Thursday 29 December 2016

Book Review: The Sadeian Woman by Angela Carter

Title: The Sadeian Woman
Author: Angela Carter

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2001 (1978)
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Gift

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Sexuality is power. So says the Marquis de Sade, philosopher and pornographer. His virtuous Justine, who keeps to the rules, is rewarded with rape and humiliation; his Juliette, Justine's triumphantly monstrous antithesis, viciously exploits her sexuality.

With brilliance and wit, Angela Carter takes on these outrageous figments of de Sade's extreme imagination and transforms them into symbols of our time: The Hollywood sex goddesses, mothers and daughters, pornography, even the sacred shrines of sex and marriage lie devastatingly exposed before our eyes.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I should state for the record that unlike some reviewers, who read this book without reading the source material, I have read, and like, Sade's works. As such, I don't feel that I need to have them justified in any way. Nonetheless, Carter's exploration of them as feminist pieces is interesting. I concur with some of her points but don't agree with others, yet it is all food for thought, and I enjoy seeing Sade interpreted, as I also see his writing, in the light of satire and political commentary as much as anything else. It is also true that he casts women in a different mould than other men in his age. I'm not a raging feminist, so some of Carter's arguments were a bit much for me; however, I still found this an intriguing read. It can be read, as many have, separate from Sade's own stories, but I think readers will get more out of Carter's commentary if they know the source material firsthand. 3.5 stars

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