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At home with the Marquis de Sade : a life

Author: Francine du Plessix Gray
Publisher: New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, ©1998.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In this account of the scandalous life and the violent times of the Marquis de Sade, novelist, essayist, and biographer Francine du Plessix Gray resurrects this legendary man's relationship with his family - his devoted wife, his iron-willed mother-in-law, and his three children. Gray draws on thousands of pages of letters exchanged by the two spouses, few of which have been published in English, to explore in the
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Genre/Form: Biography
Biographies
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Gray, Francine du Plessix.
At home with the Marquis de Sade.
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, ©1998
(OCoLC)607108539
Named Person: Sade, marquis de; Donatien Sade, marquis de; Sade, marquis de; Donatien Alphonse François de Sade
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Francine du Plessix Gray
ISBN: 0684800071 9780684800073
OCLC Number: 39347558
Description: 491 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Responsibility: Francine du Plessix Gray.

Abstract:

In this account of the scandalous life and the violent times of the Marquis de Sade, novelist, essayist, and biographer Francine du Plessix Gray resurrects this legendary man's relationship with his family - his devoted wife, his iron-willed mother-in-law, and his three children. Gray draws on thousands of pages of letters exchanged by the two spouses, few of which have been published in English, to explore in the fullest historical and psychological detail what it was like to be the Marquise de Sade, a decorous, upright woman married throughout the decades preceding the French Revolution to one of the most maverick spirits of recent times.

In the vast literature inspired by the marquis's fictional and real-life libertinism, relatively little attention has been given the two women who were closest to him: Renee-Pelagie de Sade, his adoring wife for more than a quarter of a century, and his powerful mother-in-law, Madame de Montreuil. Gray brings to life these two remarkable women and their complex relationship with Sade as they dedicated themselves, each in her own way, to protecting him from the law, curbing his excesses, and ultimately confining him.

After years of indulging a variety of sexual aberrations, experiences he used in novels such as Justine, Philosophy in the Boudoir, and The 120 Days of Sodom, Sade was imprisoned on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Louis XVI at his mother-in-law's instigation. Throughout his thirteen years in jail, Madame de Sade was her husband's principal solace and his only lifeline to reality. It was only upon the onset of the French Revolution, when Sade was finally freed from the Bastille, that Pelagie made a sudden about-face from her decades of abject devotion.

In the course of telling this remarkable story, Gray vividly re-creates the extravagant hedonism of late eighteenth-century France; the ensuing terror of the French Revolution, when her protagonists lived in fear of imminent destruction; and the oppression of the Napoleonic regime under which Sade spent his last decade.

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