Il Papa, Sade’s Pater Beyond Compare

  • Béatrice Fink


How can one describe, inscribe the Sadian father? When dealing with a text that tells it all, what remains to be told? Moreover, and paradox oblige (paradoxes are one of the mainstays of Sade’s rhetorical agenda), the notions of gender and therefore of father are arguably liminal in the Marquis’ prose. Sexual identity disintegrates in the magma of Sadian orgies. It is transmogrified into couplings, joints, crossovers, gear systems and other species of mechanical interplay set into motion by high carbon fuel. Nor should one forget that on the level of metaphor the overwhelming power, that which envelops and bears down on all others in Sade’s cosmogony, is feminine and maternal, better yet step-maternal. The reference is to Mother Nature, bearing Matter Triumphant in her wake.


Gear System Mother Nature Fictional Mode Dead Metaphor Overwhelming Power 
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  1. 1.
    M. Lever (ed.), Le Règne du père (1721–60) (Paris: Fayard, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D.A.F. de Sade, Oeuvres complètes VIII and IX, (Paris: Têtes de feuilles, 1973).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    An excellent analysis of Sadian theatrics or staging may be found in Roland Barthes, Sade, Fourier, Loyola, (Paris: le Seuil, 1970) pp. 127–74.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Maurice Blanchot, Lautréamont et Sade (Paris: Minuit, 1963).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • Béatrice Fink

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