The Marquis de Sade: A Life
Neil Schaeffer presents here a wholly original, compellingly human portrait of the divine Marquis, the enigmatic legend whose name is synonymous with brutal perversion and cruelty. Against a magnificently embroidered backdrop of eighteenth-century France, he shows us Sade's incredible life of sexual appetite, adherence to Enlightenment principles, imprisonment, scandal, an...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Harvard University Press
(first published 1999)
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The probable reason I found this in the clearance section at a used book store, is that it is DULL. The worst thing a book about The Marquis de Sade should ever be. It was a "removing the myth, and reporting the facts" type of biography; usually so fascinating when it comes to historical topics. I finally gave up on page 310 (out of 516 total) when I had to ask myself what I was reading. Apparently, once you remove the myth and legend of this man, all you are left with is a possibly mentally dis...more
Not what you might think - if you are looking for BDSM porn try elswhere. This is a seroious bigography about a fascinating person's fascinating life. The subject is as much mis-understood today as he was in his lifetime. The book covers aspects of the French revolution and the subject's role in it, and his survival from it, as well as his tempestuos relationship(s) with his family and that of his wife's. There is obviously some reference to his salacious works, particualrly The 120 days of Sodo...more
A thorough study of the Marquis de Sade, both his life and work. Schaeffer draws heavily on letters, journals, and Sade's surviving novels, plays, and essays to profile the man and analyze the legend. A worthwhile read for those with an abiding interest in the Marquis, although probably best for any casual readers to skip this one. The only complaint I have is that in parts this biography drags, and there's no excuse for these boring sections when the subject is such an infamous figure.
this book is not nearly as fun as i had hoped it might be. it reads like a history textbook, doing more to explain sade's whereabouts than his disgusting, sadistic (yet highly entertaining) exploits. through his letters to his father, he reveals himself to be every man i've ever dated. a spoiled, passive aggressive baby who refuses to take responsibility for himself. not exactly the mastermind of perversion i was expecting.
Oct 28, 2007 Cherie rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: marquis de sade fans
A- Absolutely fascinating. This thick book is definitely worth the effort, and made me want to re-read Marquis de Sade's books. The Marquis de Sade was even more insane than I thought; this details his entire life extensively, from his writings to his perversions to his arrests to his extensive yeras in prison. He believes his lies, is selfish, manipulative, cruel, but absolutely fascinating. Thanks to V for recommending.
I will probably be reading this on and off for the next two years. Not having read any of the Marquis de Sade's actual works, this book is definitely absorbing but at times Schaeffer spends way too much time on obvious analysis, to the point that you're reading the same thing twice--an excerpt of a letter, for example, and then a play-by-play summary of what that letter said.