From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- assorted quotes from Juliette by Sade, Histoire de Juliette (full text of the first edition of 1801) 
Juliette is a novel written by the Marquis de Sade and published 1797–1801, accompanying Sade's Nouvelle Justine. Whilst Justine, Juliette's sister, was a virtuous woman who consequently encountered nothing but despair and abuse, Juliette is an amoral nymphomaniac who ends up successful and happy.
The full title of the novel in the original French is Histoire de Juliette ou les Prospérités du vice, and the English title is "Juliette, or Vice Amply Rewarded" or "Justine; or Good Conduct Well-Chastised".
Both Justine and Juliette were published anonymously. Napoleon ordered the arrest of the author, and as a result Sade was incarcerated without trial for the last 13 years of his life.
Juliette is raised in a convent, but at the age of 13 she is seduced by a woman who immediately explains that morality, religion and other such concepts are meaningless. There are plenty of similar philosophical musings during the book, all attacking the ideas of God, morals, remorse, love, etc, the overall conclusion being that the only aim in life is "to enjoy oneself at no matter whose expense." Juliette takes this to the extreme and manages to murder her way through numerous people, including various family members and friends.
During the novel, which follows Juliette through the ages of 13 to about 30, the wanton anti-heroine engages in virtually every form of depravity and encounters a series of like-minded libertines, such as the ferocious Clairwil, whose main passion is in murdering young men, and Saint Fond, a 50-year-old multi-millionaire who commits incest with his daughter, murders his father, tortures young girls to death on a daily basis and even plots an ambitious scheme to provoke a famine that will wipe out half the population of France.
L'enfer détruit; ou, Examen raisonné du dogme de l'éternité des peines and Théologie Portative, ou Dictionnaire abrégé de la religion chrétienne by D'Holbach were integrated in the text. D'Holbach's System of Nature was mentioned as well as Spinoza and Vanini.
Several classics of French erotic literature are mentioned in Juliette. In the following excerpt Thérèse philosophe, le Portier des Chartreux, l'Académie des Dames and L'Éducation de Laure are commented upon.
Real people in Juliette
- "This is by far the most realistic of de Sade's books. Research has shown that one after another of the institutions and persons that de Sade denounced were not figures of a diseased imagination but historical truth. Two hundred and fifty pages of [Duhren]'s book are filled with parallels between de Sade's work and the history of the epoch. From the description of the brothel where Juliette started her apprenticeship to the horrible behaviour of Ferdinand and Caroline, King and Queen of Naples, there is little that is not historically true. Even the man-eating ogre Minski has a historical counterpart in the famous Blaise Ferrage. With regard to the Italian part of the book we have seen that de Sade claimed complete accuracy for all the details, which are based on personal experience. This may be true, for Casanova has shown how easy it was for people of far less distinction than de Sade to approach foreign royalty. His description of Ferdinand and Caroline is certainly not an exaggeration of the facts. Juliette's interview with the Pope is in another category." --The Revolutionary Ideas of the Marquis de Sade
A long audience with Pope Pius VI is one of the most extensive scenes in Juliette. The heroine shows off her learning to the Pope (whom she most often addresses by his secular name "Braschi") with a verbal catalogue of alleged immoralities committed by his predecessors. The audience ends, like almost every other scene in the narrative, with an orgy.
Soon after this, the male character Brisatesta narrates two scandalous encounters. The first is with "Princess Sophia, niece of the King of Prussia", who has just married "the Stadtholder" at the Hague. This is presumably intended for Wilhelmina of Prussia, Princess of Orange, who married William V of Orange, the last Dutch Stadtholder, in 1767, and was still alive when Juliette was published. The second encounter is with Catherine the Great, notorious Empress of Russia.
Analysis and influence
One of the essays in Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) is titled "Juliette or Enlightenment and Morality" and analyzes Juliette as the embodiment of the philosophy of enlightenment, a symbol of Enlightenment gone wrong.. They write: "she demonizes Catholicism as the most-up-to-date mythology, and with it civilization as a whole […] her procedures are enlightened and efficient as she goes about her work of sacrilege […] She favours system and consequence."
The French critic Maurice Blanchot observes, "the two sisters' stories are basically identical...those uncommon tortures which are so terrible for Justine [are for] Juliette a source of pure delight...Thus it is true that Virtue is the source of man's unhappiness, not because it exposes him to painful or unfortunate circumstances but because, if Virtue were eliminated, what was once painful then becomes pleasurable, and torments become voluptuous." (Reference: M. Blanchot, "Sade", 1949).
Character of Juliette
While Justine embraces virtue despite the reality of vice, Juliette is the reality of vice. The two sisters are moral antipodes: One good, one bad. In the Sadean world, however, the bad haunts the good, continuously. The virtuous sister is forever being raped, beaten, tortured, by men and by nature. The depraved and hedonistic Juliette moves from one pleasure concocted from vice to another vile pleasure.