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At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life Paperback – November 1, 1999
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de Sade was born in Paris in 1740; his young mother was governess and lady-in-waiting to Prince Condé. At the age of four, de Sade threw one too many temper tantrums and was sent to the south of France, to his doting grandmother in Avignon. From Avignon, he was sent to various Jesuit schools where, at the time, flogging and sodomy were common practice. This, the author convincingly argues, provided the needed catalyst for the emergence of de Sade's true personality.
de Sade married his only wife at an early age, the plain and ungraceful Pélagie Montreuil, daughter of the intelligent and ambitious Madame Montreuil. The Montreuil's had money but no familial link to the aristocracy. For a time Madame Montreuil excused the sexual forays of her new son-in-law, but eventually her forgiveness become too much for him to ask; she turned against de Sade with a bitterness, becoming not only his mother-in-law, but his lifelong nemesis as well.
His marriage to Pélagie, however was a surprisingly good one. de Sade apparently awakened long-repressed passions in the young girl that remained until their separation many years later when she rejected him with much fervor.Read more ›
Gray's biography concentrates largely on the relationship de Sade had with two women-his first wife, Renee-Pelagie de Sade, and his indomitable mother-in-law, Madame de Montreuil. De Sade's wife remained a constant companion to the erstwhile Marquis for more than a quarter century, suffering his sexual excesses (including dalliances with her younger sister, Anne-Prospere), the ensuing scandals and, ultimately, the many years of imprisonment. His mother-in-law, a social climbing women of fierce and irrepressible will who at first found the Marquis charming, ultimately became his worst oppressor, driven like the Eumenides to avenge de Sade's seduction of her virginal younger daughter, Anne-Prospere. She was, in Gray's characterization, a woman who exemplified "primitive female fury, a rage that is unquestioning in its self-righteousness." And it was Madame de Montreuil who unstintingly worked to keep the Marquis imprisoned for over thirteen years, freedom coming only with the fall of the Bastille in 1789, when the Marquis was forty-nine years old.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyable, easy read of the (somewhat wasted) life of the Marquis de Sade.Published 21 months ago by j64thnotes
Before I read this volume I already considered myself a de Sade scholar-- now I know how wrong I was. Read morePublished on October 13, 2011 by M. G. Moseman
Strangely, though it is from him that the word sadism is derived, I found it no torment to read this delightful book. Read morePublished on May 15, 2006 by Lance Kirby
When I first started reading this, it seemed more about the women (his mother and wife) than the Marquis. So, I read further to prove myself wrong.....not very successful. Read morePublished on January 9, 2005 by Amadeus Salieri
This is a very good book that pulls no punches about Sade but does not condemn him either. It is a facinating story told through Sade's letters and it breaths life into this... Read morePublished on July 17, 2004 by kirby evans
To me, the author relied too much on quoting the correspondences to illustrate her points. This makes the book rather too long and boring. Read morePublished on February 13, 2002 by Tsang Shek Yiu
A fascinating book about a fascinating man. My only criticism is that the lengthy chapters describing his jailtime were sometimes slow.Published on January 10, 2001 by Meredith Povisils