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 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 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade relates the story of four wealthy men who enslave 24 mostly teenaged victims and sexually torture them while listening to stories told by old prostitutes. The book was written while Sade was imprisoned in the Bastille and the manuscript was lost during the storming of the Bastille. Sade wrote that he “wept tears of blood” over the manuscript’s loss. Many consider this to be Sade crowning achievement.
Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?
Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!
In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell.