The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography

The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography

by Angela Carter


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Sexuality is power. So says the Marquis de Sade, philosopher and pornographer. His virtuous Justine, who keeps to the rules, is rewarded with rape and humiliation; his Juliette, Justine's triumphantly monstrous antithesis, viciously exploits her sexuality.

With brilliance and wit, Angela Carter takes on these outrageous figments of de Sade's extreme imagination and transforms them into symbols of our time: The Hollywood sex goddesses, mothers and daughters, pornography, even the sacred shrines of sex and marriage lie devastatingly exposed before our eyes.

Author Bio: Angela Carter (1940-1992) was best known for her subversive short stories, including her most famous collection, The Bloody Chamber. Carter translated the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, and wrote the screenplay for Neil Jordan's 1984 film, The Company of Wolves, based on her short story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394758930
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/15/1988
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Angela Carter (1940 -1992) wrote nine novels and numerous short stories, as well as nonfiction, radio plays, and the screenplay for Neil Jordan's 1984 movie The Company of Wolves, based on her story. She won numerous literary awards, traveled and taught widely in the United States, and lived in London.

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The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Terpsichoreus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book's primary thesis is that the Marquis De Sade is the father of modern feminism. For the uninitiated, De Sade's works are infamous for their depictions of sexual humiliation and cruelty. We get the term 'sadism' from the sex practices he fearlessly explored.Against all expectation, Carter supports this seemingly absurd thesis in a way that is lucid, reasonable, insightful, and even amusing. It seems there is a gift for women in Donatien's mad sensual rebellion, after all.I have struggled for some time in trying to review this book, simply because it is still beyond me how anyone could be smart and talented enough to propose something so outlandish, and then to make it seem the most natural thing in the world.Carter's observations on sexuality, gender, and pornography are as remarkable as Foucault's, with none of the meandering semiotics. Her ability to say precisely what she means, both evocatively and concisely never ceased to impress me.She also suggests that many commonly accepted aspects of feminism are not only narrow-minded, but counterproductive. For instance: she presents how the popular 'mother goddess' figure is just another way to entrap women into the role of 'baby factory'--even making them proud of their one-dimensional existence. Of course, she says it better than I.This book was roundly and vehemently criticized by high-ranking feminists when it was published. They could see no way that their plight could possibly be illuminated in the works of any man, let alone a man possessed of a perverse and dehumanizing sexuality.They were uninterested in looking for a commonality with someone they were so clearly superior to. Contrarily, I would suggest that the more we can connect ourselves to those we instinctively draw away from, the more we will understand about being human.How can a movement seek to move beyond mere gender definition and call itself 'feminism'? Would we call a movement to erase the delineation between rich and poor 'povertism'?If the goal of feminism is to remove the discrepancies and prejudices between the sexes, why not name the philosophy after the goal instead of the conflict? 'Humanism' always sounded good to me.Carter likewise desires to reach beyond barriers, refusing to accept a strict delineation between smut and philosophy. Her willingness to search for insight in the last place expected makes her first unique, and second, revolutionary. It is all too sad that modern sexual theory is still far behind the mark Carter set, it's current vanguard having neither the imagination nor the daring to match her, let alone excel beyond her.
bookcrushblog on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really fantastic. An engaging look at female sexuality and power through the eyes of one of Britain's best novelists and one of France's most notorious libertines.Unlike some theory, Carter's The Sadeian Woman, is a mostly accessible, yet insightful, read. Glue a highlighter to your palm as you read... there is plenty of worthwhile stuff in here, folks.