Author: Marquis de Sade
Publish Date: 1791
Page Length: 326
Justine is a 1791 novel written by Marquis de Sade. The book is a work of fiction set in 18th-century France. The story's protagonist, Justine, is an innocent young woman who faces a series of hardships because of her morality. The novel is divided into ten parts, each of which tells a different story.
The novel begins with the birth of the protagonist, Justine, in a small village in France. Justine and her elder sister, Juliette, were orphaned at a young age when their parents were killed in a carriage accident. Justine is raised by her grandmother, while Juliette goes to a convent. Justine is kind-hearted and virtuous, while Juliette is wild and corrupt.
Justine's grandmother dies, leaving her homeless and alone. Justine sets out on a journey to seek assistance from her sister, Juliette. She comes across Robespierre's thugs and is almost killed, but she is rescued by a gentleman named Dubois, who offers to help her. Justine falls into Dubois’s trap and is eventually caught by the police.
Justine is sentenced to death, but she is saved by a man named Villeterque. He takes her as his mistress, but after some time, he grows tired of her. Villeterque sends her to Madame Dubourg, a wealthy woman who employs young women to serve as prostitutes. Justine is forced to work for Madame Dubourg, but she is eventually rescued by a man named Gernande.
Justine meets a woman named Madame de Lorsange, who is in search of an attractive young woman to seduce her husband. Justine becomes enchanted by Madame de Lorsange and agrees to seduce her husband. However, she is eventually caught and placed under arrest.
Justine and a group of prostitutes are sent to a castle where they are imprisoned and subjected to inhumane conditions. Justine meets a religious fanatic, Father Bonafide and convinces him to help them escape. Unfortunately, they are recaptured and subjected to more abuse.
Justine and her group are rescued from the castle by Justine's lover, Edouard, who is a member of a secret society. Justine is deeply touched by Edouard’s kindness and falls in love with him.
Justine learns that Edouard has a twin brother, a sadistic man named Juliette. Julia tries to convince Justine to join his family, but she refuses. Julia sends Justine to a brothel, where she is once again forced to work as a prostitute.
Justine escapes from the brothel and returns to Madame de Lorsange, who helps her secure employment as a governess. Justine turns out to be a wonderful tutor to Madame de Lorsange's children, but Madame de Lorsange's husband becomes enamored with Justine's beauty.
Justine is once again imprisoned, but this time, it is at the hands of Madame de Lorsange's husband. He is determined to make Justine his mistress and subjects her to unimaginable torture.
Justine is rescued by Edouard and they flee the country together. Their relationship flourishes, but it is short-lived. Edouard is killed, and Justine is left alone once again.
The novel is highly controversial due to its graphic descriptions of sexual violence, torture, and murder. The themes of the novel include eroticism, morality, and the corrupting nature of power. The book has been banned in many countries and has been a subject of legal action. Despite its controversial nature, the novel has been a significant influence on literature and philosophy. The book is considered a precursor to the surrealist movement and a major work of the Gothic literature genre.
In conclusion, Justine is a classic novel that explores the corrosive impact of power on morality and ethics. It presents a bleak picture of the human condition, highlighting the dark, venal, and violent aspects of human nature. The novel is a testimony to the author's mastery of the art of storytelling and his ability to push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in literature.