Lire Sade avec Rousseau

Translated title of the contribution: Reading Sade with Rousseau

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In Sade criticism, relations between Sade and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are a polarizing subject. The two authors are either considered to be sharply opposed to, or essentially compatible with, each other. This article argues that the analysis of their relationship, instead of being based on explicit references to Rousseau or his texts, should take into consideration the specificities of Sadean intertextuality. While being outrageously original, Sade still belongs to a rhetorical culture that recycles texts and discourses. His creative processes include imitation, copying, plagiarizing, and the recombining of elements from other texts, including Rousseau's. The Sadean intertext highlights dystopic aspects of Rousseau's ideas and imagery. While underscoring the importance of the modernity of Rousseau's ideas at successive stages of the French Revolution, this article pays special attention to the Sadean use and recasting of Rousseau's criticism of the theatre, of his two Discours, and of Du Contrat social.

Translated title of the contributionReading Sade with Rousseau
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalRomance Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • D. A. F. de Sade
  • French Revolution
  • Intertextuality
  • J.-J. Rousseau


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