THE LIFE AND IDEAS OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE by Geoffrey Gorer

THE LIFE AND IDEAS OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This study, briefly of the life, extensively of the writings, of de Sade was written originally in the '30's, republished in England in 1952, and appears here for the first time where there is very little available on this progenitor of a tremendous body of clinical psychopathology and a phase of perversion to which more wrongly, than rightly, his name was applied. While the principal intention of Gorer's study is to permit the reader to judge de Sade by his own words, it also isolates the man from the popular connotations: he was not monstrously profane or obscene, but a conscientiously experimental roue whose alleged crimes were grossly distorted and whose participation in two scandals (charged as sodomy and poison) led to an excessive penance, close to thirty years in prison. True, he was a wastrel and a libertine, but he also loved two women well and devotedly. Gorer's interest in de Sade is chiefly as a precursor (de Les 120 Journees de Sodome was the first psychopathia sexualis) and he is carefully studied here as a philosopher; as a religious (more than sexual) obsessive; as a social and political thinker, planner and reformer; as a moralist; and as a sexologist researcher who observed and catalogued a fantastic range of experience and equated the purpose of life with the pursuit of pleasure. Thus, the man excoriated and excommunicated by the world in which he lived, now receives a posthumous recognition for what he contributed more than a hundred years ahead of his time. A serious, considered, revisionary ew.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1963
ISBN: 1445525631
Publisher: Norton