AW: The Adolf Hitler Award in Jewish Studies

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Thu Aug 3 17:22:09 MDT 2000

>Kurt Lhotzky wrote:

> >I know, it sounds a little bit strange - but wouldn´t it be worth to
> >compare the conditions for the MacNamara-fellowship with the >concepts of
> >the old Marquis de Sade, who described in his "120 days of Sodom" a >society
> >based on absolute immorality (in terms of solidarity and humanity) >and the
> >ruthlesse extinction of all the poor and "serving classes"?
> >Kurt (without any concrete ideas, but a sense for literary >comparisons)

Yes, he is famous for eroticizing sexual masochism and mistreating women. I
wonder though why Adorno felt the need to reserve a long discussion of Sade's
Juliette in the _Dialectic of Enlightenment_. Dennis?

Outes from Sade:


"Ah, Eugénie, have done with virtues! Among the sacrifices that can be made to
those counterfeit divinities, is there one worth an instant of the pleasures
one tastes in outraging them? "

The 120 days of Sodom

"One must do violence to the object of one's desire; when it surrenders, the
pleasure is greater."

Letter to a lover.

LETTER II (1777)

To Madame la Presidente de Montreuil
the 13th March 1777.

"If in a person capable of having violated at one stroke all of the most sacred
sentiments mortals are given in trust: those of humanity in having a son
arrested beside the coffin of his dead mother, those of hospitality in
betraying someone who had just cast himself into your arms, those of Nature in
respecting not even the sanctuary taken by him who sought refuge in your
daughter's embrace; if, I say, in one such person there could yet exist some
trace of compassion, I would perhaps endeavor to excite it through a
description at once authentic and frightful of my horrible plight. But these
complaints were useless; independently of that fact, I have yet pride enough,
low though I am laid, not to ornament your triumph with my tears, and even in
these depths of misfortune I have courage enough to refrain from pleading with
my tyrant.

      To place before you a few simple considerations will then be the sole
purpose of this letter. You will set upon them what value you please; these few
remarks, then no more, so that in silence you will be able for some short while
at least to savor the pleasure you reap from my woes.

    For a long time, Madame, I have been your victim; but do not think to make
me your dupe. It is sometimes interesting to be the one, always humiliating to
the other, and I flatter myself upon as much penetration as you claim deceit. I
pray you, Madame, let us at all times maintain the very clearest distinction
between two separate things, my case and my imprisonment: for my children's
sake you are seeking the favor of the courts, and imprisonment, which you
allege indispensable to that end and which is certainly not at all, is not and
cannot be anything but the effect of your vengeance. Of all the opinions heard
so far, the gloomiest, the most terrifying, that of M. Simeon of Aix, said
positively that it was altogether possible to obtain a judgement whereby exile
would serve as prison to the accused. Those are Simeon's own words. A letter de
cachet banishing me out of the realm, would that not have answered the same
purpose? - Of course - but it would not so well have satisfied
your fury.

    Was it then you, all by yourself, who hatched and had enacted the scheme of
having me locked away between four walls? And how on earth could the wise
magistrates today governing the State have let themselves be hoodwinked to the
point of believing they were promoting the interests of a family when the whole
matter was patently of slaking a woman's thirst for revenge? Why, I repeat, am
I behind bars? why is an imprudence on my part construed as a crime? why is
there opposition to allowing me to prove my judges the difference between the
two? and why does that opposition come from you? So many
questions to which, unless I am much mistaken, Madame is not disposed to reply.
Ten or a dozen bolts and locks presently answer in your stead; but this
tyranny's argument, to which law is formally opposed, is not eternally
triumphant. In this I take

    Fixing our attention upon my case alone, is it to clear my name that you
have me punished? and are you so deluded as to believe that this punishment
shall go unknown? Do you fancy that they who will eventually get wind of it
shall fail to see a misdeed somewhere, punishment being so evident? Be it meted
out by the King, be it meted out by judges, ‘tis punishment nonetheless, and
the public - which is neither indulgent nor overly curious to ferret out the
truth -, is the public going to make this frivolous distinction? and will it
not always see prior crime where punishment has ensued? And how then my enemies
shall exult! what splendid opportunities you ready for them in the future! and
how tempted they shall be to have at me anew, since the results correspond so
nicely to their intentions! All your five years of slandering me have provided
the foundation for this attitude and behavior in my regard, and you have at all
times been aware of it from the cruel situation you have seen me in during this
whole period, constantly the target of fresh calumnies which sordid interest
based upon the unhappiness of my situation. How would you have a man thought
anything but guilty after the public authorities come three or four times
knocking at his door, and when he is finally clapped into jail once he is got
hold of? Whom do you hope to convince I have not been in confinement when such
a long time has passed since I've been seen or heard from? After all the
maneuvers employed to seize me, and then after my disappearance - what else do
you suppose anyone could think save that I have been arrested? And from this,
what advantage shall be gleaned? My reputation lost forever and new troubles
arising at every turn. That is what I shall owe to your superior manner of
handling my affairs.

    But let us consider matters from another viewpoint. Is this a personal
chastening I'm getting? and as if I were a naughty little boy, the idea is to
spank me into good behavior? Wasted efforts, Madame. If the wretchedness and
ignominy to which I have been reduced by the Marseilles judges' absurd
proceedings, who punished the most commonplace of indiscretions as though it
were a crime, have failed to make me mend my ways, your iron bars and your iron
doors and your locks will not be more successful. You ought by now to know me
well enough to realize that the mere suspicion of dishonor is capable of
withering me to the heart, and you are clever enough to understand that a fault
whose origin is in hot-bloodedness is not corrected by bringing that blood to a
boil, by firing the brain through deprivation and inflaming the imagination
through solitude. What I advance here will be supported by every reasonable
being who has some acquaintance of me and who is not infatuated with the
idiotic notion, that to correct or punish a man you must encage him like a wild
beast; and I challenge any sane spirit not to conclude that from such usage the
only possible result for me is the most certain organic disturbance.

      If then neither my conduct nor my reputation stand to gain from this
latest piece of kindness in my regard - if, on the contrary, everything loses
thereby, and it crazes my brain - what purpose shall it have served, Madame? It
shall have served your vengeance, no? Yes, ‘tis all too obvious, everything
leads back to that starting point; and all I've just written is quite beside
the point, all that matters not in the slightest, only one thing does: that I
be sacrificed...and you satisfied. Indeed, you very surely say to yourself, the
greater the damage wrought, the more content I'll be. But ought you not have
been amply contented, Madame, by the six months I had of prison in Savoy for
the same cause? Were five years of afflictions and stigmas insufficient? and
was this appalling denouement absolutely necessary? - especially after I gave
you the demonstration of what lengths this sort of maltreatment could drive me
to, by risking my life to escape from it! Own that, knowing what you know, ‘tis
evidence of no little barbarity on your part to have the same thing inflicted
upon me again, and with episodes a thousand times crueler than before and
which, sickening me into total revolt, will at any moment have me dashing my
head against the bars confining me. Do not reduce me to despair, Madame; I
cannot endure this horrible solitude unscathed, I sense the worst coming.
Remember: never shall any good come to you from bestializing my soul and
rendering my heart immune to feeling, the only possible results of the
frightful state you have had me put in. Give me time to repair my errors, do
not make yourself responsible for those into which perhaps, I shall again be
swept by the dreadful disorder I feel brewing in my mind.

      I am respectfully, Madame, your very humble and very obedient servant."


Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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