Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
The Marquis de Sade

The Marquis de Sade

A Life

Neil Schaeffer

ISBN 9780674003927

Publication date: 11/01/2000

Neil Schaeffer presents here a wholly original, compellingly human portrait of the "divine Marquis," the enigmatic legend whose name is synonymous with brutal perversion and cruelty. Against a magnificently embroidered backdrop of eighteenth-century France, he shows us Sade's incredible life of sexual appetite, adherence to Enlightenment principles, imprisonment, scandal, and above all inexhaustible imagination. Based on a decade of research and utilizing work never before published in English, The Marquis de Sade is a definitive work that confronts nearly two hundred years of myth to reveal a Promethean figure of astonishing complexity.


  • Complexity is one of the virtues of this new and lengthy biography ... Schaeffer's book is a welcome addition to the literature ... Both sophisticated and hardheaded about Sade; it has a definitive quality to it. It is the strength of Schaeffer's biography that it makes Sade not just a notorious figure but a credibly heroic one as well.

    —Richard Bernstein, New York Times


  • Neil Schaeffer is Professor of English Literature at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Book Details

  • 577 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press