There existed a time (mere decades ago) when sex in literary books occurred behind closed doors. Yet pornographic material and erotica writing have always been available, despite colossal overtures to keep it from the public’s hands.
In the following weeks, I’ll be featuring scandalous books (complete with hot, steamy excerpts). I hope you enjoy reading about the authors and their famous, or perhaps, infamous sordid pasts.
Donatien Alphonse François de Sade was born in Paris into an aristocratic family. He was the only surviving child of Jean-Baptiste de Sade and his wife Marie-Eléonore de Maillé, a distant cousin of the Prince de Conde.
Here’s a brief overview of his life:
* youth: 1740 – 1762 – born to nobility and goes to war
* marriage: 1763 – 1771 – an arranged marriage against his will leads to many affairs
* prison: 1772 – 1790 – set-up and sent to prison by his mother-in-law
* Literary works: 1791 – 1803 – the revolution sets him free but his writings are considered dangerous
* asylum: 1804 – 1814 – judged insane and dangerous because of his novels and plays, he finishes his life in an asylum
The erotic writings of de Sade gave rise to the term sadism – enjoyment of cruelty – which first made it into a dictionary in 1834. Sade’s works have been seen as exploration of sexual and political freedom. On the other hand he was a multiple rapist, torturer, and proto-murderer. Numerous biographies have been written about Sade. Literary scholars have dissected and analyzed both the man and his writing. Fascination, if not obsession, have led many on a lengthy quest to determine what influenced not only his licentious writing, but what made the man tic.
The Marquis spent 29 years of his life imprisoned for various infractions, including sodomy, the lethal poisoning of whores, sexual abuse of minors, and other grievous offenses for which he was never put on trial. During his lengthy imprisonments, his two solaces were his writing and the letters he penned to his devoted wife Renée and his valet, Carteron.
A true atheist, Sade accepted his debauchery as human nature or the evil that all men are inherently drawn to.
“Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.” Sade, in a letter to his wife, written in prison, November 1783
“Believe me, that is how one ought to pass one’s days. And when the author of nature on the one hand created wine and on the other cunts, you can be very sure the intention was that we enjoy them.” Sade in ending a letter to his valet Carteron from prison.
And yet, behind those cold, stone walls Sade penned most of his literary masterpieces (which many claimed would be the talk of the 18th Century).
“It was in prison, cut off from the enactment of sexual cruelty that Sade became a writer: ” He was anxious to shine primarily as a dramatist, but he lacked any real interest in moral conflict and resolution,and he had no gift for characterization. He really had only one theme- his own predilections and their justification as a rational philosophy” (credit: Edmund Wilson)
Justine, de Sade’s most famous work, depicts graphically sexual encounters of a poor young girl. de Sade wrote an early version of the novel in the Bastille and completed it in 1791 while free. In de Sade’s philosophy God is evil and the misfortunes suffered by Justine are a result from denying this truth. de Sade himself declared Justine a work “capable of corrupting the devil” and denied his authorship. de Sade’s philosophy was simple: “if you enjoy wickedness, it shows that Nature intended you to be wicked, and it would be wicked not to be.”
As mentioned above, numerous writers and artists, have been both repelled and fascinated by de Sade. Most of Sade’s works contain explicit and often repetitive descriptions of rape and countless sexual perversions, often involving violence and transcending the boundaries of the possible.
Excerpt below from MY SECRET LIFE, Volume Three, By Anonymous, AMSTERDAM, PRIVATELY PRINTED 1888. (Anonymous was the Marquis de Sade)
Warning: Intense, graphic language
In admiration of her cunt and its surroundings I held a candle for a moment between her thighs. “Hold your quim open,—do,—do.” Her hand came down, the fore and middle-finger went on either side of the split, and distended the lips, showed the red lining, a clitoris, small, and nice-looking, and small nymphae sloping down to the narrow carmine darkness, closing up gradually and tightly between her bum-cheeks, squeezed up and closed by the weight of her body pressing up her bum the bed.
“I can bear being looked at”, said she. “Then open your legs wider,—wider dear.” Wider they went. Candle in one hand I pushed the finger of the other up her cunt. Then all delight of the eye was merged in the maddening desire to fuck. Putting the candle somewhere it fell down, and was extinguished; at the same moment slipping my prick to the opening, with a smooth glide up it went. Before I had moved my prick half a minute I was spending, before I had had a wriggle in her, before I had well clasped her buttocks, I was leaning over her sighing, and had finished before I had well began. I now think I feel my sensation up her as I write this, of the rapturous smoothing of her buttocks as I finished. Some women make me recollect them thus.
PROJECT GUTENBERG – http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30360