The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), real name: Donatien François, was a writer, philosopher and criminal. He was infamous for his libertine sexuality. At various times, he raped and tortured men, women and children. His best-known books reflected his life, blending erotica and violence. They included Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man; The 120 Days of Sodom; Histories, Stories and Fables; Justine; Aline and Valcour; Philosophy in the Bedroom; Juliette; and Secret History of Isabelle of Bavaria, Queen of France. Most of them were published anonymously. As a result of his actions and writings, he spent 32 years in prisons or insane asylums. (Many of his works were written there). His name, of course, inspired the noun “sadist”.
I am appalled at the Marquis de Sade’s books. In those that I have read all gentleness and love are absent. With 120 Day of Sodom, for instance, De Sade wanted to write “the most impure tale that has ever been written since the world exists”. His works have an abstract value –as a sort of turning the world upside down –but they also inspired Nietzsche, who in turn laid one of the philosophical foundations for Nazism. What a waste of paper.