Saturday 16 March 2024

Book Review: Gothic Tales by The Marquis de Sade (Short Stories)

Title: Gothic Tales
Author: The Marquis de Sade
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 3 September 2024
Pages: 192
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Short Stories
Source: ARC via Edelweiss

Notorious for erotic novels that use satire and social critique to challenge the aristocracy in pre-revolutionary France, his sexual transgressive work made his name unmentionable in civilized circles. Writing about Enlightenment philosophy as much as he does about incest and adultery, de Sade’s fiction delves deep into the darkest recesses of the human psyche and remains as relevant to our society as it was to his own.

Thrumming with devious fantasies and dangerous liaisons, these gothic stories lay bare the transgressive desires of his unforgettable characters. As good behaviour gives way to wicked impulse, each finely crafted tale reveals an uncomfortable truth about human nature, from a pitch-black social comedy exposing the hypocrisies of the church to a drama-laden deep dive into adultery.

Infamous for spending decades in prison and condemned by Parisian society, de Sade’s writing provocatively challenges the morality of day, introducing through these stories a lawless locale of vice and freedom.

With a provocative introduction from translator Margaret Crossland,
Gothic Tales provides a tantalizing entry point, showcasing Sade’s gift as both a moralist and a humorist. 


I had already read most of de Sade's more famous, longer-form works before picking up this book. I liked this collection of tales as they blended the aspects of perversion you'd expect from de Sade with humour, wit, philosophy and, as the title suggests, a hint of the Gothic. Not as extreme as some other books of his either, they might be a good place to begin if you are new to his writing. At under 200 pages the book was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I am giving it four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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