The Enlightenment Period

Counter-Enlightenment Figures

Who was the Marquis de Sade?

Swift is most famous for his 1726 satire, Gulliver’s Travels. His 1729 “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public” was a shocking criticism of the treatment of the Irish poor in which he suggested that their babies be substituted for the traditional goose that graced the tables of absentee English landlords.

Dinatien Alphonse François de Sade (1740–1814) was a French nobleman and revolutionary best known for his shocking pornographic works Justine (The Misfortunes of Virtue), Juliette (Vice Richly Rewarded), 120 Days of Sodom (The School of Licentiousness), Incest, and The Crimes of Love. In an age that was not strongly focused on vice and sin, he managed to spend over 30 years of his life incarcerated—in an insane asylum, as well as in prison—mostly on account of his writing. The term “sadism” is based on his name.

The ruins of the Marquis de Sade’s castle. The marquis was known for his prurient pursuits, but his ideas on human sexuality influenced the fields of psychology and philosophy (iStock).

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