From Roland Barthes’ “Life of Sade,” a short biography of The Marquis de Sade. Translated from the French by Richard Miller. Read the entire essay at Supervert (or here over the next few days, parceled out over 22 sections)—
6. Household Sadism: at Marseilles, Sade wants Marianne Lavergne to whip him with a parchment beater with bent pins which he takes from his pocket. The girl quails before so exclusively functional an object (like a surgical instrument), and Sade orders the maidservant to bring a heather broom; this utensil is more familiar to Marianne and she has no hesitation in employing it to strike Sade across the buttocks.