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    Sale 5822

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including the Works of Charles Dickens

    1 June 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 70

    SADE, Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de (1740-1814). Autograph letter signed (with a complicated and untranslatable pun on his obsession with embassies, 'Et aportes des bas au nom de dieu Car il est bien mal en bas, sade'), to his wife ('ma chere amie'), n.p. [Vincennes], n.d. [February 1784], 4 pages, 8vo.

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    Estimate

    SADE, Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de (1740-1814). Autograph letter signed (with a complicated and untranslatable pun on his obsession with embassies, 'Et aportes des bas au nom de dieu Car il est bien mal en bas, sade'), to his wife ('ma chere amie'), n.p. [Vincennes], n.d. [February 1784], 4 pages, 8vo.

    Sade's last letter to his wife (Renée Pélagie de Montreuil) before he was transferred from Vincennes to the Bastille, revealing some of his recurrent fantasies and obsessions, including insulting his mother-in-law -- 'Il faut que ta mere soit exactement ivre ou folle a enchainer de risquer les yeux de sa Fille pour former un 19 et 4 ou 16 et 9 ... oh quelle indigestion de chiffres elle avoit cette vilaine femme' [an example of his belief that he was receiving letters including coded number sequences]; and dreaming of living with his family wherever he pleases and devoting himself to the arts and sciences and writing 'day and night', and expressing other high-minded sentiments.

    His assertion that he would not accept an ambassadorial post if the King offered it to him is highly fanciful -- there would have been no possibility of his being offered one -- but his punning conclusion refers to it again. He was finally released in 1790. Throughout his twenty years in prison his wife was his chief correspondent and confidante.


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