The Marquis de Sad

(Innocent posting until I get to Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, a section that is absolutely not for kids or the sexually modest. I’ll issue a warning when it’s coming up.)

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon with, on the couch, a Marquis de Sade who no longer can no longer find pleasure in blasphemy and cruelty:

(#1) Yes, a terrible pun, with sad for the model Sade (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page)

Note that the therapist matches the Marquis in period costume, including a wig and the use of a quill pen for taking his notes.

Now, the backstory (about the actual Marquis de Sade and his writings) and the afterstory (the movie Pasolini made out of 120 Days of Sodom.

The Marquis de Sade. From Wikipedia:

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade; 2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814), was a French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer famous for his literary depictions of a libertine sexuality as well as numerous accusations of sex crimes. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts. In his lifetime some of these were published under his own name while others, which Sade denied having written, appeared anonymously.

(#2) Portrait of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo; the drawing dates to 1760, when Sade was 19 years old, and is the only known authentic portrait of him (from Wikipedia)

Sade is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, suffering, anal sex (which he calls sodomy), child rape, crime, and blasphemy against Christianity. Many of the characters in his works are teenagers or adolescents. His work is a depiction of extreme absolute freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion, or law. The words sadism and sadist are derived from his name in reference to the works of fiction he wrote, which portrayed numerous acts of sexual cruelty. While Sade explored a wide range of sexual deviations through his writings, his known behavior includes “only the beating of a housemaid and an orgy with several prostitutes — behavior significantly departing from the clinical definition of sadism”. … In order both to prevent crimes in society that are motivated by lust and to reduce the desire to oppress others using one’s own power, Sade recommended public brothels where people can satisfy their wishes to command and be obeyed.

Despite having no legal charge brought against him, Sade was imprisoned or committed for about 32 years of his life, time divided between facilities such as the Château de Vincennes, the Bastille, and the Charenton asylum, where he died. He wrote many of his works during these periods of confinement. During the French Revolution, he was an elected delegate to the National Convention.

There continues to be a fascination with Sade among scholars and in popular culture. Prolific French intellectuals such as Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault published studies of him. In contrast, the French hedonist philosopher Michel Onfray has attacked this interest in Sade, writing that “It is intellectually bizarre to make Sade a hero.” There have also been numerous film adaptations of his work, including Pasolini’s Salò, an adaptation of Sade’s controversial book The 120 Days of Sodom, as well as many of the films of Spanish director Jesús Franco.

The Pasolini version. This is were kids must leave, and the sexually modest and the easily squicked should get out while they can. Seriously distasteful stuff to come.

From Wikipedia:

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italian: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma), billed on-screen Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom on English-language prints and commonly referred to as simply Salò), is a 1975 art horror film directed and co-written by Pier Paolo Pasolini. The film is a loose adaptation of the 1785 novel (first published in 1904) The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade, updating the story’s setting to the World War II era. It was Pasolini’s final film, being released three weeks after his murder.

The film focuses on four wealthy, corrupt Italian libertines in the time of the fascist Republic of Salò (1943–1945). The libertines kidnap 18 teenagers and subject them to four months of extreme violence, sadism, and sexual and psychological torture. The film explores themes of political corruption, consumerism, authoritarianism, nihilism, morality, capitalism, totalitarianism, sadism, sexuality, and fascism. The story is in four segments, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy: the Anteinferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit, and the Circle of Blood.

… Premiering at the Paris Film Festival on 23 November 1975, the film had a brief theatrical run in Italy before being banned in January 1976, and was released in the United States the following year on 3 October 1977. Because it depicts youths subjected to graphic violence, torture, sexual abuse, and murder, the film was controversial upon its release and has remained banned in many countries.

From Wikipedia on the Circle of Shit:

at a mock wedding reception for the Magistrate and Sergio, the victims are presented with a meal of human feces. During a search for the [male] victim with the most beautiful buttocks, Franco [Merli] is picked and promised death [release from his tortures] in the future. … [A release granted to him when he is] killed at the end after having his tongue cut off by the President.

From the movie, Franco Merli being fed shit:


2 Responses to “The Marquis de Sad”

  1. Robert Southwick Richmond Says:

    How in 1793 did the Marquis (if I may kipple inappropriately) keep from losing his head while all about him were losing theirs? The English Wikipedia doesn’t go into it, there’s more about it in the French version (though I don’t read French well enough to comment on in it).

    The psychiatrist’s quill pen, as is usual with artists’ renditions, has all its barbs intact; the common practice was to strip them off. And there’s no way you can write with a quill or a steel-point pen with your paper vertical rather than flat on a table or on an inclined writing-desk.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      On the quill pen. You are entirely right about the real world, but this image comes from the fantasy world of conventional representations of quill pens, which are just like ballpoint pens except for their notably feathery appearance.

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