He might be best known for sex and violence, but Lode Lauwaert shows that the Marquis du Sade sits at a crossroads of surprisingly disparate branches of western culture: abstract art, Tom and Jerry, gnosticism, Kant's moral philosophy, romanticism, scholasticism, stoicism and more. To explore these links, Lauwaert reads six interpretations of Sade in French postwar philosophy looking specifically at Pierre Klossowski, Maurice Blanchot, Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze.
Lauwaert shows how these interpretations of de Sade can be read as a lively introduction to a postmodern way of thinking that is often considered inaccessible, but which dominated the French intellectual scene after the Second World War. This perspective takes the subject away from the centre of the universe and sees it as an expression of a non-human force. And that helps us to better understand contemporary thinkers such as Catherine Malabou and Quentin Meillassoux.