The 120 Days of Sodom (found novel by Marquis de Sade; 1785)

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This article has been tagged as NSFW and NSFL due to its disturbing imagery and graphic sexual content.

The 120 Days of Sodom first edition title page.jpg

First edition title page, 1904

Status: Found

Date found: 1904

Found by: Iwan Bloch

The 120 Days of Sodom is a 1785 novel written by Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. It was written in secrecy during de Sade's time imprisoned in the Bastille in France and was taken right before revolutionaries stormed the Bastille. He believed it to be lost, but it was secretly taken and owned by different people over time until its eventual publication in 1904. Due to its disturbing and sadistic sexual content, including primarily the exploitation of children, it has been banned in several countries and is widely considered to be the "most impure tale ever written".[1] The term "sadism" is derived from the name of Marquis de Sade, in part because of this book.


The book was originally written on a scroll of paper made of glued-together scraps smuggled into the Bastille. The scroll was 12 meters long and Marquis de Sade hid it in his cell wall in the Bastille. On July 4th, 1789, he was transferred to another prison and was unable to take the scroll with him. Two days prior to the storming of the Bastille by French revolutionaries, a citizen named Arnoux de Saint-Maximin took the manuscript. It is unknown where he took it, but it was eventually discovered by the sexologist Iwan Bloch, who published the book in 1904 under the pseudonym Eugène Dühren.[2]