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Donatien Alphonse François, the Marquis de Sade, was an aristocrat and member of the Decadent court of Louis XV's France, who managed to be considered the most decadent member of the most decadent court in Europe, due far more to his actions than his writings. Though Everything Sounds Sexier in French, Sade worked his best to disgrace it through repulsive pornography. Using the French equivalent of an entire arsenal of atomic F bombs, crude descriptions of sexual intercourse and unashamed incest, he crossed all limits and was denied publication in every respectable library, banned by religious powers from using a pen. Honorable people considered his works as the epitome of evil. Every single line by Sade contains at least a couple of mentions of fluids and swears that even the French found offensive. All this, mind you, at a time where religion was second in power only to the King's.

Despite most of his works being banned, however, they played at least some role among the more radical members of the French Revolution, such as Jean-Baptiste Carrier's infamous Republican Marriages at the Noyades in the Loire, which were specifically described by Carrier as "Le flambeau de la philosophie", referring to one of Sade's sayings, as well as the executions at Arras (see 120 Days of Sodom below for more information). In addition, he also played a huge role in the French Revolution, to such an extent that he was arguably the one who started it by instigating the Storming of the Bastille via false claims of the prisoners being tortured.

Sade's works were many, including novels, historiettes, plays and political pamphlets. Among the most notable of them are:

  • Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man - One of the earliest known written works by Sade, written while incarcerated in the Chateau de Vincennes in 1782, the dialogue is about a dying libertine convincing a priest of the mistakes of a pious life, and is very expressive of Sade's atheism.
  • The 120 Days of Sodom (a.k.a. The School of Licentiousness) - One of Sade's most infamous works, about four corrupt libertine nobles (the Duc, the Bishop, The President, and the Durcet) who put their four wives/daughters, sixteen kidnapped children, four aged prostitutes, four hideous maids, and eight well-endowed young men through 120 days of abuse and torture ultimately leading to bloodshed. It all basically plays out like an extended Aristocrats joke with no punchline. It is also suspected to be the inspiration of Joseph LeBon and his wife's stripping guillotine victims at Arras and putting them in lewd poses among the Batteries Nationales. It spawned a film adaptation set in World War II that is one of the most potent examples of Nausea Fuel in cinematic history. Written in secret while he was imprisoned in the Bastille in 1785, believed to have been Lost Forever until the paper it was written on was discovered hidden in his cell over a hundred years later.
  • Justine (a.k.a. The Misfortunes of Virtue) - Written in 1787-88 and published in 1791, this is one of the two novels (the other being Juliette) that got Sade thrown in prison for the last thirteen years of his life by Napoleon Bonaparte. It concerns a virtuous young woman whose virtue is anything but rewarded, and who suffers horrible abuse throughout her life hidden under a virtuous mask.
  • Juliette (a.k.a. The Prosperities of Vice) - A sequel of sorts to Justine, published six years after the first novel, the story is about Justine's sister, who is in many ways her polar opposite. The Villain Protagonist engages in every form of depravity, up to and including murdering her way through various people (including various family members and friends), all in the name of enjoying herself no matter whose expense it's at.
  • Philosophy in the Bedroom - A pornographic narrative published in 1795 that has since become known as a sociopolitical drama, it is a textbook example of Corrupt the Cutie in action, as fifteen-year-old Eugénie is "educated" in the ways of the libertine by Madame de Saint-Ange, her brother Le Chevalier de Mirval, and their friend Dolmancé.

Sade's works gave rise to the word "sadism," in both its classical and fetishistic senses.

He is also a featured character in the play Marat Sade, as well as the main character of the movie Quills.


This author's works provide examples of:

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