Marquis de Sade's First Published Book
SADE, Marquis de. Justine. Ou Les Malheurs De La Vertu. Chez les Libraires Associes
Second edition, published the same year as the first and considered equally or even more rare. Two twelvemo volume in one (6 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches; 165 x 95 mm). [2], 5-339, [1, blank]; [4], 228 pp. Both Volume I and II are in twelve and both title-pages have the pyramid-shape vignette engraving. With the half-title for volume II only, which is identical to the volume I half-title. Our copy is lacking the engraved frontispiece in volume I as well as the 3 leaves which are commonly lacking in volume I, the half-title for volume I, the "L’avis de l’éditeur" (Notice from the Editor) and "L’explication de l’estampe." (Explanation of Frontispiece). These two leaves are almost alway lacking and in fact are only known of in one or two copies. Volume is textually complete and with the half-title. Volume II is lacking the twelve engraved plates as usual. Title-pages of both volumes are bound in on stubs.

Full 19th-Century maroon sheep. Boards triple-ruled in gilt. Spine stamped and lettered in gilt. Floral gilt dentelles. All edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. In volume I, leaf F5 with a one-inch closed tear, barely affecting text. Leaf S3 with corner renewed, not affecting text. In volume II, half-title with a closed tear, professionally repaired. A small marginal hole to leaf C5, not affecting text, and leaf T5 with marginal repair, not affecting text. Some light staining and toning throughout. Otherwise a very good copy.

This second edition, printed the same year as the first edition is the first published work by Marquis de Sade. The original story entitled "Les Infortunes de la Vertu" was composed while he was imprisoned in the Bastille in 1787-1788, but was never published until 1930. Upon his release from imprisonment, he much expanded and reworked the story articulating "the voice of a first-person female narration and not only recounts Justine’s point of view, but her vocal stutters and juvenile logorrhea as well." (Kristi L. Krumnow Utah State University).

"Justine, his most famous and influential work, a greatly-expanded version of a novella he wrote while in the Bastille, is the harrowing story of a 14-year old orphan of uncompromising virtue who, over the course of ten years, is captured and abused by a succession of amoral libertines. The work reads like a symposium in moral philosophy whose interlocutors (all of whom have the same learned voice whether male or female, young or old), take time out from their discourse for increasingly extravagant and brutal sex scenes presented in the allusive and metaphoric language of the period. Structurally based on Candide in the interminable suffering of the innocent heroine in a world of corruption, it argues that those who hold virtue as an ideal are doomed to poverty and abuse, while those who acquiesce in vice become rich and successful. The work was so popular that it appeared in seven further editions in the course of ten years. The first edition was not illustrated save for the frontispiece. The second edition which appeared the same year in reduced format but without alteration of the text (save for a few lines added to the end of the “avis de l’éditeur”), was adorned with twelve engraved illustrations, lacking [as usual] in the present copy." (Sotheby's 14 December 2012)

Cohen-de Ricci, 920.

HBS # 68333 $10,000