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The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings Paperback – January 10, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
120 days is shocking, horrifying -- disgusting. This is pretty well universally agreed upon. This in itself says quite a lot. We live in a world where "shocking" has lost much of its meaning. Yet the Marquis De Sade continues to shock our jaded, supposedly unshockable sensibilities; if we want to read this book well, it's worth asking ourselves why. As Simone De Beauvoir says in her introduction to this edition, Sade was a good novelist -- and a great moralist.
One thing Sade definitely was not was a proselytizer for sexual freedom. The recent move "Quills" -- while not completely misleading on this point -- was still much too frivolous, too much of a French sex comedy ( and also too traditionally heterosexual ) to reflect the Sadean universe. Sade is not Henry Miller; with him, sexual freedom is not an issue. Power is. The powerful are sexually free. Sex interests Sade far less than pleasure, and pleasure for Sade can't exist without squashing the weak. An exemplar of the Sadean universe might be the Michael Douglass character from "Wall Street" except that now he knows that sex, even above money, is the ultimate fantasy thrill of power.
In other words, they coined the word "sadism" after him for good reasons!Read more ›
The strange effect inherent in all this is that as the reader reads on, he/she gradually takes over for Sade, supplying all the things which Sade leaves out, verbs and settings and dialogue and description. In the end, the reader has completely assumed the writer's job. Who, then, is guiltier of summoning such demons from the imagination -- the reader or the Marquis?
In it's own way (whether Sade consciously intended it or really did write the book that way because of lack of paper) "The 120 Days of Sodom" presents a trap as confounding as Blackbeard's feat of natural engineering on Oak Island.
The 120 Days is the book that is usually known as De Sade's masterpiece, although he personally preffered Justine, a better story. Anyway, the story is simple. Several wealthy libertines take a retreat to a secret castle to engage in sinister acts. There victims are specially chosen people who suit their particular tastes and in most cases have been abducted to get there.
The story takes place over 30 days in which the libertines engage in every sexual indecency you can think of. The punishments for those who are do not perform adaquatly are violent and cruel and the book could easily be the most evil story ever conceived.
This should not be a deterrant for any mature reader. Those who want to spite De Sade will have an easy time taking shots at the sexual superficialities of the book. Anyone who tries to read and understand the book will discover it to be rich in ingenius philisophical ideas.
The 120 Days is, admittedly, an arduous task to get through and is not De Sade's best work. The story unfortunatly is predictable juggling sexual escapades with philisophical matters.
De Sade's best work remains Eugenie de Franvale, Philosophy in the Bedroom and Justine.
The short work in this book entitled Florville de Courval is the best part of the collection and makes the book worth buying instantly. It tells the tale of a poor women who's life has been plagued by misfortune, a theme dealt with in Justine. Her misfortunes accumulate at the ending into the ultimate in ironic finales. The story is only 75 pages long but is brilliant in every sense.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I haven't read this particular addition of 120 Days in Sodom so I'm just reviewing the novel and the philosophy. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Anonguy47
Nothing I write here can do any justice or explanation of this book. Read at your own risk. You have been warned.Published 5 months ago by Heath
[Note: haha, this was a difficult review to get through the Amazon guidelines since it contained a lot of curse words. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Virginia de Sade
Historically Marquis De Sade is recognized as writing some of the most controversial and perverse books ever written in the past. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Joseph J. Truncale
My first de Sade. It was as expected lol not for the faint at heart!Published 11 months ago by AeryonSun
The Marquis de Sade was a sick, sick man-this book was a painful read at times, and the imagery will haunt you. Read morePublished 11 months ago by JS
If you can get beyond the philosophizing of De Sade, this is truly a seriously wicked book and as sick and twisted as they come. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Robert M.