their lives for the queen and the hive. Examples abound. However such observations would have ill-served the philosphy that he espoused, which in the end can only appeal to the warped, sick, decadent and over-privilaged.
I will however give him the fact that he can write. 'Justine' presents the virtuous woman as victim. 'Juliette' however shows her sister, a libertine not limited by her conscience, as a social success who aquires boundless wealth. For this reason, I was more intrigued by 'Juliette' than by 'Justine'-women as victims abound in literature, while the woman portrayed in 'Juliette' is a little more er...unusual. While he may indeed propose that a woman should have the right to do with her unborn child as she wishes, Sade is no feminist. His support for abortion comes about because of his hatred of procreation (as opposed to sex, which he enjoys in all its manidfestations). Rather Sade is a thoroughgoing misogynist who believes that the only good woman is one utterly subservient to the needs of men-a view espoused a number of times in this book.
A repulsive but quite fascinating tome.
A side note-those who have read this might also be interested in Michelle Houellbeque's 'The Elementary Particles'-a book I feel very much influenced by Sade. Houellbeque seems to view us as more or less already living in a world which would meet with Sade's approval...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evil never sounded so good..., November 15, 2007
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
1200 pages. Its been said that actually reading Sade from cover to cover like you would an `ordinary' novel is a test of one's mental and even physical endurance. The seeming endless catalog of escalating violence and perversion in a series of episodes so outrageously obscene they begin to border on the comic, so obsessively repetitious they become mind-numbing is said to make *Juliette* virtually unreadable. It took me two-and-a-half weeks to finish this marathon of horrors and Im delighted to report it wasn't nearly as grueling as advertised.

What often goes unremarked is that Sade is a surprisingly funny writer. Yes, funny. It's hard not to miss the hyperbolic parody of much of *Juliette,* although many do, especially those who haven't read Sade in his entirety or in context. The prudish, those easily offended, they'll have a hard time finding anything to laugh about here, too. Sade is a literary shock-jock. But what's also surprising is how many of Sade's social positions are not only quintessentially "enlightened," but serve as the very foundation of a considerable amount of "liberal" thought. Sade is pro-choice, against capital punishment, a champion of homosexuality, free love, and feminism, a fierce enemy of monarchy and the Church and all forms of fundamentalism--he envisions a society of liberated men and women pursuing their individual happiness outside the moral censure of both the majority and the minority. Sade could, in fact, be considered the grandpappy of our me-first, me-only age.

Of course, Sade carries his radical position of extreme personal freedom to its logical end--in rape, theft, and murder. And, perhaps, the most overlooked aspect of Sade is that his philosophy of mayhem is the "logical" end of personal freedom, its ultimate justification.

Far from advancing his ideas in the manner of a raving lunatic as he's often portrayed, Sade does so with cold, exacting, rational arguments. At times, *Juliette* reads like a satanic version of Plato's dialogues. But whereas Plato based Western civilization on his rational "proof" that reason is synonymous with good, Sade does the exact opposite, using rational deduction to prove that reason is synonymous with evil. What lends Sade's argument its shattering power is that whereas behind Plato's there's always the ghost of an a priori teleological principle of dubious and ultimately unprovable existence, Sade bases his conclusions on the indisputable facts of observable nature--a nature, he's always quick to point out, that is red in tooth and claw. Grounding his dialectic in every creature's natural self-interest, he can never be proved wrong in thinking the "worst" of man. For everything, even pity, generosity, love, and self-sacrifice can be seen as self-interest. The only thing that checks our instinctive and insatiable appetites are fear, superstition, social-conditioning, oppression, and stupidity. And it's the rulers, priests, and rich who make certain the rest of us remain in the dark, a.k.a. living "morally," while they, shielded by their wealth, power, and hypocrisy feed off the rest of us poor fools.

Taking a look at history, at the world today, it's hard to argue. Indeed, it seems a fact: we live in a Sadeian universe and convince ourselves we don't with the comforting lullabies of religion, social and political idealisms, and fuzzy fellow feeling. We want to believe that reason is synonymous with good, truth with beauty, but the key word is "believe." We want to believe it because the alternative, with exaggeration for effect, is the harsh world Sade reveals to us in *Juliette.*

What makes Sade so revolutionary is not only that he writes scenes of sexual violence that can still shock, disgust, and outrage contemporary sensibilities--I refer the reader in particular to Juliette's sexcapades with the Pope!--but that by proving that reason can be used just as easily, if not more effectively, to justify evil as it originally was used to justify good, Sade stood all of western morality on its head. Reading through the extensive philosophical speculations connecting all the dirty parts of *Juliette,* the reader recognizes the ideas of many of the most prominent thinkers and writers of the next two centuries already prefigured. There's a reason that Sade has been one of the seminal figures for generations of our most prominent philosophers and authors--his sordid outpourings of blood and semen have directly or indirectly fertilized minds with the seeds of that tree upon which grows the most forbidden fruit of all.

One of those rare books that truly has the power to shake your most firmly held beliefs and even change your life, *Juliette*is the Bible of Evil, probably never to be equaled, certainly impossible to surpass. I don't think it an exaggeration to say that no reader of intelligence and culture should die without reading this book.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ewwww!, September 15, 2001
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
First of all, this is a well-written book with some very provocative ideas. The philosophy is as over the top as the violence, so I think the Marquis must have intended "Juliette" as a pipe bomb in the gullet of conventional morality. Even so, some of his human-centered views are right on target. For instance, he vehemently argues for a woman's right to have an abortion and denies men any voice in that decision.
Overall though, I don't think the ideas are seriously proposed. I think perhaps the Marquis intended "Juliette" to provoke in the reader an internal discussion of issues by presenting an extreme position and making the reader respond to it.
However, I simply could not stomach the violence in the book and didn't make it to the third section. I just didn't want to read it anymore, and I'm no dainty parlour gentleman. Be warned that the Marquis' reputation is well-deserved. This is not sex or pornography. It is base violence and depravity which the characters commit, revel in, and congratulate themselves for perpetrating.
The novel also becomes really repetitive and this also made me tire of the book. I saw a bit of a plot with Juliette rising in society in direct proportion to how evil she became. However, this thin plot couldn't sustain the endless discourses and violence.
Glad I read what I did read so that at least I have some first hand knowledge of what this man is about. I was very surprised that ideas compose the majority of this work, rather than sadism. Absolutely not for the faint-hearted, though, or for even many strong-hearted people.
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42 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost his masterpiece, August 2, 2000
By 
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
When you are up to reading de Sade this book is perhaps not the best to start with, that is probably Justine. Justine is easier to read since it actually has a story line. Juliette is enormous, monumental and extremely pervers and it has all the elements of Sadistic sexuality. The book consist of two seperate parts. There is the sexual part and there is the philosofical part. We have all heard about the sex, so let's talk about the philosofy. In writing it is mostly Sade's goal to share his thoughts with you and although his reasoning is poor (very poor sometimes), the basic point he's making is an interesting one, especially from an 18th century point of view. Sade wants everyone to do and act as he or her pleases. But, he forgets something, his liberalism limits the freedom of others, so he is not a true liberal in that way, he is totally self centered. And that is his other point, everything you do, you do for yourself, even when you give a beggar some money, then you only give it to him to feel good about yourself. That's something we can all think about. Personally I don't agree with him on a lot of points and that probably goes for most sane people. I would strongly recommend that individuals under 21 and everyone with a young and fragile mind do NOT read this book, because they may perceive it is normal or common reality. Finally, why is it not his masterpiece? His masterpiece would certainly have been the 120 days of Sodom, had he finished it. Unfortunately he lost the manuscript for this book during the French revolution when he was freed from the Bastille prison. Too bad probably since we now only have a basic layout for the 120 days. You just can't have them all. Read de Sade with care and don't be ashamed to put it aside when it gets to you too much.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and mysterious masterpiece!, June 21, 2001
By 
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
First of all, this book is not for puritans and religious fanatics. This is a profound philosophical work which explores the "real" side of human nature, its inherent longing to lust and crime. The truth is we are all predators who live to survive and enjoy as much pleasure in life as we can. The shocking pictures of evil presented by De Sade reveal this naked and painful human nature.
Explicit sexual scenes and disturbing acts of unspeakable evil are everywhere in this book interlaced with philosophy. Please read this book and you will never be the same!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sade : More than meets the eye, May 3, 1998
This review is from: Juliette (Paperback)
Juliette is the story of a woman who chooses resorts to vice as a means of extracting herself from the low social position typically held by women in the eighteenth century. Sade proves to be a fore-runner to Freud as a "sexologist" and "sociologist" as he describes the use of sex as a tool for domination and socialization. The debauchery of Juliette, termed "libertinage" is her way of controling men and gaining power in the society. She thus victimizes in place of being victimized, a theory worthy of comparison to Darwin's theory on survival of a species, but Juliette is ultimately a victime of herself. "Juliette" and Sade's philosophy are better understood having read "Justine or the Misfortune of Vertue" which depicts Justine, the sister of Juliette, on a similar voyage although drawing her strength from her virtuousness which ultimately renders her weak and vulnerable to an onslaught of men and women willing to take advantage of her sexually, monitarilly, and sentimentally.
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Juliette
Juliette by Marquis Desade (Paperback - January 31, 1994)
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