Sex comes to the Bastille: the Marquis de Sade and the French Revolution
(Conferences / Seminars / Lectures)
Presented by Dr. Ronen Steinberg (History)
On July 3 1789, a little after midnight, several men entered a cell in the infamous prison of the Bastille and snatched a prisoner who was sleeping there. They hurled him into a coach waiting nearby and drove him, naked, to the insane asylum at Charenton. This prisoner was the Marquis de Sade. Ten days later, the people of Paris would storm the Bastille in one of the most memorable days in modern history, thus beginning, in effect, the French Revolution.
This talk examines the relationship between the Marquis de Sade and the French Revolution. As a nobleman, he was suspect. As the author of scandalous works, he had a good chance of ending up on the guillotine. Yet as a committed troublemaker, he must have loved the glimpse of anarchy that the Revolution afforded to contemporaries. In this talk, we will follow the Marquis' multiple brushes with the Revolution. We will examine what he thought about its politics. And we will look for the traces of its dramas and disappointments in his writings.
Cosponsored by: Romance and Classical Studies, The Laurence Porter Colloquium Series