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Kant with Sade

The Letter, Issue 42, Autumn 2009, Pages 21 - 56


KANT WITH SADE[1]

Jacques Lacan


This essay was to have served as a preface to Philosophy in the Boudoir.[2] It appeared in the review Critique (191, April, 1963) in the manner of a review of the edition of the works of Sade for which it was destined: Éd. du Cercle du livre précieux, 1963, 15 vol.

SECTION A

Rectification of the Ethical Position of Two Thousand Years

1. (765)[3] To say that the work of Sade anticipates Freud, even as a catalogue of perversions, is a stupidity repeated in the literature, thanks, as usual, to the specialists.

2. On the other hand, we do hold that the Sadean boudoir is the equal of those loci that lent their name to the schools of ancient philosophy: e.g., Academy, Lyceum, Stoa. Here as there, one prepares the way for scientific knowledge by rectifying any ethical position. Thereby, yes indeed, a clarification took place that was to make its way for a hundred years in the depths of cultural taste in order that Freud‟s way might be possible. Add another sixty years before one can say why.


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