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The Misfortunes of Virtue and Other Early Tales (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – July 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Coward, Senior Lecturer in French, University of Leeds.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1 edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019954042X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540426
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Oz du Soleil on December 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
this book is accessible for those who find Sade's more famous stuff too difficult. Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Justine... it's hard to get past the turds & embuggery. Once you let your mind see what's actually going on, and read & re-read, Sade's ideas may become clearer.
OR! in Misfortunes of Virtue, Sade's ideas are bite-sized and closer to the surface. No, it's not as risque and nauseatingly detailed, but it is so much easier to see, "AHHH! so that's what Sade wants to me get."
The story Windbags of Providence is hilarious. Mildly risque, but he's making commentary about religion, government oficials, and the artist as the artist relates to society.
This stuff is in the gigantic book, Philosphy in the Bedroom, but it's so much harder to find it.
This book is worth having, definitely.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on May 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sade, long known for being the unprintable,unpublishable and,in the words of Henry James, the great "unnameable", continues to be avoided by the mainstream, as well as the syllabuses of academic literature courses. Several university professors have even frankly confessed to me that they wouldn't touch Sade with a pair of tongs. This is due to his delight in all manifestations of evil, his notorious enjoyment of cruelty and self-inflicted pain, his immoralism and his picture of a loveless and destructive cosmos. For Sade, the universe has no features: there is no God, no goodness, no truth, no unity. Nature, the great aristocrat, is indifferent and the bad and strong triumph while the small and weak go to the wall. These sentiments, presented in their most bald form, may strike us as banal, though they do contain an essential germ of truth and right. The main story in this collection, amply illustrates this theme, as a pious, intensely moral girl, upon meeting with adverse circumstances, travels through life enduring the most agonising injustices imaginable, ranging from slavery, robbery, beating, mutilation and rape by a group of lecherous monks she had ostensibly sought out for aid. Nevertheless, she refuses to yield to the temptations of revenge and hate of the world which so cruelly treats her, but holds fast to her religious and moral principles. As a result, Sade has her punished for her virtues. Other tales touch on Sade's preoccupations with evil and good, including one that touches on lesbianism, though the overall selection is not as dark as it seems, containing a number of episodes of genuinely original humour and irony. "Dialogue between a Priest and a Dying Man" is one such story, employing the fashionable eighteenth century form of the dialogue. It consists in a dying man outarguing his priest, eventually convincing him of the advantages of vice and converting him to atheism. It's a shame that Sade is so underrated as a humourist.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on February 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first version of "Justine". It has a moralizing facade, in order to circumvent censorship, but behind it there is the bitter philosophy of pleasure and vice. The existence of good requires the existence of evil, in identical proportions. Good people fail; bad people triumph. Justine suffers all her life, in incredible amount, the deceptions and vexations of perverted beings who openly rejoice in the practice of evil.
Justine passes through the hands of supposed protectors who beat, humiliate and rape her without the slightest trace of compassion. The central episode concerns Justine's reclusion in a monastery. You'll see what the monks do to the lady.
On the other hand Juliette, the sister from whom Justine was separated since birth, advances as she dedicates herself to theft, prostitution and murder, thanks to which she has prospered in the world. At some point, they will meet again, with consequences that you'll find out at the end, after reading this jewel of perversion.
This edition includes other tales, in one of which a group of young aristocrats punish the avarice and perversion of a repulsive old judge who wants to marry a young beauty.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By I ain't no porn writer on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This collection of short stories proves that the Marquis de Sade was a real writer, and a brilliant one. Some of these stories are excellent example of storytelling. They were written in his earlier days before he started writing the violent pornographic novels on which his reputation stands. In these stories, Sade shows great range--satire, low farce, sophisticated comedy, morality tale, mystery tale, documentary realism, and even a touch of mythology as he puts his own twist on the Faust legend in one of the stories. This volume also includes Sade's infamous mockery of God and religion "Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man" as well as a shorter, "clean" version of "Justine."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brooke Golightly on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First let me say that I'm not a sadist, but I have become interested in the period in history, specifically French 17th and 18th century, in which "Libertines" walked, and social practice and behavior was highly questionable. I think the book "Perfume" really opened up my head as to my interest, and I've always been interested in aberrant behaviors. The Marquis de Sade was a man highly speculated, and seldom understood. His thoughts and views were outlandish for the times, and reading this has really made me question how valid so many of the points of some of his writings are. Little did I know when I began this book how often I would find myself re-reading some of the passages, realizing his point on so many things to be so close to accurate that I almost hate to admit it. Anyone who has ever had any interest in what was surely of such scandalous a period should enjoy the perils in the stories of this book.
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