120 Days of Sodom, The

Marquis de Sade
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 crowing acheivment.


Reviewed: 2016-06-02
I decided on pure whim to make a go at this and [b:Justine|796267|Justine|Marquis de Sade|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1178444302s/796267.jpg|13268607] last year. (They're both on that silly [b:1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die|16047158|1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die|Peter Boxall|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348601840s/16047158.jpg|814053] list I'm sort of picking off of.) Honestly, I didn't make it past the opening with this. I got to the guy who had several inches of filth caked about his nether regions due to hatred of bathing*, gagged, and quit. Didn't even make it to the torture.

While researching some banned book issues recently, I came across this from Wikipedia:

Beginning in 1763, Sade lived mainly in or near Paris. Several prostitutes there complained about mistreatment by him and he was put under surveillance by the police, who made detailed reports of his activities. [...] The first major scandal occurred on Easter Sunday in 1768, in which Sade procured the sexual services of a woman, Rose Keller, a widow-beggar who approached him for alms. He told her she could make money by working for him-she understood her work to be that of a housekeeper. At his chateau at Arcueil, de Sade ripped her clothes off, threw her on a divan and tied her by the four limbs. Then he whipped her, made various incisions on her body into which he poured hot wax, and then beat her. He repeated this process seven or eight times, when she finally escaped by climbing out of a second-floor window and running away. [...] In 1772, an episode in Marseille involved the non-lethal poisoning of prostitutes with the supposed aphrodisiac Spanish fly and sodomy with Latour, his manservant. That year, the two men were sentenced to death in absentia for sodomy and the poisoning.

So next time you see someone holding the Marquis up as some sort of misunderstood antihero, maybe remind them that in real life (not just book life) he was a rich dude who got away with the non-consensual torture of beggars and prostitutes because of his station in society. Sometimes depraved is just depraved, and literature isn't all that literary.

*gross stuff spoiler tagged, in case you happen to be eating when you see this
Item Posts
No posts