Name: Sade, "Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue", "Juliette"

Date:  1500 - 1799

Location:  Europe

SubjectExplicit Sexuality , Nudity


Artist: Sade, D.A.F., Marquis de (1740-1814)

Confronting Bodies: French authorities, U.S. Customs, The Church, British Customs

Date of Action: 1791

Specific Location: France, United States, Italy, England

Description of Artwork: "Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue," (1791) and "Juliette," (1798): Play and novel with sexually graphic images and ideas.

Description of Incident: 1791, France: The authorities doggedly suppressed "Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue" and Juliette." 195, Paris, France: A complete edition of the works of Sade in 26 volumes, begun in 1947, finally in 1954 came to the attention of the Commission Consultative, which under a decree of 1940, was empowered to advise the Minister of Justice to initiate prosecutions.

Results of Incident: 1791, France: The Marquis spent much of his life in prison. Grandmothers, misled by the title, are said to have given "Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue" to their frivolous granddaughters to read as an object lesson. 1929, United States: "L'Oeuvre du Marquis de Sade," from which the term "sadism" was derived, remained on the list of prohibited Customs importations, although pirated editions circulated surreptitiously within the barrier. 1948, Italy: Books still listed on the Index. 1955,Paris, France: Despite such notable witnesses for the defense as Jean Cocteau, the publishers were fined and the books ordered destroyed, although most of them had long since been sold. 1962, London, England: "Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue" seized by British Customs. 1965, United States: Many of the suppressed works published openly.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.

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