In Dangereux supplement: I 'illustration du roman en France au dixhuitieme siecle, Christophe Martin explains that images were generally considered to be dangerous additions to a text, because they could not be limited to their intended primary purpose: to provide a visual translation for characters and events depicted in works of fiction.1 For even as they illustrate, images also offer a reading that necessarily shapes the reader's perception of a novel. In the process, the images themselves become texts with their own complex system of signification. As such "supplements" go, illustrations of Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade's novels are perhaps among the most "dangerous." To the extent that they tum into images a fictional world that is often downright pornographic, they carry with them the possibility of making the universe of the infamous Marquis accessible and appealing to those who might otherwise be put off by his philosophical digressions or by the sheer length of his books. The engravings published as part of Sade's works at the end of the eighteenth century were deemed to be such a threat to good morals that they remained in L 'Enfer of the Bibliotheque Nationale for almost two hundred years, until Michel Delon 's edition for the Pleiade Collection. in the 1990s made them more widely available.2
Delers, Olivier. "Whimsical Pornography: Albert Dubout's Illustrations for Sade's Justine." New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century 13, no. 1 (2016): 4-17.
Copyright © 2016 The Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. This article first appeared in New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century 13:1 (2016) 4-17.
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