MARQUIS DE SADE: HIS LIFE AND WORK
THEORY AND HISTORY OF SADISM
According to the Marquis de Sade there is no more immediate relation than that between passion and cruelty. Passion extinguishes sympathy in man and makes the heart cold and hard. (Juliette I, 248). At the same time stronger and stronger charms are necessary to satisfy the growing passion. The nerves need stronger impulses to be awakened and thrilled. It is undoubtedly true that pain excites the nerves more than joy and hence awakens a more lively thrill. The pain of others causes an extraordinary excitation in the libertine. Nature never speaks to us about others but only about ourselves. There is nothing more egotistic than her voice. She praises the search for pleasure and is indifferent if one or the other is agreeable.
This feeling of pleasure from cruelty is inherent in human beings. The child breaks his toy, bites the breast of his wet nurse, strangles the bird, etc. Cruelty is not a result of degeneration since it is found especially among primitive races, but, rather the energy of man which civilization has not destroyed and hence more a virtue than a vice.
The cruelty of women is much more intensive than that of man, a result of their greater energy and greater sensitivity of their organs. Their heated imagination makes them furious and criminal. Would you learn about them? Tell them of a horrible spectacle, a duel, an execution, a fire, a slaughter, disease and death, etc., and see how they flock to the scene. Further proofs for the passionate cruelty of women are given by their preference for poisoning and flagellation.
Our nervous system is so wonderfully formed that convulsions, fits and bloodsheds excite us and consequently are pleasant. This is even felt by persons who fall into swoons at the sight of blood, their own or somebody's else's. It is indeed declared that a swoon is the highest power of passion (Philosophy in the Boudoir I, 148-158, Juliette, II, 94-102).
Human flesh is the best nourishment for the libertine since it assists in building rich and healthy spermatozoa and quickly replenishes the supply. Who once has eaten this sweet food forever sings its praises. Bread, on the other hand, is the most indigestible and unhealthy food and weakens and unsettles the body. Hence tyrants feed their staves with water and bread (Juliette II, 323 ff.). Minski especially attributed his strength to his dinners of human flesh (Juliette III, 313).
Closely bound with this anthropophagy is the pleasure received from separate pieces of the body, a kind of anthropophagic fetishism. So the buttocks of the people killed at the orgies were cut off and hung on the walls to serve as passionate excitations (Juliette II, 231). Silvia rips out and eats the genitals of her victim (Juliette VI, 235). Clairwil also uses the cut-off member of the monk, Claude, for her degenerate desires (Juliette III, 101) and explains that that object is so much in her fantasy that she is certain that it will be found in her brain after her death, although in life she only wants it in two different places, back and front (Juliette III, 154). This anthropophagic woman drinks the blood and eats the testicles of the boys she murdered (Juliette III, 72). She also tore their hearts out and used them as phalluses (Juliette III, 252). Minski, the robber at Brisa Testa's, is also a confirmed anthropophagist (Juliette III, 313, etc.).
Hypochorematophily plays a great rôle in de Sade's works. Saint Florent and Rodin find great satisfaction in watching the act of defecation (Justine I, 136 and 304). Mondor, Saint Fond and many others declare it their favorite food. The husband of St. Ange prefers the act in os (Philosophy in the Boudoir I, 92). Juliette eulogizes: "People are deceived about the excrement of our bowels. It is not unhealthy and is besides very pleasant. One accustoms oneself so easily to its odor! And it's most delicious! The most piquant savor! Of course, in the beginning one must influence his imagination somewhat to this direction. But when one has once reached that degree it becomes a highly joyous and exciting pleasure" (Juliette I, 289). Sexual hypochorematophily has nothing in common with the lunatics who cover themselves with filth. Indeed this strange monomania forms the best proof for our assertion that these conditions may be present in perfectly healthy persons, as is also described by de Sade. Taxil and Tarnowsky give detailed accounts of the medical differences of the reactions of the insane, as well as admitting that they found this practice was not restricted to the madmen.
Krafft Ebing is greatly indebted to de Sade, for the Marquis assembled and described almost all the possible sexuo-pathologic types in his novels. There can be no doubt that the sexual perversions he described were actual accounts of real persons.
All the senses served de Sade to excite the sexual feelings. Let us begin with the ear. There is also a word -- sadism! According to Dolmance it is pleasant and exciting to use strong-sounding words of lewd significance in the delirium of passion because it increases the imaginative ability. Endless combinations were sought to discover which gave the greatest pleasure. These people used this vocabulary in polite and genteel society and received great pleasure from shock and shame of the others. Every conversation was spiced with slang and obscenity. Madame St. Ange in the midst of an orgy called out: "Come, let us blaspheme, my friends," and utilized the opportunity to shout at the silent Eugenie: "Swear! you little whore, swear!" (Philosophy in the Boudoir I, 125 and 129).
The eye, of course, has its part in sexual pleasure. Alberti delighted in seeing black women next to white because the contrast heated him (Juliette VI, 238). Great value is placed on the decoration of the rooms so that everything might add to the increase of pleasure (Juliette II, 231). The voyeurs are also richly represented. Saint Fond is proud of his "high art of spurring his passions by an industrious abstinency" and therefore sees to it that there is a long interval between coitions. Raimondi is another such voyeur who is satisfied with the bare sight (Juliette VI, 150).
The sense of smell is excited by the number of perfumes. In the "Society of the Friends of Crime" all participants in the orgies were cleaned and perfumed by young girls and boys (Juliette III, 30). Rabelais described in Gargantua the custom of both parties perfuming themselves prior to coition. The odor of women's armpits is especially exhilarating as is that of the fires (Juliette III, 54). A bishop has his face washed with urine (Juliette III, 51).
Taste also is made good use of. Not only faeces but urine and spermatozoa are swallowed (Juliette I, 172). The lécheurs and gamahucheurs belong to this category as do the numerous tribadic cunnilinguists (e.g. Juliette III, 55; VI, 152). Dolmance is an individual very active in this direction.
Touch is almost always used as a preliminary to an orgy. By tâter and claquer of the different parts of the body both parties are brought to the highest degrees of preliminary pleasure.
From the colorful number of the other sexual types, partly already described, we mention only the most notable. Exhibitionism is preached by Dolmance who tells Eugenie to shamelessly uncover all her charms to the world, how to lift her dress up, etc. (Philosophy in the Boudoir I, 147). Saint Fond recommends to men and women clothing that reveal the privates (Juliette II, 197). The satisfaction of cruel desires is achieved by decapitation, quartering, wheel, fire, mad animals, hanging, crucification, etc. Dorval performed a mock execution (Juliette I, 225-230). Another has a mock execution performed on him as a kind of symbolic masochism. Torture is also applied to many victims and flagellation is seemingly the breath of life to de Sade's heroes and heroines. To this category also belongs the monomania of venaesectio and incisio (Justine III, 223).
Zoophilia was highly praised by de Sade as a sexual refinement. "The rooster-cock is delicious but one must wring its neck at the exact moment of the crisis" (Juliette I, 333). The cock is joined in the fourth volume of Juliette with an ape, a goat, and a bulldog in order to satisfy the desires of the connoisseurs (Juliette IV, 262).
Ferdinand of Naples is a necrophile; he satisfies himself on the corpse of a page (Juliette V, 263). Even the statues are used: the statue of Venus in the Louvre (Juliette I, 333).
Finally the realization of bizarre fancies heightens sexual pleasure. Belmor binds his victims fast (Juliette III, 163), the King of Sardinia loves the enema (ibid, 54, 294). Vespoli especially loves lunatics (Juliette V, 345), a Venetian pander, menstruations (ib. VI, 147), a third the depilation of the genitals (Juliette II, 59), a fourth sticks burning candles into the openings of the body (Juliette II, 22), etc., etc., etc.
Curious natural phenomena serve to excite the passion. A eunuch, a dwarf and an hermaphrodite tempted the jaded appetites of the guests (Juliette IV, 262). The sight of great fires heated the senses (ib. IV, 258). The eruption of Aetna (Justine III, 67), of Vesuvius (Juliette VI, 35), the storm on the open sea (Juliette VI, 269) all created sexual pleasures.
Historical events were also favorite excitations. Tiberius, Nero and Theodora were imitated (Juliette V, 362; VI, 319 and 341). Orgies were celebrated in the historically famous cities and in the Temple of Venus at Baiae, etc.
The attempt of Marquis de Sade to derive the individual inclination of the characters in his novels from the physical constitution is very important from a psychiatric and anthropological viewpoint. As an example we give the description of Rodin and his sister Celestine.
"Rodin was a man of 36 years, brunette, bushy eyelashes, pleasant eyes, heroic appearance, and high stature. His whole body breathed health and, at the same time, passion." Membrum erectum valde durum erat (Justine I, 252).
"Celestine, the 30-year-old sister of Rodin, tall, thin, expressive eyes, and a sensuous appearance. She was a brunette, hirsute, had a very long clitoris, virile anus, slight bosom, passionate temperament, and cruel desires." She had tous les gouts, especially a preference for women and only gave herself to men as a pathicus (Justine I, 253).
Marquis de Sade described Celestine in the above as very hirsute. Tardieu believed that this was a characteristic of extremely erotic women. He also spoke of an abondance du système pileaux, later of a brilliant gleam of the eyes and a passionate appearance, thick red lips and a pronounced development of breasts and sexual parts. A man inflicted with satyriasis has a rigid, covetous glare, bloodshot eyes, a passionate mouth, pale face, indecent mannerism and a challenging posture.
All kinds of persons take part in the orgies in the novels of Marquis de Sade. Yet in all the wild frenzies each participant had a definite rôle assigned. Each had a task and a definite pleasure to consummate. Delbène said: "Let us bring some order in our pleasures. We shall enjoy them better if we arrange them better" (Juliette I, 6).
The tribade, Zanetti, was well experienced in the formation of such obscene groups (Juliette VI, 160). The young student Eugenie was given detailed instructions as to these arrangements by Madame St. Ange and Dolmance in that text book of sexual pleasure, Philosophy in the Boudoir. Madame de St. Ange brought Eugenie to an alcove whose walls were covered with mirrors. There she had to repeat a thousand times all the different erotic positions so that she could see with her own eyes the most appealing postures for the different types and so that the other party could be in the position to see any part of the body he desired. So the lovers saw nothing but similar groups and imitators of their own pleasures, only marvelous pictures of passion (Philosophy in the Boudoir I, 40). An especial piece was the cavalcade which the lustful monk, Clement, introduced in Justine. In this position two girls got down on all fours. Similar obscene positions are to be found on almost every page of Justine and Juliette.
At all times lying has been the steadfast associate of prostitution and all manners of sexual debaucheries. We can rightly assert that every roué is a liar and that their statements can never be relied upon. "The mania for lying," says Parent Duchatelet, "is universal among prostitutes and hence any one seeking information from them must be very suspicious about their declarations."
Behrend in addition asserted: "Prostitutes lie for the sake of lying. It does not matter whether the matter is important or not or whether the lie will injure anyone. I have even seen them lie in circumstances that were to their own disadvantage."
Almost all the heroes and heroines of de Sade's novels were experienced liars. Proficiency in lying was a condition for the initiation into the "Society of the Friends of Crime." Baron Munchausen would have tipped his hat at the lies that were told at the orgies of the club, that is if he were not otherwise distracted (Juliette III, 59).
Lying even afforded a sexual pleasure to these libertines. True, Dolmance extolled his love for truth but his statement was immediately questioned by that past-mistress of lies, Madame St. Ange. Dolmance then gayly replied: "Yes, just a couple of little lies and untruths. But that has to be in such a Society as ours where people hide their vices and only show us their virtues. It would be dangerous to be frank. For that would place one in a disadvantageous position. Hypocrisy and lying are enjoined upon us by society. No one is as corrupt as I. Yet all consider me to be a respectable man" (Philosophy in the Boudoir).
The great majority of the perverts described by de Sade in his novels are products of their environment. Most of the libertines arrived at their diverse perverse sexual pursuits from experience and the desire for "refinements." The entire Philosophy in the Boudoir was written with the purpose of instructing Eugenie in all the forms of vice and sexual perversions.
De Sade excellently described how this novice in vice eagerly and ardently heard the theories and placed them into practice. Dolmance said that the power of imagination was the prickles of pleasure, forever finding new kinds of sexual satisfaction (Philosophy in the Boudoir).
The fantasy gradually becomes receptive to ideas that originally arouse the greatest disgust in the mind and imagination. Dolmance drastically described how the young girl first exhibited the greatest distaste for paedicatio, then found more and more pleasure in it until this kind of sexual satisfaction became her especial preference.
The cynical apostle of pederasty, Dolmance, very candidly gave the reason for his preference, which we have seen was purely anatomical. The chemist, Almani, a zoöphilist, became a sexual pervert by the "study of nature" (Justine III, 67).
Only in two places have we found an indication of an hereditary nature of sexual perversion. Clement believed that it was due to the function of the organs. Hence the sexual pervert was "a sick person like an hysterical woman." He should be as little punished as any other sick persons, for he is not the master of himself. He is to be pitied not blamed. When anatomy becomes a perfect science then the connection between the constitution of man and sexual desires will he easily seen. Laws, morals, religions, paradises, hells, gods and gallows, all will collapse when it is found that the perversions are due to differences in blood, nerves and organs, factors over which man has no determining voice (Justine Il, 212-213).
Bressac believed that the pathicus was by nature entirely different from other men. His passions were "inherent as a result of an entirely different structure. It would be an arch-stupidity to punish them" (Justine I, 162-164). For a medical as well as legal discussion of the above questions we refer to Dr. Albert Moll's excellent work Perversions of the Sex Instinct.
Delbène said: "Vice should not be suppressed for it is the only fortune of our life" (Juliette I, 25). It must only be surrounded with such a mystery that will never be unraveled or detected. This mystery will lend an especial charm to vice.
Juliette was amazed at the quiet and peace at the great orgies in the "Society of the Friends of Crime," and drew the conclusion that man regarded nothing else in the world with as much care as his passions (Juliette III, 53).
Hence all orgies took place in dark, remote spots, in lonely castles, in caves, cellars, forests, mountains, near and in the sea, in torture-rooms and execution chambers. Hence the anthropophagist Minski became the "Hermit of the Apennines" and lived in a guarded and secluded house on a small island (Juliette III, 313).
Even for Dolmance there were certain things that "absolutely needed the veil" and which he hid from the eyes of the good Madame St. Ange (Philosophy in the Boudoir II, 153).
Let us first give some definitions of other authors. Lacassagne explained sadism by a "mental state" which the sexual instinct excited or satisfied under the influence of an impulse for destruction.
According to Krafft Ebing sadism is that form of perversion of the sexual life by which a person finds a sexual pleasure in causing other people pain and in using their powers upon them. He places in contradistinction to sadism, masochism (after the writer, Sacher-Masoch), the desire to be ruled, beaten and mishandled by another, giving the victim great sexual pleasure thereby. He holds that sadism and masochism are the main forms of psychosexual perversions, which may appear in the entire field of vagaries of the sexual instincts in the most different geographical regions.
Schrenck Notzing believes, however, that the differences between the active and passive roles in the novels of Marquis de Sade and Sacher-Masoch is not as sharp as Krafft Ebing declared. He deduces both concepts from a higher concept, algolagnia (algos, pain; lagnos, sexual excitation) and describes sadism as active algolagnia and masochism as passive algolagnia. According to this author there are other forms of algolagnia; the onanistic (self-mutilation, self-flagellation, etc.) the visual (sexual excitation at the sight of fights, etc.), the zoophilic and finally the ideal or symbolic algolagnia in which "pain plays the rôle for its own self without secondary significance and imaginative embellishments and without any consideration for active and passive views."
Thoinot believes that "sadism is a perversion of the sexual life which finds sexual pleasure in causing pain to others whether he himself causes the pain or whether he has some one else do it."
Eulenburg preceded the concept of Schrenck Notzing with the words lognomania (sadism) and machlomania (masochism). Later writers follow in the main the above authorities. Moll in The Perversions of the Sex Instinct gives a more complete list.
A definition of sadism that will include all forms of passive and active algolagnia, zoöphilia, necrophilia, symbolic algolagnia, etc., is essential. It should be remembered that since actual and ideal destructive processes in nature appear as causes of sexual excitation and satisfaction, such as eruptions, storms, fires, murders, etc., sadism must be defined in the following way.
Sadism is the purposively sought or accidentally presented connection of sexual excitation and pleasure with the actual or also only symbolic (ideal or illusory) occurrences of strange and terrifying events, destructive processes and actions, which threaten or destroy life, health and property of men or other living beings whereby the person receiving sexual pleasure from such events may be the originator or spectator, voluntary or involuntary.
We believe that this definition covers all cases of sadism, including word-sadism, torture, forms of rape, etc.
The most important question is: was the Marquis de Sade insane?
Only too easily, in face of the present social, political and legal opinion, will the average person assent. Yet from a cultural and medical standpoint we are fully convinced that the greatest number of sexual perverts are perfectly healthy mentally and that their perversions are due to seduction and to sexual super-excitation.
Modern studies have modified Krafft Ebing's views. Indeed, he, himself, once admitted that "the most horrible sexual madnesses are otherwise accompanied by perfect health." Moll rightly remarked that this was a tacit approval of the theory that sexual perversity was not in itself a proof of insanity.
Eulenburg also states that "the greater percentage of algolagnists are not mad in the narrower sense. They are almost all of excellent physical condition."
Two doctors have recently expressed themselves on the mental condition of de Sade, who, as we have seen, was considered by Royer Collard as quite healthy. Dr. Eulenurg states that "even the leading specialists of our time would not have declared that he was insane or at least have denied him free will." Dr. Marciat believes that Marquis de Sade "was not insane in the exact sense of the word." At the most he could be accused of "moral insanity," but only from the viewpoint of Justine and Juliette. "But it must also be remembered that Mirabeau, Musset and many others wrote obscene books." Cabanès is positive in his statement that the Marquis was sane.
Rather than moral insanity (folie morale) we believe that de Sade was inflicted with a form of perversion that may be inadequately described as "impulsive madness," proceeding from the social organism; an impulsive origin of action without a clear, definite goal.
After these preparatory orientations let us investigate the life and works of Marquis de Sade with the view of obtaining some conclusions on his mental status.
1. De Sade was a Provençal and hence had the "southern hot blood" and the passionateness of his countrymen.
2. In relation to his heredity little is demonstrable. Yet it is probable that de Sade "inherited" from his uncle an inclination for the gallant life and for writing. We know that at his return from the war at the age of 23 he had written an obscene book.
3. There are no trustworthy observations on the childhood of de Sade.
4. It is notable that de Sade spent the formative years of his life, from 17 to 23, in the war, away from home and family. It is certain that the degeneration of Marquis de Sade had its start during this period of war under the enormous moral corruption of the French army.
5. The unhappy marriage did not play the important rôle in his life that Marciat ascribed to it.
6. It is pretty certain that Marquis de Sade neither destroyed nor killed the victims at his two great scandalous affairs.
7. It is certain that the long prison sentences caused important physical and mental damages.
8. That de Sade was of a strong sexual excitability is testified by the observation of his friend by Brierre de Boismont.
9.Very notable appear some mental anomalies of his prison life: the mistrust, the lying and the raging fits at the visit of his wife.
10. After his release the Marquis appeared more tractable and showed that he had not lost all moral feeling by rescuing his parents-in-law.
11. The mere extent and conception of his chief works, Justine and Juliette are astonishing.
12. The great amount of cleverly combined details, the development of gradual dramatic action, the excellent memory and the wealth of examples all denote a great mental ability.
13. The diversity of the writings plainly indicates the influence of the time and the milieu.
14. Michelet and Taine rightly called him the "Professor of Crime." He was the theoretician of vice, inasmuch as he collected and described with faithful accuracy from his own experience and observations all the contemporary anomalies of the sexual life of his time in his main works. Marquis de Sade wrote in the form of a novel what Krafft Ebing did in his scientific work, Psychopathia Sexualis a hundred years later.
15. Thereby his works have a decided cultural and historical value since they acquaint us with all phases, nuances and characteristics of the sexual life in France in the ancien régime and in the great Revolution.
16. De Sade’s theories of vice were a product of the Revolution and found many analogies therein.
17. In the works that were written before and after Justine and Juliette and the Philosophy in the Boudoir de Sade developed more or less moral views.
18. Even in the above notorious works de Sade had a certain moralistic tendency in his views against the ancien régime.
19. De Sade showed in his works that he had read all the contemporary and scientific literature.
20. As a philosopher he was little more than mediocre. His philosophy was an eclectic potpourri. His proofs consisted of senseless tautologies and more senseless premises.
From these facts we base our judgment. Marquis de Sade was not insane. He had, perhaps by heredity, a neuropathic personality, which in the midst of a dangerous milieu easily started him on the path of vice. He saw on all sides his friends became sexual perverts by seduction and custom and his high blood did not fare well at the lengthy prison sentences. There is plainly apparent in his successive works a gradual loss of power of the mind. We have already sufficiently noted the relation of the contents of de Sade's notorious works with the culture of his age.
The great gap between de Sade as a person and de Sade as a writer is thereby partly bridged. We can easily bridge the entire gap if we recall the power of imagination of perverts reaches almost unimaginable dimensions. "Many patients of this kind, perverts, masturbators, and especially algolagnists were disillusioned as soon as they tried to realize the effects of their imagination. They lived in their dreamy tempestuous world of sexual orgies and were sobered by reality." This is by far the most reasonable explanation for Marquis de Sade. He is personally not to be compared with such a man as Gilles de Rais.
We have already mentioned that the pornographic writings of Marquis de Sade were sold openly under the Directory and were to be had from bookstores and catalogues. A great capitalist financed their publication and sale which extended to many foreign lands. Hence it is not strange that in spite of the confiscation and destruction of Justine and Juliette by Napoleon 1 (1801) they spread to enormous extents by frequent reprints. New confiscations in 1815, 1825 and 1843 also served only to heighten the curiosity to see and possess these notorious works. Indeed the publisher, himself, asked that the book be suppressed for then he would have been certain that it would find many purchasers.
As early as 1797 Villers wrote about the spread of Justine: "Everybody wants to know just what kind of a book it is. Justine is eagerly sought for, treasured and loaned, an edition is suppressed and two spring up to take its place."
For over a century authors, bibliophiles and scientists snapped up every copy that appeared on the market. Janin declared that "every respectable library has its quota of the works of Marquis de Sade. Often enough they stare out from a stack full of innocent books. All the auctioneers have told me that there is the most spirited bidding when a book of his is placed under the hammer." The first and second editions of his works, including the monumental combined edition of Justine and Juliette has fetched at all times extremely high prices. Nevertheless all his works are difficult to procure even in French for all the editions were usually deluxe and limited and were confined to the sanctum of bibliophiles from which they appeared only at the death of the owner. In Germany Justine and Juliette were issued privately by the Bibliophile Society in an edition of 350 copies. Justine has alone been translated into English and I understand that it is extremely rare.
Two important French writers, Rétif de la Bretonne and Charles Villers, almost at the same time, start the long list of "de Sade literature." First: Anti-Justine or the Delights of Love, written at the Palais Royal in 1798 by M. Linguet in two volumes. Sixty illustrations were announced on the title-page but they never appeared. Of the eight parts that Rétif promised in the preface only the first was published. Of the first edition only two copies were preserved in the National Library after the great confiscation and destruction of all the obscene books found in bordellos and bookstores.
According to Monselet, Anti-Justine contained obscene descriptions from Rétif's own life and was supposed to form a supplement to his Monsieur Nicolas. The work was divided into forty-eight chapters on various obscene subjects. Rétif, however, managed to give a kind of moral mist to them and declared that it was a "kind of antidote" to the poison of the infamous Justine, which "would render the name Linguet immortal."
He set out with a warning to women against cruelty. But Anti-Justine was for this reason just as obscene as Justine since the men had for them a substitute that could be used without the cruelty of de Sade's works. Rétif continually repeated that these "antidotes were extremely urgent," thus testifying to the enormous spread of de Sade's works. Rétif ended the book with cynical remarks on the illustrations that were supposed to accompany the book, referring undoubtedly to the exceptionally obscene pictures of Justine and Juliette.
Villers, a French emigrant, settled in Germany after the Revolution. In 1797 there appeared a Letter on the Novel Entitled "Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue." This has been definitely proven to have been written by Villers. "I have started and thrown away this horrible work over a dozen times, but its great fame caused me to read it to the very end. Justine could have been conceived only in the most barbarous and bloody convulsions; it is the true fruit of the Revolution. There are works that appear to have been inspired by the Graces; Justine must have been inspired by the Furies. It is written with blood and stinks of blood. It is to books what Robespierre is to men." Villers then set forth the philosophic theories of de Sade and succinctly and distastefully summarized the contents of Justine. He closed his essay with the words: "What can one think of an age that can find an author to write, publishers to print and a public to read such a work as Justine?"
Marquis de Sade found many literary imitators. We shall name only the most important authors and works in which are plainly seen a direct influence of the theories of Marquis de Sade.
A mild imitation of de Sade was Toulotte's The Dominican or the Crimes of Intolerance and the Effects of Religious Celibacy (1802). It had the same taste for the union of cruelty and pleasure and contained many episodes from the life of the célèbre marquis but was in the main uninteresting and poorly executed. It was condemned on July 12, 1827, and confiscated on April 5, 1828.
In 1835 some bookseller conceived the brilliant idea of placing the title Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue on the contents of a very poor novel. A selection from the preface of the real Justine was used. The story, in which thieves and rascals of the worst kind attempted to construct some weak principles of immorality, was ascribed to a hack-writer Rabau, and was published in Bordeaux. The book was publicly sold and the resulting scandal was great. The publisher was finally fined and imprisoned.
A writer directly influenced by the works of de Sade was Jacques Baron Révérony de Saint Cyr, the first true "sadistic" author. He wrote many plays, novels and scientific works on this subject. He died of insanity. Some of his works were: Pauliska or Modern Perversity, Recent Memoirs at a Polonaise (1798), Sabin d’Herfeld or the Dangers of Imagination (1797-1798), The Torrent of Passion or the Dangers of Gallantry (1812). The descriptions and doctrines are all direct imitations of de Sade.
"A respectable man always has a volume of Marquis de Sade in his pocket," wrote Borel in his novel, The Lycanthrope. Proudhon declared that George Sand was a "worthy daughter of Marquis de Sade" and taught similar doctrines, especially in her Lelia. Proudhon, himself, taught the same views on robbery as did de Sade.
The French revolutionist Fourier developed a sadistic theory of love. In his Harmony every woman had to have two children from an époux, one child from a géniteur, a favorite and assorted lovers. This harmonic world was protected from overpopulation by four organic means: gastrosophic regime, feminine vigor, integral exercise and coûtumes phanérogames.
Modern French literature is plentifully supplied with authors of a sadistic bent. We mention below only the most striking.
The sensualism of Baudelaire that, according to Bourget, "reached complete sadism" is so well known that any description is unnecessary. The Diaboliques of Barbey d'Aurevilly describe the self- and reciprocal atrocities of men and women. Satan is invoked, praised and served by the sadistic assemblage. Paulhan in his New Mysticism and Joseph Péladan in his Vice Supreme express similar ideas as de Sade on the joys of stealing and other persons' sufferings.
The much beloved hypochorematophily of de Sade found a devotee in Maurice Barrès. He has his "little princess" relate: "When I was twelve years old I loved to take off my shoes and stockings and wade with my bare feet in the warm dung. I used to spend hours doing this. My whole body thrilled at the contact."
J. K. Huysmans again depicted the problem of education of the Philosophy in the Boudoir in his Against the Grain. Des Esseintes met in the Rue de Rivoli a sixteen-year-old, poorly dressed boy who asked him for a light for his cheap cigarette. Des Esseintes gave him a perfumed, Turkish cigarette, brought him to a bordello where the prostitutes dazzled him. The madame asked des Esseintes why he brought the boy. He answered: "I'm simply making a murderer out of him. I am going to bring him here for the next fourteen days to accustom him to pleasures which he has not the means to satisfy. Later he will steal so that he can afford to visit you. I hope that he will also murder. Then my purpose will be achieved." He then sent the boy out with the words: "Go now do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you. You will go far with this fundamental principle."
In the already quoted Là Bas of Huysmans, Durral relates the history of the bluebeard, Gilles de Rais, the arch-criminal of the fifteenth century and a true sadist.
Emile Cheve and Paul Bourget have also given many personal sadistic descriptions. Alfred de Musset in his Gamiani or Two Nights of Excesses is believed to have taken revenge on his former mistress, George Sand, by describing her in his heroine, Gamiani, a tribade of the most savage kind. An intercourse between a woman and an ass, from the prototype of the Golden Ass of Apuleius, is also described.
German literature also has its sadistic authors. Heinrich von Kleist described in his Penthesilea how a love-mad woman had her beloved torn to pieces by bloodhounds and then joined the dogs in ripping out his entrails.
A German novel in which the Marquis de Sade is often mentioned and in which sadism plays an important rôle is the notorious Memoirs of a Singer (Boston, 1862). It is supposed to be an autobiography of the famous singer, Wilhelmine Schroeder Devrient (1804-1860). The novel consists of letters to a doctor describing the progress of the singer in the art of love. Justine has especially influenced the second part of this book and we therefore quote the important details.
In Budapest Devrient became acquainted with a certain Anna, a demimondaine and connoisseur of the notorious corruptions of the Hungarian capital. She asked Anna of her opinion of Justine which she had bought in Frankfurt Am Main, but which repelled more than attracted her. Anna then advised her to attend the whipping of a thief. This afforded the singer great pleasure and the victim, the thief Rosa, became a participant in the tribadic orgies. The idea of artificially deflowering Rosa gave her infinite joy and on the same evening the act was consummated by a "double" artificial phallus while Anna sucked the "virgin blood" after the operation. Next all the notorious bordellos of Budapest were visited. Respectable Budapest society celebrated a great orgy in one of the bordellos: the only coverings of the ladies and gentlemen were masks. The details of this orgy were largely taken from Justine. There a certain Ferry re-deflowered the prior Rosa. Devrient and Rosa then traveled to Italy where they became acquainted with a fifty-nine-year old English libertine, Sir Ethelbert Merwyn, who taught them all the sexual vices of Italy. He then brought them to Rome where after an execution of a man and woman in a church, an unbelievable orgy of monks, nuns, boys, and animals of all kinds took place.
The hundreds of criminal sadisms that have attracted the attention of the authorities and that have appeared in print seem to justify the statement that in almost all the cases their prototypes could be found in either Justine or Juliette. For example, the well-known cases of "Jack the Ripper" of London, Ben Ali of New York, and Piper and Pomeroy of Boston, all find their counterparts in de Sade's works. We quote some interesting examples of these crimes from the works of Garnier, Mll, Krafft Ebing, etc.
A degenerate Russian prince has his mistress turn her back upon him and defecate on his breast. Only in this way could he become excited (cf. Juliette III, 54).
The Journal L’Evenement of March 4, 1877, told of a gardener who fell in love with the statue of Venus de Milo and was caught by the police in the picture salon attempting intercourse with it (cf. Juliette I, 334).
A married man complained to Krafft Ebing that every time he approached his young and nervous wife he would have to inflict some wound upon himself. She would then fiercely suck the blood from the wound and become greatly excited. A commander of the post had his mistress draw blood from her genitals so that he could excite himself by sucking in the blood (cf. Juliette III, 233, ff.).
The details of this truly sadistic affair are to be found in the Paris newspaper Gil Blas. The complaint was against Michel Bloch, a diamond broker and many times a millionaire, a man of about sixty years, happily married, father of two young girls. A co-defendant was a procuress, Madame Marchand, who introduced Bloch to his victims. The first meeting of Bloch and the complainant, Claudine Buron, took place in the following manner: The girl was brought into a room of Marchand and had to undress completely in company with two other girls, who had already made the acquaintance of Bloch. Completely naked and with handkerchiefs in their hands all three entered a blue room in which the defendant awaited them. The girls had to silently file past him with a smile on their lips (this was expressly demanded). He was then handed needles, handkerchiefs and a whip. The novice, Claudine Buron, had to kneel down before him. He stuck about one hundred needles in her breasts, back and almost all parts of her body. He then folded a handkerchief in three corners, fastened it securely with needles on her breasts, and suddenly ripped off the handkerchief with brutal force. Not until then did he fall upon the young girl, beat her, tear her hair from all parts of her body and finally satisfy himself sexually upon her before the eyes of her companions. These other girls had meanwhile wiped the sweat from his brow and had assumed "plastic positions." All three were then released by Bloch and given a gift of 40 francs.
When the incident became public and loud cries of indignation arose, Bloch assumed an attitude of wonder that such a great fun was made about a hire fun. He was fired and imprisoned for six months. The madame was given a year in jail. The girl received 1000 francs damages (cf. similar scenes in Juliette II, 284; 111, 55).
In 1840 the American Embassy at Madrid caused great excitement by a scandalous affair closely resembling the one perpetrated in Marseilles by Marquis de Sade in 1772. The ambassador had often before shown eccentricities of the kind of Marquis de Sade. One day he invited 20 "manolas" to a supper and distributed to these girls strong irritants which excited them to the wildest scenes under the American Eagle.
This short list could be multiplied almost ad infinitum. Scarcely a day goes by that similar "imitations" of the heroes and heroines of Marquis de Sade do not appear in the daily newspapers. We would like though, in addition, to refer to the extremely interesting masochistic case unique in its complexities, that is given by Dr. Albert Moll in his Perversions of the Sex Instinct.