Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
de Sade, Marquis

Generally used form of the name of Donatien-Alphonse-François, Comte de Sade (1740-1814), French writer and pornographer commemorated in the word "sadism". Among his fantasies of Sex, torture and self-destruction are Justine, ou les malheurs de la vertu (1791; trans Helen Weaver as Justine, or The Misfortunes of Virtue 1966) – adapted as a graphic novel by Guido Crepax – and the unfinished Les 120 journées de Sodome, ou l'école du libertinage (written 1784; 1931-1935 3 vols; trans Austryn Wainhouse and Richard Seaver in The 120 Days of Sodom, and Other Writings coll 1966), with its maniacal determination to catalogue and classify – and describe in relentless detail – exactly 600 perversions. MDS is occasionally invoked in fantasy as an incarnation of Evil or emissary of Satan; the Horror Movie The Skull (1965), based on a story by Robert Bloch, takes it for granted that MDS's skull will exert a corrupting influence on its owners, while Colin Wilson's The Mind Parasites (1967) hints at his Possession by Cthulhu-Mythos entities. His repeated literary attempts to justify his desires are (fictionally) continued during Timeslip visits to this century in Jeremy Reed's When the Whip Comes Down: A Novel about de Sade (1992). [DRL]

further reading: The Marquis de Sade: A Short Account of His Life and Work (1934; exp vt The Life and Ideas of the Marquis de Sade 1953) by Geoffrey Gorer; essays on MDS in The Bit Between My Teeth (coll 1965) by Edmund Wilson (1895-1972).

Donatien-Alphonse-François, Comte de Sade


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.