Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Get it Already!

I've begun skimming the novel I have to read for Thursday.

Before you gasp in shock and despair at my sloppy English student ways, let me explain: Marquis de Sade. (People pause. They know that name. The term "sadist" comes to mind. Didn't he get thrown in jail and wasn't he the subject of a movie?).

We're reading Justine for 18th Century English novel. I'd already read a shorter piece by Sade that involved a man who raised his daughter up as his mistress, so I thought I was ready for anything he could throw at me. Boy was I wrong.

Justine is about 350 pages of unrelenting aberrant sexual practices: rape, sodomy, incest. And there is no glossing over these occurances, no making it easy for the reader--nope, Sade seems to take a sadistic (haha) pleasure out of describing scene after scene of the horrible acts that can be done to poor Justine. It's pretty terrible, though the story itself and the writing isn't too bad.

I'm only mildly prudish, I promise--I don't usually shy away from stark descriptions of sex, even violent sex...but usually those descriptions are one moment of a book. In Justine, they occur over and over again. And again. I wonder at the number of "libertines" who are after some crazy, weird sex. After reading the book for about three hours straight, I suddenly couldn't take anymore, and I had to stop. I was physically sick to my stomach.

Therefore, I'm skipping the rest of the horrible passages. Since I have less than 100 pages left, I think that I get the idea of what Sade is after.

1 comment:

Timothy said...

wow, maybe I shouldn't knock the 18th century so much. I'm totally adding Justine to my summer reading list!