Ah, good old Marquis de Sade (Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, to
be precise); say what you want about him, but even the most casual sexual scholar
knows what the man created, or at least brought to light, of our human sexuality.
The term ‘sadism,’ was born from his last name and during his lifetime in the 18th
century, the Marquis courted extramarital affairs, associated with prostitutes, held
orgies, poked and prodded the conventions of obscenity in his society, and was
imprisoned countless times, the last for life-in-prison (commuted from death)
where he wrote most of his infamous oeuvre.
Goliath Books (www.goliathbooks.com), located in Berlin, has established itself
over the past decade-and-a-half as a highly acclaimed publisher of diverse and
quite daring photography and art books. Unafraid to introduce controversial, erotic
and subcultural perspectives to modern life, (pretty much what we try to do from
our sex-positive museum perspective) when we saw the new book Marquis de
Sade – 100 Erotic Illustrations come from the publisher, we took a moment to
pause. In this luscious hardcover, Goliath has collected graphics from 4000 book
pages, put them together (sans text) illustrating the naughty ideas in the Marquis de
Although lots of de Sade’s ideas (many shown in this book) are
explored these days by consenting adults in person or online, as well as whole
conventions held for people considering themselves ‘non-vanilla,’ one can’t
condone the Marquis if he took liberties (and it seems he did) in a non-consensual
But the Marquis’ actions, deplorable though they might be—and there is still
lots of conjecture of what the Marquis did and did not do—still, do not make a
study of the man and his work, as seen in Marquis de Sade – 100 Erotic
any less worthy of serious consideration.