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Les 120 Journees De Sodome (THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM) Marquis De Sade in 3 Volumes 1st Complete Edition in Custom Skeleton Hand Binding (Paris, 1931-1935)

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Les 120 Journees De Sodome (THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM) Marquis De Sade in 3 Volumes 1st Complete Edition in Custom Skeleton Hand Binding (Paris, 1931-1935)

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Les 120 Journees De Sodome (THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM) Marquis De Sade in 3 Volumes 1st Complete Edition in Custom Skeleton Hand Binding (Paris, 1931-1935)

1,850.00

De Sade, Marquis. Les 120 Journees De Sodome, Ou L’Ecole Du Libertinage, Par Le Marquis De Sade. Edition Critique, Etablie Sur Le Manuscrit Original Autographe par Maurice Heine (THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM, or, The School of Libertinage, By the Marquis De Sade. Critical Edition established on the Original (hand-written) Manuscript by Maurice Heine. In Three Volumes. Paris: S. & C. (Stendhal & Compagnie), 1931-1935. 

First complete and correct edition. In three volumes. Quarto. Text in French. Released in a total of 396 copies (details on the different issues below). This is copy #299. Originally issued in wrappers, this set has been beautifully bound in quarter plum calf over marbled boards. Original wrappers (with spines) are bound in to each volume. Each volume has a silver stamped skeleton hand to leather at lower left of front panel, with two drops of blood stamped in red, dripping from the hand. Spines have two black leather labels with titles and volume information. Bevelled edges. Marbled end papers (matching boards). Photographic frontispiece showing the original manuscript roll. Introduction by Maurice Heine. Text includes annotations as well as numbered references to De Sade’s original manuscript. Volume I was published in 1931, volumes II and III in 1935. Continuous pagination through the 3 volumes: [xvi], 498 pp. SCARCE.

Condition: Corners are sharp, and bindings are strong and very secure. A few unopened pages in volume one (along top edge). These appear to be un-read volumes. There is a slim vertical moisture mark that runs along the right edge of the bound-in front wrapper of volume II, with a few small spots on the next blank page (see photos). Extremely light occasional foxing to some margin areas. Mild sun fading to leather. Other than these very minor issues, this is a beautiful set of books in fine condition. NOTE: due to the weight of this set, additional shipping charges may apply for international orders. 

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As stated above this edition was limited to a total of 396 copies distributed thus: 60 copies on Japan paper numbered 1-60, 300 copies on ‘Velin de Rives’ paper numbered 61-360 (offered here), 16 copies on Imperial Japan paper lettered A-P (for collaborators), and 20 additional copies on ‘Velin de Rives’ paper solely for donors, etc., numbered I-XX. The completed printing was finished on February 28, 1935. 

This is De Sade’s classic work of sexual perversion and unimaginable brutality, written in four sections. Sade described his work as "the most impure tale that has ever been told since the world began”. The novel takes place over five months, November to March. Four wealthy libertines lock themselves in a castle, the Château de Silling, along with a number of victims and accomplices. Since they state that the sensations produced by the organs of hearing are the most erotic, they intend to listen to various tales of depravity from four veteran prostitutes, which will inspire them to engage in similar activities with their victims. And it does. De Sade wrote The 120 Days of Sodom in 1785 while imprisoned in the Bastille. He wrote it in 37 days in tiny script on many sheets of small paper which he attached together into the form of a scroll which measured nearly 40 feet (just over 12 metres long). When the Bastille was stormed, De Sade was moved, leaving the manuscript behind which he had hidden in his cell. He never saw the manuscript again. The long scroll was eventually found and changed hands a few times before making its way into the hands of Berlin psychiatrist Iwan Bloch who published the first version of the text in 1904 under the pseudonym of Eugene Duhren. Bloch’s edition was not taken seriously - its numerous translation errors resulting in it being considered a ‘curiosity in the field of faulty workmanship’. Bloch died in 1923 and in 1929 the manuscript became available for sale. Maurice Heine made a trip to Berlin to purchase it, acting as agent to French aristocrats and surrealist socialites Charles and Marie Laure de Noailles (Marie being a distant relative of Sade). Heine returned with the document and asked his fellow renter in a house in rue Campagne-Premiere, Montparnasse, Man Ray, to photograph it (the photo frontispiece in this edition remains un-credited). Heine then began transcribing and editing it for publication between 1931 and 1935, resulting in this first complete and correct edition of Sade’s magnum opus.