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Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) was a French aristocrat, revolutionary, politician and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author. He is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting bizarre sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality, and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law.

Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and in an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life; eleven years in Paris (10 of which were spent in the Bastille) a month in Conciergerie, two years in a fortress, a year in Madelonnettes, three years in Bicêtre, a year in Sainte-Pélagie, and 13 years in the Charenton asylum. During the French Revolution he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. Many of his works were written in prison. The term “sadism” is derived from his name.


The excerpts featured on this recording are read quite artfully by Patrick Magee, who played Sade in the 1967 film Sarat/Sade. You may also recognize him as Mr. Frank Alexander, aka the old dude, form A Clockwork Orange. Here’s a couple of scenes from these films which depict the on-screen cajones of Mr. Magee.

This second video will give you a good grasp of Sade’s writing style and beliefs.

What is strange, and worth investigating, is how, given the neglect, the quasi-total condemnation of his writings–how has Sade survived? What is there in his work that has caused it to endure. It’s eroticism? To be sure. Its shock qualities, based on a philosophy of negation which, as the editors note, no “reasonable man” can understand, much less accept? No doubt. Its imaginative power, which is of such scope and magnitude as to create an entire universe, a self-c0ntained world not of human comedy but of human (and super-human) tragedy, surreal rather than real, a writhing, insensate universe at the pole opposite Gethsemane and Golgotha? Yes, that too. And yet, to date, we have preferred to immure the man and ignore his writings, fearing his absolute vision.

To profit from that extraordinary vision, however, we do not have to subscribe to it. But if we ignore it, we do so at our own risk. For to ignore Sade is to choose not to know part of ourselves, that inviolable part which lurks within each of us and which, eluding the light of reason, can, we have learned in this century, establish absolute evil as a rule of conduct and threaten to destroy the world.

-From the Publisher’s Preface to The Marquis de Sade, Vol. 1

You can read the rest of this preface and full works of the Marquis de Sade online here: Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, & Other Writings

>>>Click here to download The Marquis De Sade read by Patrick Magee on 320 kbps mp3s


1. Justine (A Selection) (20:10)

2 A Letter from Prison to His Wife (8:00)

3. The Mystified Magistrate (28:00)

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