Sade’s Parallel Duplications

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)—

8. We need only read the Marquis’s biography after having read his work to be convinced that he has put part of his work into his life — and not the opposite, as so-called literary science would have us believe. The “scandals” of Sade’s life are not “models” of analogous situations drawn from his books. Real scenes and fantasized scenes are not directly related; all are no more than parallel duplications, more or less powerful (stronger in the work than in life), of a scene that is absent, unfigured, but not inarticulated, whose site of infiguration and articulation can only be writing: Sade’s work and his life traverse this writing area on an equal footing.

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