Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) (French pronunciation: [maʁki də sad] Audio) was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author. He is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality, and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion, or law.
Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and in an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life; 11 years in Paris (10 of which were spent in the Bastille) a month in the Conciergerie, two years in a fortress, a year in Madelonnettes, three years in Bicêtre, a year in Sainte-Pélagie, and 13 years in the Charenton asylum. During the French Revolution he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. Many of his works were written in prison. Sadism in the Gothic novel
Despite the strong adverse reaction to Sade’s work and Sade’s own disassociation from the Gothic novel, the similarities between the fiction of sadism and the Gothic novel were much closer than many of its readers or providers even realized. After the controversy surrounding Matthew Lewis' The Monk, Minerva Press released The New Monk as a supposed indictment of a wholly immoral book. It features the sadistic Mrs. Rod whose boarding school for young women becomes a torture chamber equipped with its own "flogging-room." Ironically, The New Monk wound up increasing the level of cruelty but as a parody of the genre it illuminates the link between sadism and the Gothic novel