By: David Coward
Who but the Marquis de Sade would write not of the pain, tragedy, and joy of love but of its crimes? Murder, seduction, and incest are among the cruel rewards for selfless love in his stories–tragedy, despair, and death the inevitable outcome. Sade’s villains will stop at nothing to satisfy their depraved passions, and they in turn suffer under the thrall of love.
This is the most complete selection from the Marquis de Sade’s four-volume collection of short stories, The Crimes of Love. David Coward’s vibrant new translation captures the verve of the original, and his introduction and notes describe Sade’s notorious career. This new selection includes “An Essay on Novels,” Sade’s penetrating survey of the novelist’s art. It also contains the preface to the collection and an important statement of Sade’s concept of fiction and one of the few literary manifestoes published during the Revolution. Appendices include the denunciatory review of the collection that it received on publication, and Diderot’s vigorous response. A skilled and artful story-teller, Marquis de Sade’s is also an intellectual who asks questions about society, about ourselves, and about life. Psychologically astute and defiantly unconventional, these stories show Sade at his best.