Aline and Valcour. or, the Philosophical Novel. by Marquis de Sade. Jocelyne Geneviève Barque and John Galbraith Simmons. Translated by. About the. View the profiles of people named Aline Valcour. Join Facebook to connect with Aline Valcour and others you may know. Facebook gives people the power to. Two Extracts from Aline and Valcour. by the Marquis de Sade, translated from the French by Jocelyne Geneviève Barque and John Galbraith.

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Aline and Valcour is a neglected masterpiece of world literature, a novel composed by the Marquis de Sade while he was imprisoned in the Bastille and later published, inin the wake of the still-smoldering French Revolution. Until now only a few pages have been translated into Engish. Rarely pedestrian, Sade is often philosophical and chooses florid phrasing, but we have been surprised—as others must have been—at how readily his sentences, once deconstructed, resolve into English.

His characters have considerable emotional range for a novel of the 18th century, but at the same time Sade often undercuts their professed moral sentiments with understated glee and irony. In his explicit novels, such as Juliette, these efforts would frequently take on a Rabelaisian cast with gigantically outsize characters, such as the giant Minski or the eponymous anti-heroine. In Aline and Valcour, Sade clearly works to distinctively etch and tag his characters with description and through dialogue and self-expression.

The first letters in Aline and Valcour tell the story of a young man of noble birth but little means, Valcour, and his would-be bride, Aline. Their relationship is forbidden by her father, the jurist M. In fact, the entire letter contains shades that resonate with various aspects of his life, including military experience, first love, dueling, imprisonment, and financial ruin.

For us your absence was an enigma that Aline could not or would not explain and which we were hard pressed to decipher. I was about to ask after you when round blues eyes, brimming with love and decency, stared me down as a warning to dissemble.

I fell silent, but soon after tried again; I wished to know the reason for the mystery. A sigh and valcourr nod were the only answers I received.

Most delightful, alinne friend, is this lady and mother; I can scarcely imagine a more lively mind or sensitive soul, with such grace of manners, affability, and charm. It is rare to find such cultivation in one so amiable.

To me it has always seemed that well-educated women possess a certain hardness when in society, an affectation which for the pleasure of their company one pays dearly.

They manifest wit only in private or else, finding too little of it among those around them, they deign not show they possess it. How different the adorable mother of your Aline! If, despite her thirty-six years, she still aroused great passion, in truth I would not be surprised.

He went on to tell us about land he had just acquired, about the sublime nature of his rights thereto, and most especially about his project to establish a menagerie—among the animals in which I daresay he will be the most spiteful. A few minutes before the first course was served, there arrived quite another type of individual.


He was short and squat, his torso adorned with a juste-au-corps made from olive-colored fabric top to bottom, some fifteen inches wide, its needlework of a design, it seemed to me, identical to the one with which Clovis embellished his royal robes.

This tiny man had huge feet, grotesquely crammed into high heels, supporting two oversized legs. Looking for a waist you would find a paunch. Seeking a glimpse of his face? Only a wig, cravat and, from time to time, the eruption of a discordant falsetto that made you wonder if the gullet belonged to a human or a parakeet. This ridiculous mortal, precisely as I sketch him herein, was introduced as M. Man and said rosebud collided and he went stumbling forward headfirst.

The unexpected shock to his bulky mass convulsed his factitious accessories—his tie flew to one side, his wig to the other.

Two Extracts from Aline and Valcour | The Brooklyn Rail

So convulsed with laugher, she was taken off to an adjacent sitting room, where I believed she would faint. Aline contained herself, the President grew angry, bit his lip for restraint and made a show of concern. Two servants put to right the little man who, like a turtle on its alnie, could not muster the necessary valfour to turn over onto his stomach. Back on his head went the wig, the cravat was tastefully re-tied.

O, my friend, what a match! To unite alije a prodigiously ridiculous mortal to a young woman fashioned by the Graces, nineteen years old, as fresh as Hebe and more beautiful than Flore!

To dare sacrifice the tenderest mind to such stupidity; to unite a tub of lard to a most agile and sensitive soul, a thick slug to a being overflowing with talent—what an outrage! Providence is either insensitive or shall never allow it.

Extravagant and careless, even a little mean, yet ready to die for a friend, she was swiftly moved vzlcour joy to extreme anger as soon as I told her of my suspicions Vlcour she gazed at her friend, tears ran down the cheeks that moments ago joy made rose. She enjoined her mother to retire early; she could stand no more; and if this outrage was genuine, there was nothing, she said as she left, shoe heels clacking, that she would not do to stop it.

Yet Aline remained obstinate in her silence Madame de Blamont only sighed when I questioned her; then we went away. Such is how I left things, my dear Valcour.


You owe it to my sincere friendship to tell me all you can learn. How can I say it? How soften the blow I must inflict? My senses are confused, reason leaves me, I exist here and now only through pain and sorrow Why did I ever lay eyes on you? Why did your charming features intrude upon my soul?

Why did you drag me down with you into the abyss? How brief our happy moments! My dearest, we must stop seeing one another. There they are—cruel words. I put them aljne without dying My father spoke as the master who demands to be obeyed. A convenient match appears, and that suffices. He asked not my approval but took into account only his own interests, wholly sacrificing my feelings to his caprices. Accuse not my mother—she said and did all she could, and still imagines doing more.

You know how much she loves her daughter and you must be aware of the tender feelings she has for you Our tears flowed together The barbarian witnessed them but was not moved.


I think the habit of judging others must inevitably make us hard and cruel. Dolbourg has been my friend for twenty-five years; he has an annual income of one hundred thousand ecus. How could all your insignificant objections overcome such a powerful argument? Is love a reason to marry today? What does love matter if you are rich? Does it bring respect? Not in the real world, Madame. And who can live without deference and respect?

Valcour, I wish you could have seen him! One with a few comedies under his valcoru, some epigrams to his name, who has read Homer and Virgil—he would then have everything he needs to bring your daughter happiness! I do not wish to give my daughter alnie a penniless man. Witness the self-serving pride of women of high birth with their belief that nobility is of supreme importance.

Do you want to subject my daughter, with her Valcour, to the same experience I have had with you?

Marry a title of nobility? What is the use of the one you gave me? I would have preferred twenty-five thousand francs a year. Those genealogies shine like phosphorescent worms—only in the dark. They are renowned just because no one knows their provenance.

Say whatever you like because the original stub is lost Valcour comes from a good family, I know. In addition, he has a powerful point of merit for you in that he is fond of literature, which for myself I do not value. I want money and he is penniless. I advise you to tell him. Yet, my love, I must salve the wounds I have just inflicted.

Hope is not yet banished from my heart, and my kind and decent mother, whom I idolize and who loves you, positively orders me to tell you xline to despair She is almost certain to gain time and in such circumstances as ours, time counts for much.

Do not visit—but write us. Her aim is ailne insure that the President refrain from acting precipitously; she tells him that she will be in charge of making me agree to everything and overcoming my repugnance, provided we are not hurried but allowed to spend a few months together alone My dearest, should she succeed I would consider it half a victory.

Time is everything in such terrible crises, it is all we can hope for. Adieu and be not alarmed.

Category:Aline and Valcour

Love and think of me; write me May I fill your xline as much as you fill my heart Little would it take, as you see, to separate valcoru forever; but what consoles me, at least in my unhappiness, is my certainty that no power, human or divine, can stop me from loving you. Yes, I read your cruel note I received the blow that shall shatter my life—yet I am not shorn of resources!

With what artistry you strike! You put me to death yet want me to live!