The Marquis de Sade continues to linger in our imaginations. After two centuries, this man still has the power both to shock and to inspire feelings of awe, contempt and disquiet. Nevertheless, the intricacies of his character, the work he produced and the nature of the threat he still seems to assert have been shrouded by time and the concept of sadism. Ronald Hayman's searching biography uncovers the man at the heart of the myth and illuminates de Sade against the repression, violence and change of the 18th century.
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