top of page

Marquis De Sade - Writer

Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade, commonly known as Marquis De Sade but also as D.A.F. De Sade was a French writer, philosopher, poet, playwright, essayist, aristocrat and revolutionary politician, delegate of the National Convention and known for his numerous libertine and gothic-horror-themed literary works, centered on a mixture of violence and often deviant sexuality and with often grotesque and surreal results.


His name is at the origin of the term sadism, that is the pleasure of causing pain and suffering, an attitude that emerges from his novels, centered on the description of transgressive and perverse sexual behaviors, those that will be called "sadistic", as well as on scenes of explicit violence and on the philosophical themes of the pursuit of pleasure, consisting in satisfying the natural instincts (in Sade often deriving from the exercise of cruelty for sexual purposes), of atheism and rejection of any form of constituted authority. Together with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (hence masochism), Sade's name gave rise to the word sadomasochism, often associated with his novels. [1] The work, poetics and thought of the Marquis de Sade made him considered an exponent of the extremist wing of libertinism, as well as of the most radical, atheistic, materialistic and anticlerical Enlightenment.


Belonging to a family of ancient nobility, starting from 1800 and until his death fourteen years later, he renounced any noble title and simply signed himself «D.-A.-F. Sade ». For the revolutionary period he also used the pseudonym Louis Sade. He was the author of a whole range of erotic literature classics, plays, various texts and philosophical essays, many of which were written while in prison.


Sade spent many years in an asylum towards the end of his life, perhaps suffering from sadism as well as a sort of what would later be called borderline disorder and sporadically antisocial behavior.


During his life he was accused (with the consent of his family, especially his mother-in-law) of various crimes, such as sexual violence, sodomy, attempts at poisoning and immoral conduct (linked to the events called "Arcueil affair" or case of Rose Keller, and "Marseille affair"), but was found guilty only of "libertinage" (ie illegal and improper sexual conduct) and production of pornographic material after being sentenced to death in absentia in the first instance. He was pursued first by the monarchical regime, then, as a noble, by the French Revolution (to which he had adhered) and finally also by the Napoleonic government as disliked as an author by Bonaparte himself.


"The 120 days of Sodom, or the school of libertinage" the novel written by the Marquis de Sade in 1785 in which the author tells of a group of aristocrats who, locked up in a castle, engage in orgies and perversions of all kinds is officially French national property.

In the novel Sade illustrates 600 types of pleasures listed in 150 stories ranging from simple passions, to double passions, to criminal ones to homicidal ones. Among the "passions" we find zoophilia, rapes, flagellations, incest up to mutilations and practices that lead to death.

The novel is inspired by the famous film by Pier Paolo Pasolini "Salò or the 120 days of Sodom" whose protagonists are, however, four representatives of the powers of the Republic of Salò.







Credits images: from web

bottom of page