Marquis de Sade
biography by Neil Schaeffer
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March, accused of trying to molest some young prisoners near his cell,
Sade is sent another prison, Bicêtre.
||April 27, Sade is transferred to the insane
asylum at Charenton in order to avoid further scandal and a public
trial of his allegedly pornographic works. His family (his ex-wife, his
two sons, and his daughter) agree to pay for his pension there. Sade
and the director of Charenton, François Simonet de Coulmier,
develop a relationship of friendship and mutual respect, as Sade helps
the director test a new therapy by putting on plays with patients and
August, Mme Quesnet is permitted to move into a room next to Sade's.
April 14, Coulmier permits Sade to leave the asylum grounds and attend
Easter mass at the parish church of Charenton-Saint-Maurice. Charenton
is reprimanded by the police authorities, exposing a rift in the way
both sides viewed the danger to the public posed by the 65-year-old
Sade writes one of his last letters to his old lawyer Gaufridy:
"Perhaps you would now like a word about me? Very well, I am not happy,
although I am well."
June 5, Sade's massive ten-volume erotic novel begun in 1806, Les
Journées de Florbelle ou la Nature dévoilée,
is seized in a police search of his room (after Sade's death, it would
be burned by his son, Donatien-Claude-Armand).
Sade's daily Journal reveals the return of his counting mania and his
paranoid belief that random numbers can foretell the date of his
September 15, Sade's younger son, Donatien-Claude-Armand, marries his
cousin Louise-Gabrielle-Laure de Sade.
June 9, Sade's elder son, Louis-Marie, serving in Napoleon's army in
Italy, is killed in an ambush.
July 12, Napoleon's prison commission informs him that the prisoner
Sade "preaches crime in his speech and in his writings" and that he
ought to "be kept in detention and deprived of all outside
October 18, new police orders put Sade into solitary confinement and
deprive him of pens and paper. Coulmier succeeds in ameliorating this
July 7, Sade's wife Renée-Pélagie dies at her family's
estate in Normandy.
December 4, Sade completes his novel, Adélaïde de
May 6, the government orders Coulmier to suspend all theatrical
Sade finishes the final draft of a novel, Histoire secrète
d'Isabelle de Bavière, and publishes another, La
Marquise de Gange.
July 21, Sade's surviving Journal records a sexual encounter with a
17-year-old worker in the asylum, Magdeleine Leclerc. Their sexual
relations had started much earlier, for Sade's meticulous records
indicate that this is their 57th sexual rendezvous. Sade is also
teaching her to read and write.
November 27, Magdeleine visits "for two hours, and I was very pleased
with it," Sade wrote in his Journal.
December 2, after a brief illness, Sade dies in his sleep at the age of
74. He left a generous bequest to Mme Quesnet who stayed with him to
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