5.0 out of 5 starsWonderful selection of short stories
28 January 2011 - Published on Amazon.com
Most people, when they hear of Marquis de Sade have certain perception about the man, writer and a philosopher. This is his first work I read and I was amazed by his deep understanding of human behavior, sexuality and the way the society reacts to our outward acts of freedom. His writing is beautiful and his understanding of human psyche deep.
My favorite story was about a noble woman whose affinity towards women changes when she meets a young man, so beautiful that she does not realize he is a man since -- he is dressed in woman's clothing and wears makeup in order to seduce her.
De Sade's ability to mock people in power, priests and judges most of all, is humorous and cunning. It is no wonder why he was considered to bea treat. It is not only his views on human sexuality that set him apart from people of his time, but also his views on justice, religion, life and death.
I cannot wait to start reading another one of his works.
Most associate the Marquis de Sade with either explicit, philosophical epics of libertinism gone mad ("Juliette", "The 120 Days of Sodom") or novellas of dramatic tragedy ("Eugénie de Franval", "Florville and Courval"). "The Mystified Magistrate", a collection of short stories, provides a refreshing change of pace and gives readers a glimpse into the wonderful wit of the unfairly maligned marquis.
Most of the stories here, save for the title tale, are quite short and mostly humorous, de Sade having used Boccaccio's "The Decamaron" as a model (I suspect he was a fan of Dioneo's saucier tales). "The Mystified Magistrate" is a wildly funny story centering on an elderly judge who marries a young woman who wants nothing to do with him and the lengths she, along with some help from friends and family, will go to to prevent the consummation of the marriage from taking place. With shades of Moliére and Beaumarchais throughout (think "Tartuffe" and "The Barber of Seville"), it makes for a very enjoyable read.
"Emilie de Tourville" is one of the few dramatic stories, which I also enjoyed, but humor is the theme in this collection, such as "An Eye for an Eye" and "The Husband Who Turned Priest." The one that made me laugh out loud more than once, and still does every time I read it, is "The Windbags of Provence", a tale with a delicious bit of bite (and an example of de Sade's literary revenge).
The book is translated by Richard Seaver, my preferred de Sade translator (I highly recommend his translation of de Sade's "Letters From Prison"). I have "Windbags of Provence" in another collection, by a different translator, and it falls flat, failing to adequately capture de Sade's sense of humor.
These stories are not explicit; at most they could be termed "bawdy" or "ribald" I suppose. If you've already read de Sade's darker writings, this will most likely pleasantly surprise you; if you're considering becoming acquainted with his works, but aren't quite ready to dive into the heavier books, this is an excellent place to start.
This was quite a delightful surprise! Novellas and short stories, hilarious at times, wonderful, realistic, thought-out characters. The Marquis certainly knew how to tell a story - sex and religion - bawdy, tongue in cheek!! Most enjoyable quick read I've experienced in a long time.
the book is kinda boring if you've already read his more explicit novels.i started out w/juliette,so the mytified magisrtate is vanilla compared to his other novels,but for those who just want a peek,i recommend this book to the fulliest.but for those who want ot jump feet first into sadism,read the 120 days of sodom.
This is a fantastic collection of short stories. "Fraternal Cruelty," was probably my favorite "dramatic" story in the collection, and looks like it could be the basis for an Academy Award winning short film. "Love's Strategy," was interesting, I guess, and "The Teacher's Philosopher," was another strange one. "The Gascon Wit," was hilarious. These stories are for the most part easy to read, very funny, very dramatic, and at times exhilarating.