The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage (Les 120 Journées de Sodome ou l'école du libertinage) is a novel by the French writer and nobleman Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Described as both pornographic and erotic, it was written in 1785. It tells the story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies. To do this, they seal themselves away for four months in an inaccessible castle in the heart of the Black Forest, with a harem of 36 victims, mostly male and female teenagers, and engage four female brothel keepers to tell the stories of their lives and adventures. The women's narratives form an inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims, which gradually mounts in intensity and ends in their slaughter.The work went unpublished until the early 20th century. Since then, it has been translated into many languages, including English, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, and German. It remains a highly controversial book, having been banned by some governments due to its explicit nature and themes of sexual violence and extreme cruelty, but remains of significant interest to students and historians.