Marquis de Sade: Near Miss

Quills, Directed by
Philip Kaufman, 2001

Having been released from prison in 1790 by the revolutionary government, the Marquis de Sade spent the next three years trying to be a good patriot, but when he was thrown back into prison in 1793 as a former aristocrat he must have feared the worst. He was spared the guillotine only by the fall of Robespierre in 1794. During his imprisonment under the Reign of Terror, Sade recorded his revulsion at the carnage.

“… when suddenly the execution grounds were placed absolutely under our windows and the cemetery for those guillotined put in the very middle of our garden. We have buried eighteen hundred of these in thirty-five days, a third of them from our unfortunate house.” And later he complained, “My detention by the state with the guillotine right before my eyes did me a hundred times more harm than all imaginable Bastilles.”