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Marquis de Sade and the Scientia and Techne of Eroticism

Marquis de Sade and the Scientia and Techne of Eroticism (Hardback)

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Although the Marquis de Sade is often read only for his pornography, it is important to ask why his works have claimed such a persistent reception for the past two centuries, a reception that has grown increasingly more astute and analytical in the past two decades. Iwan Bloch (1872-1922), the founder of Sexualwissenschaft or sexology, taught the 20th century to examine Sade's works in terms of psychology and cultural anthropology in his study of 1899. In a magisterial two-volume biography, 1952-57, Gilbert Lely laid the foundation for every biography that has followed. Lely went on to assemble the first critical/historical edition of Sade, his Oeuvres completes, 16 vols., 1966-67. Alice Laborde extended Lely's work in her three volumes on Sade's relationships, imprisonment, and family history (1988-91). Laborde also edited Sade's letters, Correspondances du marquis de Sade et de ses proches enrichies de documents, notes et commentaries, 27 vols., 1991-98. The study of Sade's literary influence commenced with Mario Praz's account of "the Divine Marquis" (1930). Simone de Beauvoir, in "Faut-il bruler Sade?" (1953; "Must We Burn Sade?"

1955), paved the way for subsequent studies of Sade's relevance to gender issues and sexual behavior. Angela Carter, in The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography (1979) and Camille Paglia, in Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990), demonstrate the continuing ramifications of Sade's understanding of the motives of desire. Thanks to the foundational work of Lely and Laborde, recent commentators have been able to attend in more detail to Sade's literary career. Neil Schaeffer, in The Marquis de Sade: A Life (1999) addresses the logic and rhetoric of Sade's prose, his suasory strategies to arouse, his paranoiac strategies to conceal, his philosophy of passion, and the reason in his madness. Responding to current trends and offering new directions, this book examines Sade's reactions to medical theory and practice, to crime and punishment; his attempt to craft a reciprocity of written discourse and sexual intercourse; his involvement in the theater, both as a playwright for the public stage, and as playwright and director for the private theater of the insane asylum.

The editors, Frederick Burwick and Kathryn Tucker, are both at UCLA, and both are interested in the drama of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Burwick has written on illusion and madness, and Tucker has just completed a study of the therapeutic uses of theater in the insane asylum and the representations of the asylum in theaters.

More books by Frederick Burwick

More books by Kathryn Tucker

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