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Abstract

This article aims to challenge the common critique of Sade’s misogyny by focusing on the polyphonic discourses in his works. Echoing Stéphanie Genand’s critique that Sade’s oeuvre does not inscribe itself in an act of claiming rights, but in the portrayal of complex identities (2013: 14), this article examines how the multiplicity of voices in Sade’s writings allows for a more nuanced reading and a better understanding of the author (2013: 15)1. Although it would be wrong to define Sade as a feminist, it is safe to say that his complex female characters embody feminist tendencies. Sade’s “third woman” does not only appear in his nouvelles philosophiques such as Aline et Valcour (1795) but also in the highly pornographic The 120 Days of Sodom, specifically featured in the characterization of one of his forgotten “heroines,” Madame Duclos.


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