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The Problem of Sade

  • Henry Martyn LloydEmail author
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Abstract

This chapter outlines the problem that Sade’s oeuvre poses to historians of the Enlightenment, a problem formed by the difficulty of reconciling Sade’s thought with its philosophical context, that of the French Enlightenment and particularly Enlightenment humanism. The chapter outlines and dismisses the two dominant approaches that scholars have generally used: either Sade is simply dismissed as not worthy of serious study, or by contrast, Sade is elevated to such an extent that his work becomes the meaning of the entire Enlightenment. The problem of Sade is exacerbated by the uses his work was put to in the twentieth century, particularly by the French avant-garde, and following them by much contemporary theory and criticism which has not seriously engaged with his philosophical ideas.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Historical and Philosophical InquiryUniversity of QueenslandSaint LuciaAustralia

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