Sade’s Passion Was Theatrical, Not Erotic

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.

19. Throughout his life, the Marquis de Sade’s passion was not erotic (eroticism is very different from passion); it was theatrical: youthful liaisons with several young ladies of the Opéra, engaging the actor Bourdais to play for six months at La Coste, and in his torment, one idea: to have his plays performed; barely out of prison (1790), repeated requests to the actors of the Comédie Française; and finally, of course, theater at Charenton.

2 thoughts on “Sade’s Passion Was Theatrical, Not Erotic”

  1. I feel totally uncultured and ridiculous admitting this, but i can’t be the only reader who feels this way, so I’ll tell you that with every one of these posts I see the headline and for a split-second I read it as Sade the R&B singer, not Marquis De Sade the whatever-the-hell he was. It certainly makes these posts funnier, that’s for sure.


    1. No, you’re not the only person who reads it and visualizes the singer…one of my friends pointed this out to me on Twitter, almost right away. And then I picked up—only for a day or two—some Sade fans on Twitter who apparently don’t read closely.


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