'I have become whore through goodwill and libertine through virtue.' Orphaned and penniless at the age of twelve, the beautiful and devout Justine embarks upon her remarkable odyssey. Her steadfast faith and naive trust in trust in everyone she meets destine her from the outset for sexual exploitation and martyrdom. The unending catalogue of disasters that befall her, during which she is subject to any number of perverse practices, illustrate Sade's belief in the primacy of Nature over civilization. Virtue is no match for vice, and as criminality and violence triumph, Justine is doomed to suffer. Sade's writings have become a byword for transgression and obscenity, and the logical amorality of his philosophy still has the power to shock. By overturning social, religious, and political norms he puts under scrutiny conventional ideas of justice, power, life, and death. Justine is a ferocious physical and intellectual assault on absolute notions of good and evil, and as such, one of the earliest literary manifestos for atheism. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.
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John Phillips is the author of a number of books on Sade, including Sade: The Libertine Novels (Pluto Press, 2001), The Marquis de Sade: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2005), and How to Read Sade (Granta, 2005).
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