Even during his lifetime, the real Marquis de Sade was in danger of being subsumed by his myth, and in the two centuries since his death his name has become a synonym for perversion, brutality and desirous cruelty. Neil Schaeffer's subtle and revealing biography peels away layers of misconception and legend to reveal the complex psychology of a man who, far from being merely sadistic, was inflamed by extremes of exquisite feeling - from deep romantic love to the basest lust - and motivated by flights of paranoid delusion.
In his life and writing, Sade fought the limitations of authority, morality and convention. It was an argument he would lose, paying dearly with his liberty and reputation. In this enthralling new biography Neil Schaeffer brings to life this struggle, and vividly presents to us all the contradictions and complexities of 'the devine Marquis'.
'The book leaves a powerful impression on the mind, one of immense sadness' Observer
'Schaeffer's eloquent, passionate biography . . . restores the perverse Marquis to garish life' Mail on Sunday