Tonight’s reading dramatises a novella duo written by perhaps the eighteenth century’s most violent, sexually obscene and provocative author, the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814). Penned in 1787, ‘Justine’ or ‘The Misfortunes of Virtue’ portrays a libertine priest’s defilement of a girl with a communion wafer. ‘Juliette’ followed in 1797, telling the tale of Justine’s convent-raised sister who, having been informed by a woman abusing her that morality and religion are useless, throws herself into a successful life as an amoral erotomaniac murderer. Most shocking to eighteenth century society was that de Sade’s literary voice didn’t condemn, but instead coldly, philosophically embraced the concept of the crimes and attitudes he depicted. Following the novellas’ joint publication in 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte had him incarcerated for the remainder of his life.