The Marquis de Sade unmasked!

Bravo to Suzanne for recognizing the Marquis de Sade under the guise of the ci-devant Marquis de Lacoste in Mistress of the Revolution!

Marquis de Sade van Loo

Marquis de Sade by van Loo

In this little exchange, Lacoste-Sade expresses his opinions to my heroine Gabrielle, who, in the midst of the Revolution, now prudently goes by the name of Citizen Labro.

“You have no idea, dear CitizenLabro, how strong the prejudices bred by superstition and fanaticism stillare.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look no further than the relations between the sexes. It is clear that all women belong to all men.”

“No,it is not clear to me at all. I have the good fortune to belong to no one.”

“It is wrong, my dear, very wrong. You ought to belong to any man who wants you.”

I raised my eyebrow.

“Yes,”he continued. “You forget, dear Citizen, that we are all born free and equal in rights.”

“What has it to do with me belonging to any man who wants me? Since I am free, I belong to one but myself.”

“Oh,but we are not talking about the liberty of women here. What matters is equality between men. If you allege your liking for one man to decline the proposals of another, you violate the principle of equality.”

“Nonsense.I need not allege anything to decline anyone’s attentions. Do you really believe then that a woman has not only the right, but the duty to give herself to any man who requests her favours?”

“Absolutely,my dear.”

“What kind of liberty would I enjoy, if I could not use it to tell a man I dislike to go to hell?”

“Ah,but you would not do so for the sake of liberty. You would do it out of modesty. That despicable feeling is not found in nature. Look around: animals are not modest.”

“Maybe not, but we are not animals. Your opinions, Citizen Lacoste, reflect the most absolute contempt for the rights of women.”

Lacoste’s ideas here are directly inspired by Philosophy in the Boudoir, a work published by Sade around 1795.

Also Lacoste, in Mistress of the Revolution, fondly speaks of his mother-in-law as “the ugliest and most vindictive sow in all of France,” and we learn that she had him locked up under the Old Regime for disgracing his wife’s sister, who was fifteen,and eloping with her to Italy.  Again this is straight from Sade’s curriculum vitae.

Sade’s life is in some ways so emblematic of his time (the end of the Ancien Regime, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era) that it seemed impossible not to make at least a passing reference to him. I mention his Justine in my second novel, For The King, and he may make an appearance in my third book. I did not expect him there at all, but it turns out that he may have a connection to the case that is the base of the novel. How things happen…

So why did I change Sade’s name to Lacoste in Mistress of the Revolution? For many reasons, the obvious one being not to incur the ire of Sade purists if I incorrectly placed him as a prompter in the Theatre du Marais, which really existed during the Revolution. Also I wanted to play with my readers, to see if any recognized him. I picked the name Lacoste, which was one of Sade’s chateaux in Provence, as an additional clue. Again, my congratulations to Suzanne!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

19 Comments to “The Marquis de Sade unmasked!”

  1. Zoloft.

    Does zoloft cause weight gain. Zoloft. Illegal uses for concerta adderall zoloft. Zoloft side effects.

  2. Levitra. says:


    Which is more effective viagra cialas levitra.

  3. Soma best pharmacy online.

    Soma online sales.

  4. Tramadol. says:

    Tramadol for dogs side effects.

    Tramadol side effects. Tramadol hcl. Tramadol. Tramadol for dogs.

  5. Auto leasing online.

    Auto leasing online.

  6. I forgot the part about the Baron’s libertine library. That explains a great deal.

  7. Franklin – Pornographic literature was a flourishing genre before the Revolution, and Sade is more famous than the competition nowadays because his work is of a higher literary caliber. So the library of the late Baron could have contained many other works of a similar nature.
    Please participate again next time!

  8. Eva, Cindi – yes, exactly, the Baron de Peyre, but Sibylle was the first to nail the specific clue: the identical first name.

    Elena – You are absolutely right: Lacoste expresses Sade’s ideas, and the Baron behaves as a sadist. Thank you again for that great review!

    I want to thank all of you for participating in this little quizz. No worries, we will have more giveaways soon…

  9. Franklin Michaels says:

    Damn! I would have sworn that the reference was to “many works of a libertine nature, amply illustrated,” at p. 74, referring to the library that had been assembled by the Baron’s late older brother.

  10. Lacoste is Sade! I should have known! And when I was reading about the Baron de Peyre, all I could think of was that he was a fan of Sade, except that he was not much of a reader. I agree, Catherine, “Quills” was terribly inaccurate. To combine the philosophy of Lacoste with the behavior of Peyre completes the character of Sade, who was a truly brutal man and a predator.

  11. Cindi says:

    My guess is “Baron de Peyre!” Thanks,Cindi

  12. You are more than welcome, Sibylle. My thanks go to you for paying attention to the minutest details of my novel!

  13. Sibylle says:

    Wow ! Did I actually win a copy of For The King ? This is amazing, I never win anything. Thank you so much !


    You won, Sibylle. My congratulations!

    Yes, I thought of Sade when I gave our dear Baron his first name. And not only that, but his initials are D.A.F. (Donatien Aime Francois) the same as Sade’s, who was christened Donatien Alphonse Francois.

    I agree that Kate Winslet was great in Quills. I liked Geoffrey Rush as well. My problem was not with the acting, but with the liberties the thing took with Sade’s life, with the period details, etc. So many things were wrong that it made it painful to watch. Either sloppy research, or complete disregard for historical accuracy. Just what you don’t like with some historical fiction.

  15. Sibylle says:

    Sorry, not the Marquis, I meant the Baron :)
    And I thought Kate Winslet was wonderful in Quills, but she always is ! :)

  16. Sibylle says:

    The Marquis’ first name, then, Donatien ?


    Eva and Sibylle – Yes, it has to do with the Baron de Peyre, but it is a very specific detail. Come on, you can do better!

    And yes, I saw Quills. Terribly inaccurate from a historical standpoint, and, whatever one’s opinion of Sade, he didn’t deserve such a lousy film adaptation of his life.

    Sade was all the rage in France in my student years, and he was the topic of my cultural literacy subject when I took the Bar Exam in Paris. The written part, that is. For the oral, I had Mozart’s operas. So it was all 18th century…

  18. Sibylle says:

    The Baron de Peyre ?
    I thought about Sade and more particularly of Justine when I read the book : Gabrielle is married to him fresh from the convent, just like Justine who at the beginning of the book is, if I remember correctly, expelled from a convent. It was very common at the time if I believe the classes I took about Les Liaisons Dangereuses (same fate for Cécile).
    I’m not sure you were talking about that particular reference, though.
    And I too had thought about Sade when reading about Lacoste, but I didn’t know the character was directly based on him, I thought he was just inspired by Sade’s writings. Still talked about in 2008, he would have been very happy about that, I’m sure :p

  19. Eva says:

    That’s interesting about Lacoste’s true identity! I don’t know all that much about the Marquis de Sade, except that I had a roommate who was rather interested in him, so sometimes she would read passages out loud (mainly to make me laugh) and she made me watch Quills several times. It’s an interesting, and deeply disturbing, movie if you haven’t seen it.

    As to your contest, well, since the Marquis lends his name to the word “sadism,” I immediately thought of Gabrielle’s first husband, and how he enjoys inflicting pain on her, both in the bedroom and outside of it. He talked about how he would enjoy breaking her, which was pretty horrid.

Leave a Reply