ers read these books avidly and did not hesitate to use some of the ideas of the Marquis de Sade in their writings.
In the early revolutionary years, the marquis took an active part in the more radical groups. Paris was divided into sections, and Sade soon became the leader of the Section des Piques. It was he who made most of the speeches and he was usually the representative of his section in the general meetings. It was while he was president of his section that his mother-in-law was brought before him and accused of helping the forces of the nobles. Here was the chance the marquis had been waiting for; it was his chance to get even with the woman who had been responsible for keeping him in prison for so many years. He got his revenge by allowing her to go free! If he had said a word against her, she would have been guillotined.
The marquis continued to serve in his section until the Reign of Terror. At that time the members of his group became so sadistic, that Sade was appalled and did his best to try to get them to be more lenient towards the nobles. As a result, he was not only forced to resign as president of the section, but was sent to prison where he expected to be guillotined at any moment.
After nearly a year, the Reign of Terror suddenly ended and the marquis was released. He started writing again and published Aline and Valcour, a long and tedious novel which contained the plots of three novels. It was popular, however, and he was always proud of this literary production.
In 1795 appeared the book which some have called his most significant contribution to eighteenth century thinking. It was called Philosophy in the Boudoir. Here all the fantastic ideas of the marquis were presented in a more condensed form. Just a few of them will suffice to give an idea of this daring book.
"There is no act which is really criminal. Everything depends on where and when we live. What was a crime in a certain place a hundred years ago might be a virtue somewhere else today."
"Children should love their parents only if they act in such a way as to merit love; a child owes nothing to his parents."