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This edition includes a modern introduction and a list of suggested further reading. Justine, Or the Misfortunes of Virtue by the Marquis de Sade was published in 1791 at the height of the French Revolution, in times as tumultuous as the story of its heroine. At the tender age of twelve, Justine and her elder sister Juliette are unexpectedly thrust into life on the streets of Paris. In order to survive, Juliette chooses to use her body to obtain the favors of powerful men, but Justine is determined to remain virtuous at all costs. Justine struggles to champion honor, decency, and honesty in a world ruled by corruption, betrayal, and crime. Sade's narration of her plight ruthlessly describes the archetypal confrontation between vice and virtue, and the novel's striking motifs are sadly still relevant today.
About the Author
Marquis de Sade's name alone brings to mind the darkest creations of the human imagination, although the man remains a mysterious figure for most readers. Sade was born in Paris in 1740, the son of a minor noble, and as a young boy, he lived at the royal court. At the age of twenty-three, Sade was incarcerated for the first time, probably for acting out a pathological sexual practice. By the time he died in 1814, at seventy-four, Sade had spent thirty years in various institutions and jails, including the legendary Bastille and the infamous Charenton asylum where he was sent for having written Justine.