Marquis de Sade
biography by Neil Schaeffer
|Home : Life & Times : Marriage (1763 - 1771)
February 10, the Paris Peace Treaty marks the end of the Seven Years'
War. Sade is demobilized and enjoys himself in Paris with balls and
actresses while his father attempts to negotiate a marriage for his son
with the rich but socially inferior Montreuil family.
March, Sade woos Laure de Lauris, of a noble Provencal family, but
flees to Avignon when her father discovers him in her bedroom.
April, from Avignon, Sade woos Laure by letter. When she rejects him,
he accuses her of infecting him with a venereal disease, and threatens
to tell her new lover all about it.
May 17, Sade reluctantly returns to Paris to marry the woman he had
seen for the first time only two days before the ceremony. She is
Renée-Pélagie de Montreuil. The newlyweds live with the
Montreuils in Paris. Almost immediately, Sade's mother-in-law, Mme de
Montreuil, concludes that Sade's father has cheated the couple of the
money he promised in the Marriage Contract.
June, Sade continues libertine activities with prostitutes in his
secret apartment on the rue Mouffetard.
August, Sade brings his wife to his in-laws' estate, Echauffour, in
October 15, Sade returns to Paris alone on business, but on October 18
hires a prostitute, Jeanne Testard, who the next day complains to the
police about his sacrilegious conversation. She did not claim to have
been assaulted in any other way but verbally.
October 29, Sade is arrested and imprisoned in the Royal chateau of
Vincennes by means of a lettre de cachet.
November 13, Sade is released to exile at Echauffour under the
continuing surveillance of Inspector Louis Marais, the head of the Vice
January, Sade's uncle, the abbé, publishes the first volume of
his Life of Petrarch.
April 3, Sade is granted permission to return to Paris.
July, Sade begins a successful courtship of Colet, a young
November, Inspector Marais warns the proprietress of a bordello not to
permit Sade to take girls away with him to his private apartments.
February 8, Inspector Marais, still keeping Sade under surveillance,
reports that the marquis slept with the actress La Beaupré.
April 26, Inspector Marais reports that Sade has become the third among
the lovers of Beauvoisin, an actress-courtesan.
Summer, Sade takes Beauvoisin to La Coste, his ancestral home in
Provence. Sade's uncle, the abbé, keeps Mme de Montreuil
informed; she is most concerned about the public scandal and agrees to
help him keep her daughter in the dark.
January, Inspector Marais continues to report on Sade's exploits with
actresses and prostitutes.
January 18, Sade injures a horse with his epee in a traffic dispute.
Summer, Sade supervises construction of a private theater at his
chateau of La Coste.
January 24, Sade's father dies, having left his considerable debts for
his son to pay.
August 27, Sade's wife gives birth to their first son, Louis-Marie, in
February, Sade disturbs his neighbors at his rented pleasure house in
Arcueil, outside Paris, by bringing prostitutes there.
April 3, Easter Sunday, Sade takes a prostitute, Rose Keller, to his
Arcueil house for a whipping. She escapes and presses charges. Even
though Keller drops the charges for a generous settlement, the
extraordinary public scandal forces the King to imprison the marquis
under a lettre de cachet to remove him from ordinary
November 16, Sade is released from prison to go into exile at his
chateau of La Coste.
April 2, Sade is granted permission to return to Paris for medical
June 27, Sade's wife gives birth to their second son,
September to October, Sade travels in Holland, keeping a journal of his
Sade is not permitted to appear at Court; moreover his efforts to
actively rejoin his regiment are rebuffed.
April 17, the Sades' third child is born, Madeleine-Laure.
September, Sade is released after a short stay in Fort-l'Evêque
for debt. Sade takes his wife and children to live at La Coste, and is
soon joined there by his wife's younger sister, Anne-Prospère,
who soon becomes his lover. Through the winter and spring, Sade puts on
plays at his chateaux using a troupe of professional actors.
Home | Life & Times
| Prison Letters | Bibliography | About Neil Schaeffer