Wednesday, April 9, 2014

where there's muck, there's money

From: The New Yorker

“The Marquis de Sade’s novel The 120 Days of Sodom — whose depravity earned it the label 'the Gospel of Evil' — has returned to France after a three-decade legal battle just in time for the 200th anniversary of the revolutionary politician’s death. A private collector recently bought the well-preserved scroll — considered a national treasure despite its deeply perverse and pornographic content — for €7 million, making it one of the most expensive manuscripts in France.
     Sade called it 'the most impure tale that has ever been told since our world began' and considered it his masterpiece.[…]
     When the Bastille was stormed in the 1789 Revolution, Sade wrote that he had 'wept tears of blood' over its loss. In fact, the parchment was later recovered from a crack in the cell wall, sold several times, and finally published by a German doctor in 1904.
     In 1929 the husband of Marie-Laure de Noailles, a direct descendant of Sade’s, bought the manuscript, passing it down to her daughter Nathalie. She then entrusted it to a friend who turned out to be a thief, smuggling it into Switzerland in 1982 where he sold it to Gérard Nordmann, a Swiss collector of erotica, for about £30,000.”
— Henry Samuel, The Telegraph
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