First, Philosophy in the Bedroom is invariably a mistake. The French title is Le Philosophe dans le Boudoir. "Le Philosophe" translates as "The Philosopher", Philosophy (which is "philosophie" in French) is not in the title. Thus, it should read: The Philosopher in the Bedroom.
Second, I believe I can prove that Les 120 Jours de Sodome (The 120 Days of Sodom) (henceforth: 120 Days)was NOT written by the Marquis de Sade. According to Geoffrey Gorer, the manuscript was written in 1784 on both sides of a single roll of paper 5-1/2-inchs wide and thirty-some yards long. Sade wrote it when in the Bastille. He was transferred to another prisin in less than ten doors before The Fall of the Bastille, in 1789. He neglected to take the manuscript with him. It was discovered by a man who helped perpetrate The Fall; the manuscript remained in his family until brought to the attention of Iwan Bloch in about 1895, who subsequently published it.
First, there is internal evidence. The writing is totally unlike everything else Sade ever wrote. It is very carefully structured. For example, urination. The first depiction is merely watching a girl urinate, followed by having a girl urinate on a man's hand, the, urinating on his naked body, and finally, drinking urine. Throughout the book, each variety of sexual experience follows that same pattern--watching, touching, being inundated, oral participation. It was not until Forberg's (De Veneris--the final word escapes me), published in about 1835, that sexuality was categorized. Even Kraft-Ebbing (around 1870) is not categorized. Havelock Ellis' Pscychology of Sex categorizes sexual variations--but not nearly as distinctly as is done in 120 Days.
Freud, Kinsey, Albert Ellis and Masters & Johnson utilized a categorical approach to sexuality. But, please note, that absolutely none of Sade's works follow this categorical layout.
In 1784, Sade wrote "The Priest and the Dying Man", in which he states quite clearly that there is no God. But, in 120 Days--God is portrayed as weak and senile. Contrary to every other mention of God in Sade's other works.
In 120 Days, the author states that there are some actions so terrible that they should never be discussed openly. In Julitte, Sade states that there is NO human act so terrible that it should not be brought forth to the light of day. Granted, it could simply indicate a change of philosophy as he matured.
In 120 Days, there is NO vaginal intercourse of any type. The characters abhor the vagina. Every other orifice is described (in vivid detail). In all of Sade's other writings, where he describes the vagina, it is with lusty enthusiasm. Again, this might simply be a change with maturation.
The name of the family which supposedly saved the manuscript is not known. This, of course, COULD BE because they did not wish to be connected to such a nefarious manuscript. OR--it COULD BE because there is no such family.
I decided to do some research on paper. Paper was first, experimentally, produced in a roll in France in 1803. Rolls of paper were not commercially available until 1820--six years after the death of the Marquis de Sade.
So, who IS the author of 120 Days. I would guess Iwan Bloch (or some acquaintance). I find it interesting that 120 Days is generally considered to be Sade's greatest work. Some of Sade's letters are still extant. If the manuscript of 120 Days still exists, I believe an examination by one or more handwriting experts should be undertaken.
I rest my case.
Julian Tebye email@example.com
quality of the translationsEdit
first off, why are only a third of the quotations presented along side originals ? this doesn't make any sense.
what is more important though are the questionable equivalents found for an older bit of sexual slang, namely 'vit', which is here rendered two different ways. "Member" or "male member" are probably better translations.