SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de) Autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France. Dans laquelle se trouvent des faits rares inconnus, ou restes dans l'oubli jusqu'a ce jour, et soigneusement etayés de manuscrits authentiques allemands, anglais et latins, 3 vol., Paris, 1813

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Lot 71
SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de)
Complete autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France, 1813

£ 70,000 - 90,000
US$ 86,000 - 110,000
SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de)
Autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France. Dans laquelle se trouvent des faits rares inconnus, ou restes dans l'oubli jusqu'a ce jour, et soigneusement etayés de manuscrits authentiques allemands, anglais et latins, 3 vol., a fair copy intended for submission to a printer (with a note to him on p.251 of vol. 1), although with myriad additions and revisions throughout, each volume with a title page, generally 11 lines of large text with some smaller footnotes and marginalia, comprising 622, 753 and 771 pages numbered later in pencil, vol. 3 with one additional unnumbered leaf at the beginning and p.771 being the rear paste-down, ink and wash plan showing the position of the Hôtel de Barbette tipped into vol. 2, tipped-in slip of text at p.150 of vol. 1, later blue boards, morocco slipcases, 4to (220 x 170mm.), Paris, 1813

Footnotes

  • COMPLETE MANUSCRIPT OF THE LAST OF SADE'S NOVELS. Whilst Justine, Juliette, and a handful of other novels and novellas were published during the Marquis' lifetime, most of his remaining papers were destroyed or suppressed by his descendants. Isabelle de Bavière finally came to light 140 years after its completion.

    Isabelle of Bavaria (1371-1435) was the queen consort of Charles VI; their son was befriended by Joan of Arc and their daughter became the wife of Henry V of England. 'As regent of France, during her husband's phases of madness, she was devious and cruel, aspired to total power and if necessary would have her lovers killed without compunction' (Margaret Crosland, Marquis de Sade: Selected Writings, 2018).

    In a preface and notes at the end of the present manuscript, Sade recounts the novel's inception. In July 1764 he travelled from Paris to the Carthusian convent at Dijon to inspect documents from the time of Charles VI. He claims to have based his account of Isabelle's life on these archives, and that they were destroyed later at the time of the French Revolution. Gilbert Lély, his biographer, disputes this, arguing that the novel was based solely on Sade's imagination (Une supercherie littéraire de Sade, 1960).

    The Sadeian imagination is let loose with Isabelle. He 'gives her rapaciousness a cold and calculating violence' and portrays 'a woman who carefully manages her greed for maximum gratification,' according to her biographer Tracy Adams (The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria, 2010). Sade's Isabelle prostitutes herself in order to have a constable murdered; facilitates the assassination of Louis of Orléans and his family; gets high watching animal skinners at work; cavorts with low-life whilst disguised as a whore; poisons three of her children; and finally arranges for the Duke of Bedford to explore the private parts of Joan of Arc. Lély and others have found in Isabelle many echoes of Juliette, Sade's amoral nymphomaniac murderer heroine.

    At the beginning of the novel, Sade lays out Isabelle's charms:

    De l'insouciance pour la morale et pour la religion qui l'étaie ; une insurmontable aversion pour tout ce qui contrariait ses goûts; de l'inflexibilité dans l'humeur; de l'emportement dans les plaisirs; un dangereux penchant à la vengeance, trouvant facilement des torts à ce qui l'entourait aussi facile à soupçonner qu'à punir, à produire des maux qu'à les envisager de sang-froid; prouvant par de certains traits que quand l'amour enflammerait son cœur, elle ne s'abandonnerait qu'à ses emportements et n'y verrait qu'un but utile... possédant enfin tous les vices que ne rachetait aucune vertu.

    (Dismissive already about morality and the religion which supports it; an insurmountable aversion to everything which opposed her tastes; unyielding in her moods; extreme in her pleasures; a dangerous inclination to vengeance; finding with ease wrongs in those who surrounded her, as quick to suspect as to punish, to produce evil deeds as to contemplate them in cold blood; proving through certain traits that when love inflamed her heart she would yield only to its rages and would see in it only a useful purpose... In fact possessing all the vices unredeemed by a single virtue. Translated by Crosland.)

    According to Sade's notes in the present manuscript, he began writing it up on 19 May 1813, completed it on 24 September, and made the last corrections on 20 November. He entrusted the manuscript to his valet Paquet and charged him with finding a publisher, but the project fell through. Sade reviewed the manuscript on 29 October 1814, 34 days before his death at the age of 74 (Lély, Vie du marquis de Sade, 1982, pp.650-658). The Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière was finally published in 1953 by Gallimard, with an introduction by Lély.

    Provenance: Marquis de Sade; by descent through the de Sade family to Comte Xavier de Sade who rediscovered his ancestor's papers in the family's château at Condé-en-Brie and authorized publication in 1953; Pierre Bergé, bookplates.

    Exhibited: 'Sade, un Athée en Amour', Fondation Bodmer, 2014-2015, item 132.
Contacts
SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de) Autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France. Dans laquelle se trouvent des faits rares inconnus, ou restes dans l'oubli jusqu'a ce jour, et soigneusement etayés de manuscrits authentiques allemands, anglais et latins, 3 vol., Paris, 1813
SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de) Autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France. Dans laquelle se trouvent des faits rares inconnus, ou restes dans l'oubli jusqu'a ce jour, et soigneusement etayés de manuscrits authentiques allemands, anglais et latins, 3 vol., Paris, 1813
SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de) Autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France. Dans laquelle se trouvent des faits rares inconnus, ou restes dans l'oubli jusqu'a ce jour, et soigneusement etayés de manuscrits authentiques allemands, anglais et latins, 3 vol., Paris, 1813
SADE (DONATIEN ALPHONSE FRANÇOIS, Marquis de) Autograph manuscript of his historical novel Histoire secrète d'Isabelle de Bavière reine de France. Dans laquelle se trouvent des faits rares inconnus, ou restes dans l'oubli jusqu'a ce jour, et soigneusement etayés de manuscrits authentiques allemands, anglais et latins, 3 vol., Paris, 1813
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