Mr Seney reviews a short novel by the infamous as well as insane, pervert and left-wing Revolutionary, the Marquis de Sade.
"The Marquise de Gange" is a short French novel written by the infamously perverted Marquis de Sade near the end of his life in 1814. It focuses on a beautiful and charming young royal-woman victimized by a corrupt clergyman and others for financial and, it is strongly implied, sexual reasons. Not nearly as rapacious as any of de Sade's earlier writings, it remains interesting as a period piece even if not interesting in itself.
"Edgy" de Sade fans must find this one an embarrassment indeed. It is full of breathless exclamations and drop-your-hankies swooning and "My lady! My lady!" shouting. As de Sade was institutionalized and under observation while he wrote this, he couldn't "be himself" and had to disguise the "ravishing" of "m'lady" behind strained melodrama. Some of it might strike some readers as campy and be rather amusing, but if this is not the case then there could be problems.
De Sade was also here forced to make moral speeches that are about as sincere as the fox trying to talk his way into the hen house. And he had to tack on several examples of justice that must have made him grit his teeth.
In my view Sade was no better when he was "unrestrained." I never lasted long when trying to read his boring screeds in college, and those were his "most notorious" books like "The 120 Days of Sodom" and such.
I have long believed that when people actually read de Sade at all, it is mostly so that they can brag that they've read him and appear controversial and interesting. It seems that Sade's writing, like most everything else with him, was solely for his own gratification. He himself could not likely have cared less about what his modern fans might think. His books display this solopsism in their own texts, which seem destined even in English translation only for the titillation of their writer, albeit in such a formal way that they are stultifyingly dull at the same time.
Homosexual director Pier Pasolini much later made a movie called "Salo" out of de Sade's scribbling. Disgusting as it was and full of dirty perversion and teen-abusing sodomy, it was still better than its source material and seemed to be saying something about authoritarian government (it may have said things about Pasolini too, since he ended up murdered following a homosexual assignation not long after the film's completion).
De Sade was a spoiled child of the rich and the royal, to the point of psychopathia. Despite attempts by libertines to downplay them, it is clear that Sade committed numerous crimes involving the kidnap and torture of poor and working-class young women, crimes which mirror those in his novels. In addition he was a bisexual, a pederast, an atheist and several other "-ists" running through a catalogue of pathologies.
De Sade was bad enough that even his family's power could not protect him, and he was locked up in the Bastille jail. The "French Revolution" freed Sade, but it wasn't that long before everyone saw the mistake in that, and he was placed in the Charenton mental asylum for the rest of his life. Undaunted, de Sade continued to write plays and stage them in the asylum with his fellow inmates as actors!
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