Letters From Prison
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The 1990s have seen a resurgence of interest in the Marquis de Sade, with several biographies competing to put their version of his life story before the public. But Sadean scholar Richard Seaver takes us directly to the source, translating Sade's prison correspondence. Seaver's translations retain the aristocratic hauteur of Sade's prose, which still possesses a clarity that any reader can appreciate. "When will my horrible situation cease?" he wrote to his wife shortly after his incarceration began in 1777. "When in God's name will I be let out of the tomb where I have been buried alive? There is nothing to equal the horror of my fate!" But he was never reduced to pleading for long, and not always so solicitous of his wife's feelings; a few years later, he would write, "This morning I received a fat letter from you that seemed endless. Please, I beg of you, don't go on at such length: do you believe that I have nothing better to do than to read your endless repetitions?" For those interested in learning about the man responsible for some of the most infamous philosophical fiction in history, Letters from Prison is an indispensable collection.
castle or keep they might choose in the vicinity of my estates, it has been clearly demonstrated that there is no way I can manage my affairs from there. The first of these articles being so obvious as to require no explanation, I shall confine myself to proving the second. My affairs, Sir, are currently in the hands of a man2 who takes advantage of my absence to further his affairs far more than he does mine. Since all I have to go on are the glimpses and vague notions that a rogue such as he
always lived, where my papers are, etc. There I can be, if one so desires, under the surveillance of whatever person the Court cares to appoint, and that for as long as the minister is of a mind to forget that he is dealing with a military officer and a man of the nobility, for whom, by both titles, nothing is more sacred than his word of honor. I shall make no complaint whatsoever: the very glimmer of the king’s bounties that you have danced before my eyes, banishing forever any bitterness my
two previous occasions, one for having asked the names of the new dauphins godparents, and again when I inquired of the surgeon if he was expecting a large crowd for the dinner being given for the holiday. As you can see, after that ’tis necessary for you to send me a short catalog of the things I can say, so that in the future I do not expose myself to allowing such weighty questions to slip past my lips! Here is the crux of the matter. First of all, they gave me, and I have always said it, a
represented him in the Aix appeal. 17. Gaufridy, whose home and office were in that town. 18. A storeroom on the third floor. Sade had intended that it be fitted out as a secret hiding place, where no one could find him. Obviously, the work was never done, doubtless for lack of funds. 19. Sade was by now so notorious, from the scandal sheets and local word of mouth, that he was a major celebrity. It was as if Satan were passing through. 20. The infamous cell number 6, which Sade claimed
which I shall be accountable to him in the manner and at the time of his choosing; said sum to be employed by the aforementioned Marquise de Sade, my wife, for the deliverance from prison of one or two persons lying there for debts or fosterage; the sum remaining after the deliverance of the one, or of both, to be employed by her for whatever charitable purpose she so desires; all this in celebration of the greatest and most pleasing piece of news in the world, and of the finest act of justice,