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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Hedwig Fraunhofer

Abstract

What does not conform draws attention. For this reason the work of the Marquis de Sade has long held the world’s attention by excluding any sense of being bound by convention. His characters follow no religion, no moral code, and no law but their own pleasure—especially when it involves violence. The characters of Sade’s twisted literary world, and Sade himself as a historical figure, seem to have a blatant disregard for all propriety, whether seen through its original 18th century context or that of today. This contempt for the conventional, or indeed everything, has led certain scholars to suggest that Sade’s writing is openly nihilist. Though biographical evidence on the author might support this conclusion, Sade’s novel Justine, however, provides repeated instances where the characters make bold universal statements about the human heart—the kind of statements typical of a moralist writer.

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