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Philosophy in the Boudoir: Or, The Immoral Mentors (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0143039013 ISBN-10: 0143039016 Edition: Deluxe

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Philosophy in the Boudoir: Or, The Immoral Mentors (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) + Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue (Oxford World's Classics) + Juliette
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Deluxe edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143039016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143039013
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Marquis de Sade (1740–1814) wrote the first drafts of several of his pornographic novels while in prison, including Justine and 100 Days of Sodom.


Joachim Neugroschel has won three PEN translation awards and the French-American translation prize. He has also translated Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs, both for Penguin Classics. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Francine du Plessix Gray is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and the author of numerous essays and books, including Simone Weil, At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life, Rage and Fire, Lovers and Tyrants, and Soviet Women. She lives with her husband, the painter Cleve Gray.

More About the Author

Elfriede Jelinek was born in Austria in 1946 and grew up in Vienna where she attended the famous Music Conservatory. The leading Austrian writer of her generation, she has been awarded the Heinrich B?ll Prize for her contribution to German literature. The film by Michael Haneke of The Piano Teacher won the three main prizes at Cannes in 2001. In 2004, Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By immortal pickwick on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dear reader,
I bought this book to check my reading of the original on occasion when sentences were particularly convoluted (Sade writes in an ironically formal Ancien Régime style of French). I was astonished to find gobs of mistakes in this English translation. I'm not exaggerating, there are three mistakes in a single paragraph on the latest page I've read, p. 151, the one starting with "Yes, Chevalier, you are saying...". Here they are to give you a taste.
1) "within you" : Should be "within me"!
2) "Do you smother remorse through your principles when you feel its goads" : Should be "May you smother (or just smother) ... if you ..."
3) "Will you manage to repent a misdeed of indifference that you have thoroughly penetrated?" This sentence is nonsensical as it is translated! It should be something like : "Could it be possible for you to repent an act being thoroughly penetrated by an indifference of it?"

This is only one paragraph. There are countless other mistakes strewn about.

I'm not familiar with other translations yet, but if you are concerned about fidelity to the original, I would advise you to steer away from this one. In spite of the fancy cover, the contents are greatly disappointing.

That said, if you're only interested in the sex tableaux, fidelity is not necessary and the translation is sufficient :-P

Enjoy.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Pseudo-Olga on May 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I thought Incest was really well written (much like Lolita, where the content is filthy but you can't help but fall in love with the writer for how gifted he is with language), so I checked this one out next. Initially, Philosophy in the Boudoir came off as porn for the thinking man and nothing more - and really, everything has its place - but about halfway into the book there appeared some interesting philosophy that really completes some of what the Marquis got into with Incest. He further develops arguments on morality here, and if you're a Camus fan, a good deal of these arguments are actually pretty compatible with Camus, too. If you can get past (or enjoy?) all the anal sex bits, this is actually some pretty smart philosophy with what appears to be Marquis de Sade's characters debating either side of his own arguments.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ana Tikaradze on April 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you want to break the borders of your fantasies... if you want to hear the richest description of the sex and the pleasure it brings... if you are ready for something which might feel immoral... if you consider sex as an art... if you love sex... read it... feel it... do not judge...
And if you want something similar but modern search for Michel Houellebecq...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I came across this book in a public library. Not so long ago, I read a collection of short stories by Marquis de Sade. What attracted me to the author is his personal history and wit. I know that his work, beliefs and unsupressed sexual freedom is what caused him decades in jail and eventually years in insane asylum. Any time I have an opportunity to read his work, I do it because I am curious about this man and what he has to say.

Highly educated, sophisticated and eloquent, de Sade sets out to present his philisophy to the general public of his time. If one can get past de Sade's unrepressed desires one can learn about Marquis' opinions about personal freedom, his resistance towards institution of marriage, his dislike of possession (human, monetary, material and otherwise), Marquis' strong atheist beliefs. There is no doubt that Marquis finds morality to be relative and he sets the record straight on his stand on issues such as death penalty, murder, theft, incest, rape, etc. His arguments are strong and carefully composed. They are also way ahead of his time.

After finishing this work, I can only respect Marquis de Sade more. He is a kind of man willing to take the worst forms of punishment for his personal beliefs. In that respect, Marquis is a principled man, willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others. He loaths authority and his strong sense of individuality and quest for personal freedom is such that once can rarely find these days. De Sade is imortal in his own way and for no other reason but that one, his work needs to be read, understood and respected for what it is.
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