The writings of the Marquis de Sade have recently attained notoriety in the canon of world literature. Now Sade himself is often celebrated as a heroic apostle of individual rights and a giant of philosophical thought. In this detailed investigative work, Laurence Bongie tests these claims and finds them unfounded and undeserved.
"A valuable correction to the perception of Sade as a profound thinker, a great writer, and a martyr to liberty. Drawing on original archival work, Bongie tries to illuminate Sade's childhood and his relationship with his parents. . . . Fluent and well-informed."—Library Journal
"Mr. Bongie . . . has written an investigation focusing on one aspect of Sade's character and development, his heretofore neglected relationship with his aristocratic mother. . . . A profitable selection."—Richard Bernstein, New York Times
"A welcome corrective. Bongie's book . . . aims to deflate the exalted claims made about the marquis by demonstrating that he was a monstrous character."—Scott Stossel, Boston Phoenix Literary Supplement