Marquis de Sade

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Donatien Alphonse François, aka the Marquis de Sade, born 2 June 1740, lived until 2 December 1814. He was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer, who became known for his sexuality.

As a writer, 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.

His biggest reputation came from his erotic writings, which took a combination of philosophical discourse with pornography, showing sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church.

He was also a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law. The words Sadism as well as sadist came from his name.

Much of his work was written while he was in prison, Sade was put in to a number of prisons, as well as 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.