Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Marquis de Sade, born Donatien Alphonse Fran├žois de Sade

French Aristocrat, Revolutionary Politician, Philosopher and Writer famous for his Libertine Sexuality and Lifestyle

"No lover, if he be of good faith, and sincere, will deny he would prefer to see his mistress dead than unfaithful."

"Nothing we can do outrages Nature directly. Our acts of destruction give her new vigour and feed her energy, but none of our wreckings can weaken her power."

"Now let us consider theft. From the standpoint of the wealthy, this is, of course, an horrendous crime. But, laying partiality aside, let us ask ourselves as republicans: shall we, upholding the principle that all men are equal, brand as wrong an act whose effect is to accomplish a more equal distribution of wealth? Theft furthers economic equilibrium: one never hears of the rich stealing from the poor, thereby aggravating the economic imbalance; only of the poor stealing from the rich, thereby correcting it. What possibly be wrong with that?"

"Oh, there are plenty of people, the Duc used to observe, who never misbehave save when passion spurs them to ill; later, the fire gone out of them, their now calm spirit peacefully returns to the path of virtue and, thus passing their life going from strife to error and from error to remorse, they end their days in such a way there is no telling just what roles they have enacted on earth. Such persons, he would continue, must surely be miserable: forever drifting, continually undecided, their entire life is spent detesting in the morning what they did the evening before. Certain to repent of the pleasures they taste, they take their delight in quaking, in such sort they become at once virtuous in crime and criminal in virtue."

"Now we come to the crux of my philosophy: if the taking of pleasure is enhanced by the criminal character of the circumstances -- if, indeed, the pleasure taken is directly proportionate to the severity of the crime involved --, then is it not criminality itself which is pleasurable, and the seemingly pleasure-producing act nothing more than the instrument of its realization?"

"One has always had too much when one has had enough"

"One must do violence to the object of one's desire when it surrenders, the pleasure is greater."

"Our four libertines, half-drunk but nonetheless resolved to abide their laws, contended themselves with kisses, fingerings, but their libertine intelligence knew how to season these mild activities with all the refinements of debauch and lubricity."

"Sex is as important as eating or drinking and we ought to allow the one appetite to be satisfied with as little restraint or false modesty as the other."

"One weeps not save when one is afraid, and that is why kings are tyrants."

"Sex without pain is like food without taste"

"Sensual excess drives out pity in man."

"Sexual pleasure is, I agree, a passion to which all others are subordinate but in which they all unite."

"The degradation which characterizes the state into which you plunge him by punishing him pleases, amuses, and delights him. Deep down he enjoys having gone so far as to deserve being treated in such a way."

"The Duc, pike aloft, closed in upon Augustine; he brayed, he swore, he waxed unreasonable, and the poor little thing, all atremble, retreated like a dove before the bird of prey ready to pounce upon it."

"The Duke soon imitated his old friend's little infamy and wagered that, enormous as Invictus' prick might be, he could calmly down three bottles of wine while lying embuggered upon it."

"The completest submissiveness is your lot, and that is all."

"She had already allowed her delectable lover to pluck that flower which, so different from the rose to which it is nevertheless sometimes compared, has not the same faculty of being reborn each spring."

"The horror of wedlock, the most appalling, the most loathsome of all the bonds humankind has devised for its own discomfort and degradation."

"The impossibility of outraging nature is the greatest anguish man can know."

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind."

"The law which attempts a man's life [capital punishment] is impractical, unjust, inadmissible. It has never repressed crime--for a second crime is every day committed at the foot of the scaffold."

"The imagination is the spur of delights; all depends upon it, it is the mainspring of everything; now, is it not by means of the imagination one knows joy? Is it not of the imagination that the sharpest pleasures arise? Marquis de Sade| Truth titillates the imagination far less than fiction."

"The man who alters his way of thinking to suit others is a fool."

"The majority of pop stars are complete idiots in every respect."

"The more defects a man may have, the older he is, the less lovable, the more resounding his success."

"The pleasure of the senses is always regulated in accordance with the imagination. Man can aspire to felicity only by serving all the whims of his imagination."

"The only way to a woman's heart is along the path of torment."

"The reasoning man who rejects the superstitions of simpletons necessarily becomes their enemy; he must expect as much and be prepared to laugh at the consequences."

"The mechanism that directs government cannot be virtuous, because it is impossible to thwart every crime, to protect oneself from every criminal without being criminal too; that which directs corrupt mankind must be corrupt itself; and it will never be by means of virtue, virtue being inert and passive, that you will maintain control over vice, which is ever active: the governor must be more energetic than the governed."

"The ultimate triumph of philosophy would be to cast light upon the mysterious ways in which Providence moves to achieve the designs it has for man."

"The reasoning man who scorns the prejudices of simpletons necessarily becomes the enemy of simpletons; he must expect as much, and laugh at the inevitable."

"There is a kind of pleasure which comes from sacrilege or the profanation of the objects offered us for worship."

"There is no more lively sensation than that of pain; its impressions are certain and dependable, they never deceive as may those of the pleasure women perpetually feign and almost never experience."

"There is a sum of evil equal to the sum of good, the continuing equilibrium of the world requires that there be as many good people as wicked people."

"This is what happens to the plans of humans, it is when they make them in the midst of their pleasures that death cuts the thread of their days without pity, and in the midst of life, without ever concerning themselves with this fatal moment, living as though they were to exist for ever, they disappear into the obscure cloud of immortality, uncertain of the fate which lies in store for them."

"There is no God, Nature sufficeth unto herself; in no wise hath she need of an author."

"They declaim against the passions without bothering to think that it is from their flame philosophy lights its torch."

"'Til the infallibility of human judgments shall have been proved to me, I shall demand the abolition of the penalty of death."

"True happiness lies in the senses, and virtue gratifies none of them."

"To kill a man in a paroxysm of passion is understandable, but to have him killed by someone else after calm and serious meditation and on the pretext of duty honorably discharged is incomprehensible."

"To enlighten mankind and improve its morals is the only lesson which we offer in this story. In reading it, may the world discover how great is the peril which follows the footsteps of those who will stop at nothing to satisfy their desires."

"Variety, multiplicity are the two most powerful vehicles of lust."

"Truth titillates the imagination far less than fiction."

"Were he supreme, were he mighty, were he just, were he good, this God you tell me about, would it be through enigmas and buffooneries he would wish to teach me to serve and know him?"

"We are no guiltier in following the primitive impulses that govern us than is the Nile for her floods or the sea for her waves."

"What we are doing here is only the image of what we would like to do."

"When she's abandoned her moral center and teachings...when she's cast aside her facade of propriety and lady-like demeanor...when I have so corrupted this fragile thing and brought out a writhing, mewling, bucking, wanton whore for my enjoyment and pleasure... enticing from within this feral lioness... growling and scratching and biting...taking everything I dish out to her... at that moment she is never more beautiful to me."

"What does one want when one is engaged in the sexual act That everything around you give you its utter attention, think only of you, care only for you...every man wants to be a tyrant when he fornicates."

"What I should like to find is a crime the effects of which would be perpetual, even when I myself do not act, so that there would not be a single moment of my life even when I were asleep, when I was not the cause of some chaos, a chaos of such proportions that it would provoke a general corruption or a disturbance so formal that even after my death its effects would still be felt."