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The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,411 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
Paperback, 799 pages
Published January 10th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1785)
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Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is not one for everyone. I am not sure if it is intended for ANYONE actually.

Here are the ravings of a lunatic. Explicit, alluring, majestic: Just a bunch of adjectives that contradict each other. A man imprisoned does his damn hardest to escape his jail by writing about what he knows & likes best: SEX. There is just sooo much detail upon detail that you know that in the 36 days it took the Marquis de Sade to concoct such a phantasmagoria of gore he rested not too much. This is marathon
mark monday
Jun 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
'tis the season...


 photo tumblr_kzco60dIVH1qzb1rlo1_r1_500_zps9a7b99e2.png

yes i know that Mr. Donatien-Alphonse-Francois de Sade was all about the freedom of the spirit and the power of the mind to free itself from all fetters, and that those are the underlying themes of all of his works... ugh, who cares? too much genital mutilation and too much shit-eating does not make me want to embrace freedom, it makes me want to lock people up!

i loathed the Pasolini adaptation, Salo. pictured above.

on the other hand, the Peter Brook
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
A long disgusting book. Granted that this is well-written and the author wrote this for patriotic reason, I still don't like this book.

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) wrote 120 Days of Sodom to disgust the French people against the corruption in the government of King Louis XIV. Sade was an French aristocrat, revolutionary, writer and a libertine, i.e., one that devoid of moral restraints. This book, 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings is an erotic book with his philosop
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: stevenmoore
Only one essential is missing from our happiness--pleasure through comparison, a pleasure which can only be born from the sight of the unhappy, and we see none of that breed here It's at the sight of the man who isn't enjoying what I have and who is suffering that I know the charm of being able to say: I am happier than he is. Wherever men are equal and differences do not exist, happiness will never exist.

Following such ill-found advice I am left unable to rate or compare 120 Days of Sodom with
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teenagers desperately wanting to appear subversive.
Chances are, if you own this book, you've never finished it. And the reason why isn't because you were disturbed or offended or shocked, but that by about Day 35, you had become so completely deadened, you just quit. Reading this book is a litmus test that proves how quickly you become inured to graphic violence and once you do, how tedious it becomes. The effect is kind of like watching a "A Clockwork Orange" backwards. Or listening to adolescent boys trying to one-up each other with gross-out ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
(This was not exactly new reading for me, but I just wrote an essay largely on it, hence the 'date read' above.

Also, trigger warning. I quote from Sade, albeit briefly. Quote is in italics, so you can skip it if you so choose.)

Sometimes I think of myself in opposition to Sade.

This is too simple, of course. I can and have defended Sade on a variety of occasions, in a variety of different contexts; I don't think he should be censored, and in fact am quite glad that his works have been published an
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The book presents one of the many ways men imagine heaven to be.

Four wealthy men (the "heroes") assemble a cast of former prostitutes (who'll serve as their storytellers and supervisors to their sex slaves), cooks (to prepare their meals), servants (to attend their other needs), beautiful boys/men and girls/women (some of them their very own daughters/wives, a majority kidnapped from various places), for the sole purpose of giving themselves pleasure.

Heaven for 120 days. Marquis de Sade wrote th
Dec 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Veronica Moser fans
The Marquis de Sade was an extraordinarily interesting historical figure, but as far as I can tell, he wasn't actually a very good writer. Admittedly, this is the only one of his books I've read, so maybe I'm missing out on something, but if this is how he always writes, he makes Stephenie Meyer look like Shakespeare. I managed to get through the entire thing, but only because I made myself. I was probably unconsciously punishing myself for something, because NO ONE should ever do that. Not only ...more
Dec 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: french
Read as the result of being downloaded online with two giggling friends. Oh, the youth of today! Nothing good was on telly. The giggling didn't last long, however; this is the fastest way to desensitise yourself in the most boring way ever. This is the setup: A group of people listen to some old slag relating tales of her misspent youth, then they go off and have some jolly japes reenacting her sage wisdom. Rinse and repeat. It's dull after a few pages. You'd think for someone locked in the Bast ...more
Todd Crawford
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What's more shocking than the exploits of the novel's libertine protagonists is Sade's philosophy which precedes his time with musings to make Freud jealous long before his term. This book is not written for the casual reader, or many people at all, but rather the cancers on the face of the planet such as de Sade himself, who live Nietzsche's laws to the fullest, and expect nothing of life but to usurp it and its inhabitants of all pleasure. Although it is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, it is ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: The Woodchipper

I bought this book a while ago, and a couple weeks ago I decided to pick it up and read it... I did, but with much skippage for sanity's sake.

Now, I will admit that I have a bit of a morbid fascination with someone who has a term for a deviant trait named after them. I picked up this book thinking that, yes, it would be unconventional and probably not exactly pleasant reading material, but also that it would be something of a look into the man himself, even if it is fiction... Oh, let us h
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is disgusting, perverted, horrific, and violent. I love it. Sadly, de Sade only completed the first few chapters, and the majority of the work is in note-form.

The plot overview is simple. For five months, from November till March, four wealthy perverts and a host of other characters, including eight boys and eight girls (aged 12 to 15), eight studs, who are chosen by the size of their genitalia, the daughters of the four main characters, and four old, ugly women.

From month to month, t
Michaela Lugo
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
After Watching Quills I was engulfed in the character Geoffry Rush played, the character being the Marquis De Sade. After some quick IMDB research I learned the Marquis De Sade was in fact real and wrote many stories. I knew I had to read them. I ran to the library and picked up 120 Days of Sodom. First, I read a few essays preceding the story, all focusing on the Marquis from different angles, one being biographical and psychological, another focusing on him from a religious perspective another ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Radicals, libertines, philosophers
Recommended to Michael by: Robert Anton Wilson
Viewed as a critical introduction to a historically significant thinker, this is at least a four-star book. It places the Marquis within his literary, philosophical, and political context well, and gives several viewpoints (including his own) on his importance and originality. As a work of literature, the main work “The 120 Days of Sodom,” is probably one of the most difficult pieces of “narrative” (and I use that term loosely) to read that one could choose. In terms of enjoyment, I could probab ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
120 Days of Sodom was devised as a literary encyclopedia of aberrant sexual practices, but it was never finished. De Sade, imprisoned in the Bastille, wrote the first of four parts, but was removed from prison before he could finish the remaining three-fourths, which survive only as an outline.

Unfortunately, most of what he completed focuses on coprophagy. Unless you're heavily into handling and eating feces, this quickly gets monotonous, since no one enjoys hearing other people drone on about t
Aug 24, 2011 rated it liked it
"The 120 Days of Sodom," boasts the broadest collection of disgusting sexual practices and perversions that I have ever read. However, that's exactly what de Sade set out to write, so that's hardly a damning statement. The gist is simple- four powerful, dissolute men abduct a group of beautiful children, hire various male and female prostitutes, and lock themselves and their daughters in a citadel where they, guided by the day's prostitute-storyteller, ritualistically perform as many outrages as ...more
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
It is worthwhile to skim a few passages online to see what the fuss is about. But it is extremely repetitive, so there's no reason to buy the book and actually read it. His prose still has the ability to shock. Even the "Saw" movies owe a debt to him:

"He chains one of the girl's hands and secures the chain to the wall; he leaves her thus, without food. Near her is a large knife, and just beyond her reach sits an excellent meal: if she wishes to eat, she has but to cut through her forearm; otherw
Feb 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
This was a class assignment (again for Lit. History). I don't believe I would have ever deliberately sought out this book otherwise (curiosity killed the cat, you know). The Marquis de Sade is disgusting, evil, grody, and....highly detailed. I think that those who overuse the word 'sadistic' should read the book and rethink most of the things they have said.
Vince Darcangelo

Until recently, I’d never given much thought to 120 Days. It was one of those books that remains a cultural point of reference, and as a classic of transgressive fiction, I knew it was something I should peruse someday. But, well, it didn’t really strike me as a must-read.
Certainly, nothing penned in the 1700s could still be shocking today.
Then two years ago I read Georges Bataille’s essay on de Sade in Literature and Evil. Then I watched the film translat
Dominique Perregaux
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book around 15 years ago. It is a compelling and frightening book as it list most of sexual deviance. If someone is interested in core SM, then this is the book to read instead of 50 shade of...

The history of the book is fascinating. Sade wrote it while jailed at the Bastille, on a long scroll. When the French revolution broke, Sade was freed with all other prisoners. His liberation was so chaotic, confused and fast that he could not take his scroll (it took him years to write the ma
Christopher Roberts
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: erotic
So I am giving this two stars because there are other things in the book that are interesting and worth reading, if for no other reason but to get a perspective on De Sade's thinking.

The best thing in the book, by far, is Simone Beauvoir's essay, "Should We Burn De Sade" where she effectively makes De Sade seem ten times more interesting than actually reading him would be. De Sade's whole thing is that morality is a sham and that the seeking of pleasure is the only thing worth anything in the w
Adrian Colesberry
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Starts off as an interesting read, but turns out to be a mere monotonous curiosity. The 120 Days of Sodom itself gets really repetitious and dull very fast. There are some amount of Sade's philosophy scattered about, which make it somewhat interesting and it starts to get truly horrific and disturbing in the third and fourth part, but had Sade finished this (which would then be about 2000 pages long) it would have been very tedious to get through. This kind of maximalist perversity and cruelty o ...more
Kit Fox
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bit of a misnomer here. I'd more accurately call it "The 30 Days of PissingShittingandFarting Followed by 90 Days of Inquisition-era Torture Porn." Honestly, this just went from 0 to gross-as-hell in a few pages and stayed that way at the point of sheer and utter monotony. Wasn't even naughty, just boring, unrelenting, and annoying. If this were the only volume of de Sade's works that survived, I think the literary world would've been all, "Yeah, he's a real dirty birdie and not a very good writ ...more
Isabella Diana
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh guys I will speak in french because my english is very bad, but I really like this book and I assume it! J'ai vraiment adoré ce livre, on voit bien la mentalité d'un psychopathe sexuel enfermé dans une prison ou il ne peut accéder à ses orgies quotidiennes. Ce livre est une sorte de défoulement de sa pensée , comme si il vomissait toutes ses envies à travers sa plume. Faut penser que ce livre a été écrit en prison où est-ce qu'il n'avait que sa pensée et ses fantasmes pour se ...réconforter.F ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I know, I know...this book has a bad reputation. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am all about freedom of speech, and this book has long been suggested as a prime example of why some people believe that we need censorship (which makes me love it even more). Please note, though, that this is an extremely graphic book and you may want to take very cautious measures whenever reading it. Once you start reading it, it's not something that can easily be forgotten.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
While this book is kind of like -- rather, is -- pornographic candy for the pathological, sometimes my perverted sadomasochistic mind needs to be fed. And this is what I feed it. Fucking twisted shit. 5 of 5 because it truly is amazing in just how twisted and wrong it is -- like a pile of mutilated dead babies would be amazing. NSFW!
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An astonishing companion to Blood Meridian. Same archons. Same brutality. Same "ambition, vanity, and lust for dominion." Same setting: Anareta.

Both appallingly didactic.

Easy to read as a metaphorical gathering of Tea Partiers/fiscal conservatives/Wisconsin Republicans/etc.
Tristan Goding
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
The self-proclaimed "most impure tale that has ever been told", THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM is, off the top of my head, the most disgusting thing I've ever read and I hate it immensely. I cannot even get past the third day without feeling my stomach lurch. The person who can read this book (which eventually dissolves into an almost literal laundry list of perversions, sexual deformities, and mutilation due to the fact that de Sade was unable to finish this work while imprisoned), from start to finish ...more
Marianna Glez.
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
THIS IS INSANE AS FUCK!! Ahora me explicó por que Marques de sade paso su vida en carceles y manicomios, solo alguien con unq mente enferma y retorcida puede leer esto. Es desagradable, grotesco, asqueroso, perturbador en un grado inimaginable. Comprendo y respeto los gustos y la sexualidad de cada quien pero para todo hay limites y los personajes de esta historia no los conocen. Contiene cosas como Pedofilia, Incesto, Sodomia, Necrofilia, Zoofilia, Asesinato, Torturas, Violaciones. No entiendo ...more
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Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author. He is best known for his ...more
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“Sexual pleasure is, I agree, a passion to which all others are subordinate but in which they all unite.” 130 likes
“Beauty belongs to the sphere of the simple, the ordinary, whilst ugliness is something extraordinary, and there is no question but that every ardent imagination prefers in lubricity, the extraordinary to the commonplace” 89 likes
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