The Mystified Magistrate: And Other Tales, by the Marquis de Sade, translated by Richard Seaver
The Marquis de Sade is known variously to history as “the Divine Marquis” (the Surrealists) and “that monster author” (Napoleon)because of the daring originality and scandalous nature of much of his writing.
Sade was a man obsessed, like many great writers, and his obsessions are still present here: his hatred of all things pretentious, his loathing of a corrupt judicial system, his damning of hypocrisy and false piety.
One of the great anarchists of all time, he was nevertheless far from mad (as many pretended) and these works of fiction shed another light on this most feverish of minds. But however heavy the subject, The Mystified Magistrate is infused with a light touch.
"This collection features the novella The Mystified Magistrate, which mocks one of the judges who sentenced Sade to prison, as well as ten shorter works. It will be enjoyed by readers who appreciate the author's mordant wit, possess a sense of humour, and take a bemused or scholarly interest in Sade's bizarre personality. Recommended for all public libraries." - Library Journal.
"Written during the notorious Marquis's long imprisonment for indecency and blasphemy, these comparatively benign cautionary tales eloquently mock the hypocrisy of draconian lawgivers, lascivious clerics, and even Sade's own mortally offended mother-in-law. The graceful title novella offers a scathing and ribald portrayal of a fictional Judge (Fontanis) based on a real one (de Fontien) who had been instrumental in putting the anarchic nobleman away. Most of the 11 shorter tales are, as noted, defences of free love in all its varied forms or spirited vilifications of those who presume to limit its expression. An elegant addition to an important (if troubling) oeuvre, skillfully translated and handsomely presented. - Kirkus Reviews