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The 1990s have seen a resurgence of interest in the Marquis de Sade, with several biographies competing to put their version of his life story before the public. But Sadean scholar Richard Seaver takes us directly to the source, translating Sade's prison correspondence. Seaver's translations retain the aristocratic hauteur of Sade's prose, which still possesses a clarity that any reader can appreciate. "When will my horrible situation cease?" he wrote to his wife shortly after his incarceration began in 1777. "When in God's name will I be let out of the tomb where I have been buried alive? There is nothing to equal the horror of my fate!" But he was never reduced to pleading for long, and not always so solicitous of his wife's feelings; a few years later, he would write, "This morning I received a fat letter from you that seemed endless. Please, I beg of you, don't go on at such length: do you believe that I have nothing better to do than to read your endless repetitions?" For those interested in learning about the man responsible for some of the most infamous philosophical fiction in history, Letters from Prison is an indispensable collection.

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