Rating: 3 out of 5. Yes. That’s right.
The end is revolting, the ‘action’ (if it can be called that) is stopped by a 30 page pamphlet encouraging a renunciation of God and morals, and the acts perpetrated repeatedly (over the course of an afternoon!) are graphic.
And I felt so wonderfully dirty while reading this book. Sitting on the train, reading Marquis de Sade… a thrillingly illicit feeling. And this is a book over 200 years old! Fantastic – that any book should retain such power in 2010, let alone one written over two centuries ago.
The sense of joy and happiness that pervades most of the text is infectious. I won’t go much farther than that because, well, despite approving of the dandy and the libertine, I can’t quite get that far in today’s society, can I?
Plus, the philosophy presented by Dolmance during his education of the young Eugenie is actually quite a sound one. The most important thing in life is to live for yourself and enjoy life, is it not? Because if you aren’t enjoying your life… well, then who is?
Its a little much by the end and I probably associated with the Chevalier the most (he’s the most disturbed by the proceedings at the end, although he still engages) – but its fun and just for that sheer experience of feeling so naughty, the book gets three points. It’s also well written and quite hilarious at times – so just be prepared to blush, if you pick this one up.