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Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings Paperback – January 11, 1990

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Language Notes

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

  • Paperback: 753 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 11, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802132189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132185
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This collection of works is an illuminating collection of Sade's best. The critical introductions are excellent, along with the massive chronology of Sade's life. Sade's letters and Last Will & Testament also give insight into one of France's most controversial literary minds.
The collection begins with "Dialogue between a priest and a dying man", perhaps the shortest, and least depraved, of his works. The dialogue is a concise evisceration of Judeo-Christian philosophy, advocating the supremacy and amorality of Nature.
"Philosophy in the Bedroom" follows, which is Sade at his most philosophically eloquent and sexually twisted. Every taboo is torn to pieces (sometimes literally) while the characters engage in philosophical dialogues about Nature, religion, politics, and, obviously, sex. There is a political treatise in the middle of the dialogues. The treatise is Sade at his most learned and compelling. Amid the erotic carnage, Sade displays himself as one of France's greatest philosophers. Foucault? Whatever.
Eugenie de Franval is next. It is a romantic tale about the love between a father and his daughter. It pre-dates Balzac, although it has a realistic style familiar to anyone who has read Pere Goriot (another tale of familial love, but not about incest).
Justine closes out the collection. This version is considerably longer than "the Misfortunes of Virtue" in the story collection of the same name. Sade fills the story with copious monologues discussing the stupidities of religion, the nature of fetishism (pre-dating Freud and Krafft-Ebing by a long shot), and the glories of crime. Depraved? Yes. Entertaining? Absolutely. Justine is comedy at its blackest.
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Format: Paperback
When the Marquis de Sade was locked up in the Bastille for various crimes that ranged from sexual abuse of prostitutes to flagellation of young boys, he found that he had the time to write at length in novel form a series of books that have come to stand for his belief in the utter joy of inflicting pain on the virtuous: sadism. For the next few centuries, philosophers and literary critics have debated whether his works deserve the attention normally given to serious works of literature or whether they are simply the ravings of a mind unhinged. There is a current trend to rehabilitate his reputation, a trend which includes analysing his canon with the same set of standard literary tools that are used on mainstream authors.
The reader new to de Sade might well wish to begin with JUSTINE. It is here that he delineates a world that is composed of two categories of people: those of vice and those of virtue. With the former, de Sade presents a very nearly exclusive male dominant protagonist, one who is wealthy, middle-aged, possessed of a castle or subterranean dungeon, and has a proclivity to speak at great length on the superiority of vice over virtue. With the latter, De Sade, as he does in JUSTINE, gives the reader a young, well-shaped, nearly indestructable female whose sole purpose is to suffer a non-stop series of assaults both on her body and to her mind. Each assault is a carbon copy of its predecessor. Justine (called Therese) is kidnapped or tricked into entering the lair of a rich and dissolute monk or nobleman who promptly lectures Justine/Therese on the inevitable triumph of Vice over a feckless Virtue. Each time this Vice figure rapes and sodomizes Justine, he tells her, "You see, my dear?
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It is little wonder that the Marquis De Sade spent the last years of his life in a madhouse. Anyone as far ahead of his time as he was is sure to be considered insane by his contemporaries. This collection of his work is exhaustive, and deliciously exausting. You not only get "Justine" and "Philosophy in the Bedroom", there are many shorter works and a collection of De Sade's letters. All of these paint a picture of a man and a philosophy that was at least 150 years ahead of the morals and thought of his period. Sade not only anticipates Freud and Niezche, he goes beyond them. He declares homosexuality natural and advocates a woman's right to choose. The cruelty Sade is known for is the natural outgrowth of his philosophy and the pervailing attitude toward Nature during his life. Nature is the only real ruler of man, he says. Nature is sometimes cruel, indeed in the view of Western Civilization, Nature is always cruel. Therefore, says the Marquis, humans, if they are to be in harmony with the only true governing force, must allow themselves to at least imagine being cruel. Now, while one might criticize the Marquis for not being able to cross the rubicon with his views on Nature as he did with homosexuality, the fact remains that the conclusion is logical within De Sade's framework. This is not a collection for those seeking light erotica. Indeed, some of the situations described are the exact opposite of erotic. Read as philosophy, as the Marquis intended, his work is an earth shattering precursor to the modern and post modernist movement. This colection goes a long way in wresting Sade's name away from the pathology that unfortunatly bears his name.
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