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Who Whips Whom

Leland de la Durantaye: Sade, 19 February 2015

Justine et autres romans 
by D.A.F. de Sade, edited by Michel Delon and Jean Deprun.
Gallimard, 1152 pp., €60, October 2014, 978 2 07 014669 7
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... Six’ addressed the people of Paris. He spoke – or shouted – from his cell in the Tour de la Liberté, and in no uncertain terms. The officials holding him, and the regime they served, were villains, devils, criminals and worse. What’s more, they had already begun to slit the prisoners’ throats. There was no time to lose. That evening, the ...

Humming, Gurgling and Whistling

Donald MacKenzie, 11 December 1997

Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815 
by Ken Alder.
Princeton, 494 pp., £45, April 1997, 0 691 02671 8
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... Thomas Jefferson, then American Ambassador to France, paid a visit to the dungeon of the Château de Vincennes. Its three-metre-thick walls had previously imprisoned Diderot and the Marquis deSade. Now, however, it housed the workshop of a gunsmith, Honoré Blanc, and a dozen ...

Lurching up to bed with the champion of Cubism

Nicholas Penny: Douglas Cooper, 20 January 2000

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... For example (on page 118, to be precise), Marie-Laure (1), Maurice Bischoffsheim (2), the Comtesse de Chevigné (3), the Duchesse de Guermantes (4), the Marquis deSade (5), Jean Cocteau (6), the Vicomte ...

Passage to Africa

D.A.N. Jones, 7 July 1983

Africa Dances 
by Geoffrey Gorer.
Penguin, 218 pp., £2.95, January 1983, 0 14 009502 0
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Nigerian Kaleidoscope 
by Rex Niven.
Hurst/Archon, 278 pp., £13.50, January 1983, 0 905838 59 9
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Stepping-Stones 
by Sylvia Leith-Ross, edited by Michael Crowder.
Peter Owen, 191 pp., £10.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0600 4
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Female and Male in West Africa 
edited by Christine Oppong.
Allen and Unwin, 402 pp., £18.50, April 1983, 0 04 301158 6
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Memories of Our Recent Boom 
by Kole Omotoso.
Longman, 232 pp., £1.50, May 1983, 0 582 78572 3
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... Before his passage to Africa, young Gorer had already published The Revolutionary Ideas of the Marquis deSade and his mood was still dandy-left, rive-gauche, smoothly dissident and shocking. Africa Dances is now reissued as a paperback, in regrettably abbreviated form, with no pictures. We may trace in it the ...

Doing Some Measuring ahead of Time

Richard Davenport-Hines: Sade in Prison, 9 August 2001

Letters from Prison 
by the Marquis deSade, translated by Richard Seaver.
Harvill, 401 pp., £20, October 2000, 1 86046 807 1
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De Sade's Valet 
by Nikolaj Frobenius, translated by Tom Geddes.
Marion Boyars, 242 pp., £9.95, November 2000, 0 7145 3060 3
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... do except imagine, fantasise and, what often follows, masturbate. Although the chief interest in Sade’s Letters from Prison lies in tracing the stimulus incarceration gave to his literary imagination, one should honour in passing his phenomenal achievements in solitary vice. At the age of 44 he was claiming to masturbate eight times daily. ‘One good hour ...

Enthusiasts

Anita Brookner, 3 February 1983

Where I Used to Play on the Green 
by Glyn Hughes.
Gollancz, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 575 02997 8
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Virginie 
by John Hawkes.
Chatto, 212 pp., £8.50, January 1983, 0 7011 3908 0
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Ancient Enemies 
by Elizabeth North.
Cape, 230 pp., £7.95, November 1982, 0 224 02052 8
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Dancing Girls 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 224 01835 3
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Master of the Game 
by Sidney Sheldon.
Collins, 495 pp., £8.95, January 1983, 0 00 222614 6
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... otherwise appear to be slumbrously distant. The fable is in the tradition of Boccaccio and the Marquis deSade. It drifts in the direction of a series of set-pieces: women recounting stories of their amorous pasts. Otherwise, it is la vie de château with all the usual ...

Hagiophagy

Elaine Showalter, 2 October 1997

Impossible Saints 
by Michèle Roberts.
Little, Brown, 308 pp., £14.99, May 1997, 0 316 63957 5
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... muscat grapes); rich lunches of olives, rabbit pâté and figs; leisurely dinners of saucisses de Toulouse, fried aubergines, peaches and red wine. She luxuriates in the rituals and décor of the boudoir – a nightgown of ‘eau-de-nil silk with pencil shoulder straps’, coral toe-nail polish, laceedged linen ...

Homo Sexualis

Michael Ignatieff, 4 March 1982

Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 
by Jeffrey Weeks.
Longman, 306 pp., £11, October 1981, 0 582 48333 6
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Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women 
by Alan Bell, Martin Weinberg and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith.
Indiana, 242 pp., £9, October 1981, 9780253166739
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Pornography and Silence 
by Susan Griffin.
Women’s Press, 277 pp., £4.75, October 1981, 0 7043 3877 7
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The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Robert Hurley.
Penguin, 176 pp., £2.25, May 1981, 0 14 022299 5
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... On the one hand, their histories abound with individuals, Havelock Ellis, Stella Browne, even the Marquis deSade, who realised that their scripts no longer fitted what their bodies seemed to know, and who proved capable of finding new speech for their experience, at once highly personal and resonant to others. On the ...

Damp-Lipped Hilary

Jenny Diski: Larkin’s juvenilia, 23 May 2002

Trouble at Willow Gables and Other Fictions 
by Philip Larkin, edited by James Booth.
Faber, 498 pp., £20, May 2002, 0 571 20347 7
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... suffers at the hands of those above it and makes suffer those below it. Pauline Réage and the Marquis deSade would recognise the architecture of these pieces, but where Réage and Sade offered precisely detailed illustrations of the experiences of O and Justine, Larkin sketches ...

Denunciations

Ruth Scurr: Foucault in the Bastille, 14 December 2017

Disorderly Families: Infamous Letters from the Bastille Archives 
by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault, edited by Nancy Luxon, translated by Thomas Scott-Railton.
Minnesota, 328 pp., £28.99, January 2017, 978 0 8166 9534 8
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... to life’. His death was figurative – he had been held in the Bastille for 18 years by lettre de cachet. The king’s sealed letter, authorising the detention of a man or woman without trial for an indeterminate period of time, was one of the Ancien Régime’s most reviled mechanisms. The letters began to be used by the king for the maintenance of public ...

His Secret Opening

Joe Dunthorne: Revism, 2 April 2020

Childhood 
by Gerard Reve.
Pushkin, 160 pp., £9.99, October 2019, 978 1 78227 459 9
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... Catholic Bible, the ‘Willibrord’ translation, and at one point briefly changed his pen name to Marquis Gerard Kornelis Franciscus van het Reve – a nod at once to his favourite marquis, de Sade, and (he was christened Franciscus) to the sacrament of baptism.His life was full of ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?, 5 October 2006

On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... Don Alfonso as both a mature libertine – ‘an understated version of his near contemporary the Marquis deSade’ – and at the same time as a sort of moral tutor to the two young men. Said points out that Alfonso is ‘only the second authority figure’ in Mozart’s operas ‘to appear after the death of ...

The Hooks of her Gipsy Dresses

Nicholas Penny, 1 September 1988

Picasso: Creator and Destroyer 
by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington.
Weidenfeld, 559 pp., £16, June 1988, 0 02 977935 9
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... was your life with Picasso?’ as follows: Tout à fait exaltante. Couverte d’amour, de baisers, de jalousie et d’admiration. She then went on to describe her lover’s tearful joy at the news of her pregnancy. A more interesting account of this relationship will be found in Roy MacGregor-Hastie’s gossipy ...

Diary

Elisa Segrave: On the Pier at Key West, 18 April 1996

... du Plessix Gray, whom they met last night. She is writing a ‘domestic biography’ of the Marquis deSade. Apparently she did not seem interested in ‘post-sexual women’, a subject about which she wrote in the recent New Yorker Women’s Issue (Judith borrowed my copy in order to ask her about it) but ...

Oh, My Aching Back

Roy Porter, 2 November 1995

TheHistory of Pain 
by Roselyne Rey, translated by Elliott Wallace and J.A. Cadden , and S.W. Cadden.
Harvard, 394 pp., £25.50, October 1995, 0 674 39967 6
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... From the Church Fathers, through St Ignatius Loyola and Pascal to the Marquis deSade, the problem of pain was agonisingly debated, not least because mortification was holiness and judicial torture the authorised engine of truth. But nowadays, pain, in either its medical or its metaphysical aspects, is oddly little discussed given the ubiquitous misery it causes ...

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