Marquis de Sade


1997 Paradise Pisces

French Writer and Libertine


On Easter Sunday, April 3, 1768 at approximately 9 in the morning, Rose Keller, a widow in her mid-thirties and an unemployed cotton spinner left church. As she departed the place of worship she was observed, by a man in his late twenties. The man, who made this observation, called Rose Keller over to him, and proceeded to offer her a job as a housekeeper at his home outside of Paris. She accepted and several hours later they arrived at the man's small home on rue de Lardenay in Arcueil.

What transpired next is a sordid, somewhat conflicting tale of sadism. The noun, sadism, which refers to the sexual pleasure induced from the infliction of physical and psychological abuse, owes its name to Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade. Known as the Marquis de Sade, he was the not-so-gentleman who confronted Rose Keller outside of the church that Easter Sunday morning over two hundred years ago.

"Sade's pleasure came mainly from the terror he inspired in his victim, from his ability to convince her that she would not leave his house alive or to make her think that he was slicing her flesh. The nature of his perversion was not so much to inflict pain as to inspire terror." (Maurice Lever)

Sade locked Keller in a room and told her to take her clothes off. When she protested he became violent. Frightened, she began to disrobe. He ripped off her chemise, pushed her into another room and forced her on her stomach onto a bed. He then proceeded to whip her until he had an orgasm.

Certain details of this event remain unclear: was Keller restrained with ropes; did Sade use a knife and lacerate her back and bottom; did he pour hot wax on the exposed wounds, further exacerbating her pain? Not all details are known. But it is clear that Sade's actions were terrifying.

Eventually, Rose Keller escaped from her abductor and was able to report the assault to the authorities. After an initial examination of the victim, a doctor, Pierre-Paul Le Comte, wrote:

"The entire extent of the buttocks and a portion of the back are striped with lashes and excoriated with deep and extensive cuts and contusions along the backbone."

At that time in history, the French judicial system was basically split between two spheres: the civil and the royal. As a member of the nobility, Sade's family (most notably his mother-in-law) attempted to have the matter handled by the King. This objective was met by June, 1768 when the French civil authorities agreed to halt further prosecution of the defendant Sade. The matter was henceforth to be handled by the King. Sade soon came to symbolize the excesses of the decadent noble class. As one contemporary with the situation wrote:

"...If the courts do not deal with [Sade's] behavior, which is so peculiar as to be vile and disgusting, by doling out exemplary punishment, the case will offer posterity one more example that in our century even the most abominable crimes meet with impunity so long as those who commit them are fortunate enough to be noble, wealthy, or well connected."

From our perspective, posterity notwithstanding, Sade is more intriguing in a metaphorical sense than from a judicial one. The legal sanctions that were imposed on him are but a mere part of the costs he paid in atonement for his various "crimes of passion." But the personal price the Marquis paid in the loss of freedom he that consistent with the evolution of Sade as an important symbol representing the forces opposed to Puritan morality and hypocrisy? What is it about Sade's life and work that makes him a candidate for such intellectual rehabilitation?

"We do not say that [sadism] is viable. But it does show that between the normal man who imprisons the sadistic man in an impasse, and the sadist who turns the impasse into a way out, it is the latter who is closer to the truth, who knows more about the logic of his situation and has the more profound understanding of it, and it is he who is in a position to be able to help the normal man to self-understanding, by helping him to modify the bases of all comprehension." (Maurice Blanchot)

"As to his vices, they are not startlingly original; Sade invented nothing in this domain...The fact is that it is neither as author nor as sexual pervert that Sade compels our attention; it is by virtue of the relationship which he created between these two aspects of himself. Sade's aberrations begin to acquire value when, instead of enduring them as his fixed nature, he elaborates an immense system in order to justify them...the immensity of his literary effort shows how passionately he wished to be accepted by the human community." (Simone de Beauvoir)

Marquis de Sade
YEAR  TEAM      POS    BA    AB     H   HR  RBI
1984  Erotics   1b    .287   492   141   11   54
1985  Erotics   if    .324   652   211   15   72
1986  Erotics   1b    .227   181    41    4   20
1987  Erotics   ib    .220   564   124    4   50
1988  Erotics   ib    .267   589   157    0   55
1989  Erotics   ib    .246   573   141    0   54
1990  Erotics   ib    .240   575   138    3   48
1991  Erotics   if    .322   580   187   14   62
1992  Erotics   if    .246   248    61    5   33
1993  Erotics   if    .091   405    37    0   15
1994  Erotics   if    .234   261    61    3   28
1995  Erotics   if    .337   246    83    1   35
1996  Erotics   if    .194   191    37    5   25
      13 Seasons      .255  5557  1419   65  551

1997 Paradise Pisces Roster

Marquis de Sade Home Page

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De Sade- Cosmic Baseball Player Plate
Published: October 30, 1996

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