Donatien Alphonse François Sade: Justine, ou les malheurs de la vertu [Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue]

(2480 words)
  • Robert Gillan (University of Manchester)

The “ Justine Texts”

Since the publication in 1791 of Sade’s first novel, Justine ou les malheurs de la vertu, his name has been indissociably linked with that of its eponymous heroine. The enduringly popular image of Sade as a sexually-frustrated pornographer visiting an endless series of fantastical torments upon a defenceless virgin is epitomized by his literary relationship with Justine. Yet behind the summary association of these two names, and the common reference to a work known simply as Justine, lie a sequence of literary events involving four different titles and a publication history straddling three centuries. These works, in their …

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Gillan, Robert. "Justine, ou les malheurs de la vertu". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 September 2007
[, accessed 25 November 2015.]