Today is the birthday of Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis de Sade. In remembrance of that (for better or worse) I am posting a review of one of de Sade’s most famous works, Justine. The review is not for the faint of heart and comes with a few disclaimers and warnings. Seriously, the review is excellent, but it touches on some exceptionally cruel and obscene subjects. If you can’t handle the review, you by no means want to read the book. There is a reason sadism was named for the Marquis. If you want to know more about de Sade in addition to where the link above leads, there are some good videos about him on YouTube.
I am posting the video in case any of my followers has a burning curiosity about the Marquis or his works. I was in that situation last week, Now that my curiosity has been sated, I will continue to be interested in de Sade’s life story, but probably not in his works.
Though his works are generally not considered to be of the horror genre, they probably should be. De Sade’s works contain things that would nauseate Stephen King and Clive Barker as well.
Personally, I do not advise reading de Sade’s works. They are…”inhuman” seems to be the most apt term I can conjure up. Cruel and obscene seem inadequate in describing his works. Although you have probably heard the term sadistic many times, you probably will not conceive of its true spirit until you have read a few pages of Justine or of his other infamous work 120 Days of Sodom,
Once, a few years back, I picked up a copy of 120 Days of Sodom in a bookstore somewhere and read the first two to three pages out of curiosity. I read only two to three, because that was all I could stomach. I left it where I found it and will probably not pick up another of his works again. In fact, if I ever find out that someone I know is a fan of de Sade, I will probably not let him or her into my house ever again.
I have not read any of Justine. If you are mildly curious about it, there are a few YouTube videos on the movie (or two) that is based on it. You can actually find the trailer for it on YouTube.
When I was digging into the story of de Sade himself, I did find him to be a fascinating and tragic character. I would love to read a psychological study of him. He apparently had a lot of resentment toward his mother, who abandoned the family when he was quite young. That seems to be the reason the women in his works suffer such terrible fates, particularly if they are a mother. He seems to have been a man controlled by the mother (no pun intended) of all obsessions. Yet, in spite of blatant and cruel dalliances, there were women who loved him dearly though they knew of his numerous sordid affairs. Perhaps, he was their obsession. Perhaps not. I feel certain that anyone who had anything to do with de Sade for more than a few day would probably be an interesting psychological case in his/her own right.
I recommend that you read a biography of de Sade rather than one of his works. Maybe read a few pages of one of his works, so you get a (somewhat sickening) feel for them, but don’t force them upon yourself. Read only as much as you can tolerate, then put the book down, and never pick it up again.
Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy the video.
I recently discovered Ligeia Resurrected. Her focus is on all things Goth, but the majority of her videos seem to be on gothic literature and music, dress, make-up, and absinthe, naturally. I enjoy her book reviews and will start posting them here occasionally. I am considering having book reviews by myself or others at 8:00 p.m. on Fridays, but that is still in the concept stage. If I do them, they will probably be written as my video production skills are rudimentary at best. I may make videos of them later. I hope you enjoy this presentation.
I have recently started watching Clifford Sargent’s book review channel “Better than Food”. These are terrific reviews. I watch these and I love the way Mr. Sargent seems to not review these clinically as a English professor might, but he seems to take them to heart. His genuine love for the literary art form is obvious. His reviews are insightful with a stream-of-consciousness delivery that draws the viewer into the world of whatever he is reviewing. Throughout a review, he may inject little bio notes about the author and/o many other factors that led to the development of the work. These reviews may be practiced, but it is obvious that he is not reading from a script and he doesn’t seem to be struggling to recall anything he memorized. He talks to you as if you were a fellow classmate as you discuss a work you both read for class or you read in a book club and now you two relax in his home or in a park or in his yard or on a staircase while you have coffee together. Most of the books he reviews are contemporary novels like Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas by Fernando Flores, though sometimes he dives into the past and reviews a classic like Goethe’s Faust or a modern classics like Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.
His review tonight was of Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. I have heard of this story for many years and I have been intending to read it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. After watching this review, I know I will have to read this ASAP. Apparently, I have been missing out on a great classic for years.
Be forewarned, this review does contain spoilers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.