Crimes of Passion
Marquis de Sade
Originally published in 1800, Crimes of Passion contained eleven stories and an essay on the novel. The present book contains three abridged tales. In “Florville and Courval” we find not only a reinterpretation and elaboration of the Oedipus myth, but an unforgettable illustration of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade’s artistic creed. He was not simply an eccentric aristocrat with artistic pretensions, but a pathological rebel against the Age of Enlightenment, and a prisoner of the Prince of Darkness. The historical tale of “Juliette and Raunai” is sentimental and melodramatic. In it, virtue triumphs, but not before the lovers have run the gamut of human suffering. “Miss Henriette Stralson” has a contemporary setting and ranks above his historical tales. In it, virtue wins only a pyrrhic victory.