The Marquis De Sade: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192804693

John Phillips
160 Pages
113 x 175 mm
Pub date
Jul 2005
Very Short Introductions


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  • Highlights the fact that Sade is studied not just as a pornographer but for his important contributions to literature, philosophy and the arts
  • Reviews his novels and lesser-known works, and their reception throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, taking account of current theoretical debates
  • Explains his profound challenge to the taboos of religious morality, and shows how his work can be seen as an expression of the cult of the body
  • This will be the most reliable and best informed introduction to his work

Were it not for the Marquis de Sade's explicit use of language and complete disregard for the artificially constructed taboos of a religious morality he despised, the novelty and profundity of his thought, and above all, its fundamental modernity, would have long since secured him a place alongside the greatest authors and thinkers of the European Enlightenment. 
This Very Short Introduction aims to disentangle the 'real' Marquis de Sade from his mythical and demonic reputation of the past two hundred years. Phillips examines Sade's life and work: his libertine novels, his championing of atheism, and his uniqueness in bringing the body and sex back into philosophy.


1: Beyond the Myth: The real Marquis de Sade
2: Man of Letters
3: Martyr of Atheism
4: Sade and the French Revolution
5: Theatres of the Body
6: Apostle of Freedom
Further Reading

About the author: 

John Phillips is Professor of French Literature and Culture at London Metropolitan University. He is the author of a number of books on French literature, including Forbidden Fictions: Pornography and Censorship in Twentieth-Century French Literature and Sade: The Libertine Novels. He is currently co-editing The Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature for Routledge.

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