chapter  4
41 Pages

La Nouvelle Justine, ou les Malheurs de la vertu, suivie de l’Histoire de Juliette, sa sœur

This chapter is primarily concerned with the third and final version of the story of Justine (Sade’s famous prude). However, before we examine La Nouvelle Justine it will be useful to glance at an earlier text, La Philosophie dans le boudoir. For in that dialogue Sade introduces two figures — Eugénie and her mother — both of whom are ‘prudes’ (Eugénie initially, her mother to the end). Below I will argue that this is Sade’s attempt to contain the threat to libertinage posed by pruderie — but that the attempt fails. In other words, La Philosophie dans le boudoir shows that the prude introduces an aporia into Sadean libertinage. To examine this problem in a relatively compact text, and a philosophical dialogue at that, will enable us subsequently to trace a route through La Nouvelle Justine.