By Marquis de Sade

“An outstanding series of imaginatively weird and wonderful sexual adventures punctuated by means of philosophical and theological digression. Mlle. De Maupin, Lolita, Candy—all faded beside Juliette.”—Library magazine

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Who stands there before you r eyes : my own s i s t e r . But M a d ame Delbene knew h e r too well not to a ttempt to d i ssu a d e m e from undertaking the thing. " Have you r own w ay , " said I at l a s t . " My second choice i s Lau rette. " H e r youth ( sh e was indeed a child o f only ten ) . . h e r pre tty l i ttle wide-awake face, h e r l i v e l i n e s s , h e r h i gh b i r t h , everything about her incensed me . . i n fl amed me ; and seeing no im­ portant obstacle to succes s-fo r t h i s young o rphan h a d no p ro tector a p a r t from an elde rly uncle l iving a t a hundred l e a gues' d i stanc e from Paris-th e S u p e r i o r assu red me I cou l d consider a s al r e a dy sacrificed the victim my perfidious desires were immol ating i n advance.

We need not fret i f we find nothing to substitute for chimeras, and above all let us never accept as cause for what we do not comprehend something else we comprehend even less. "After having demonstrated the complete extravagance of the deific system, " that talented woman went on, "I'll surely have little trouble uprooting the prejudices and superstitions that have been planted in you ever since the day when, at a tender age, you fi rst heard theories expounded on the p rinciple of l i fe ; is there really anything more extraordinary than this superiority to animals which humans arrogate to themselves ?

Then ask them to explain . what they mean by this vocable, soul. And then you'll see them stutter, flounder amidst contradictions : 'It is an unknown substance,' they begin ; next : it's a secret incor­ poreal power ; finally, a spirit whereof they have no definite idea. Ask them how this spirit, which, like their God, they imagine as totally without extension, has managed to wed itself to their material and extensive body, they'll tell you that they frankly don't know, that it's passing strange, a mystery, that God's omni p­ otent dexterity has brought this union about.

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