intense sensations

Brutal gang rape missed by Paypal’s censors

Posted on: March 3, 2012

JustineJustine by Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book offers an excellent lesson in how to escape censorship but is otherwise rather dull.

For those of you who don’t know, Paypal is currently trying to clean up the internet by refusing to do business with any site that offers for sale works of a lewd and depraved nature (as defined by Paypal.) Justine is one of the dirtiest, most depraved, most wicked books you will ever come across but has nevertheless managed to elude Paypal’s obsessive team of censors by adopting the following ingenious ploys.

1. The author has chosen for a pen-name something that sounds vaguely aristocratic. Americans revere titles. For the Marquis de Sade, they are a matter of contempt (“forged by the impertinence that seeks, and sustained by the credulity that bestows them.”)

2. The novel is disguised as a work of philosophical literature. You can depict any act, no matter how bestial or disgusting, so long as your tale has a scholarly imprint. On the back of my paperback copy of this book the label “Literature” is stamped in the top-left and in the bottom-right corners, where even the most stupid of censors can’t miss it.

3. It is written in French. Most Americans can’t understand French and those who can know that French, being the language of love and having been kept implicitly pure down the centuries by the French Academy appointed for that purpose, permits everything. That said, my scholarly translation was produced in America by American scholars. It is always a good idea to enlist the aid of scholars in editing your work if you can because most of them are sexually repressed and therefore see nearly any kinky fantasy as normal.

4. The author employs circumlocution. Okay, this ruse can backfire but it keeps all but the most intelligent of readers off your back. (And censors, by definition are not intelligent readers.) So, for example, when Justine is stripped naked and softened up prior to being gang-raped by four hardened criminals, the author finds ingenious ways to stimulate the imagination by using language that is deliberately imprecise:

“… as soon as I was as he [one of the gang members] desired me to be, [i.e. naked] having made me crouch down on all fours so that I resembled a beast, Dubois [the female gang leader] took in hand a very monstrous object and led it to the peristyles of first one and then the other of Nature’s altars, and under her guidance the blows it delivered to me here and there were like those of a battering ram thundering at the gates of a besieged town in the olden days.”

This pretty simile, by the way, reminds me of one of my favourite Chinese books, Fortress Besieged by Qian Zhongshu. The title is based on a French proverb:

Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out.

There is much more to be said about this extraordinary novel but as it is nearly all of an intellectual and moralistic nature I suspect it will have little interest for my friends, acquaintances and readers, so, with a heavy heart, I will give this book two stars for effort and move on.

8 Responses to "Brutal gang rape missed by Paypal’s censors"

the book is a most boring read, I would say, and personally I left the book without reading it through. De Sade in whole is boring, to put it mildly, like any fiction, wich is overloaded with bedscenes and sexual violence, and his Philosophy in the Bedroom is not worth a brass farthing.

I knew it, Larisa. Can’t you recommend any of his books?

I’m afraid I can’t recommend any of his books. In addition to my previous comment to your interesting review, Vanessa, I’d like to say that true, perhaps, his ideas used to be new and impressive, but at present, he sounds rather shallow. His books sound like an old fogey’s delirium, so pitiful that it looks like even the censorship doesn’t take them into consideration, :) but it’s absolutely wrong if he has new fans at present. And yet, personally I am against burning books or censorship in whole or censorship on the Net in particular. The de Sade books sound disgusting, but any “censorship on the Net” sounds absolutely absurd.

Perhaps you are right. I don’t know. I have not yet devoted much time to the works themselves. :)

*still laughing* on the ways to escape the PayPal censor. But I’d add two more. Be male and be dead. Both those give you a huge advantage.

You may have a point there. LOL. By the way, thanks for all you are doing to fight the PayPal ban.

Recently, doing some reminiscence, I found that indeed, personally I was educated by legacy/books written by the “dead white European men”, mainly, :) and I still feel thankful to most of them, regarding my compatriot classic writers as Europeans too.

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