John Phillips introduces the Marquis de Sade's highly original and thoroughly subversive depiction of human sexuality, and the philosophical and political thinking that underpins it. He shows how, though Sade's work continues to shock, it can also be seen as the logical conclusion of eighteenth-century materialism. As the only writer of his time who dared to put the body at the centre of philosophy, Sade has a unique place in the history of modern thought.
Extracts are taken from the whole range of Sade's literary, philosophical and personal writings, including The 120 Days of Sodom; Philosophy in the Boudoir; Justine; Juliette; and his Last Will and Testament.
John Phillips is Professor of French Literature and Culture at London Metropolitan University. He is the author of a number of books on French literature, including Forbidden Fictions: Pornography and Censorship in Twentieth-Century French Literature and Sade: The Libertine Novels. He is currently co-editing The Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature for Routledge.