Can reading fiction be bad for you? Can some books damage, harm or corrupt their readers? Who should decide which books are bad and which readers – if any – need protecting? This new blog will explore the past, present and future of bad books, and the cultures that fear them. Our interest in bad books is prompted by our current project, a new translation of the Marquis de Sade’s notorious The 120 Days of Sodom, to appear with Penguin Classics on 29 September 2016. Perhaps the most violent and transgressive work of all time, Sade’s novel is a testament to the cruelty man is capable of imagining.
Look forward to your translation of the novel which, as Joan DeJean once described it, might best be considered the ultimate in prison literature. My wife and I are just completing translation of ALINE AND VALCOUR, the novel Sade composed soon after finishing 120 DAYS but which, by contrast, is epic rather than pornographic. In a scene set in Lisbon, Sade’s quartet of libertines from the Chateau Silling actually make a cameo appearance in A&V.