Zoloé et ses deux acolythes  

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 This page Zoloé et ses deux acolythes is part of the Marquis de Sade series  Illustration: Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade (1866) by H. Biberstein
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This page Zoloé et ses deux acolythes is part of the Marquis de Sade series
Illustration: Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade (1866) by H. Biberstein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Zoloé et ses deux acolythes ou quelques decades de la vie de trois jolies femmes is a pamphlet, first published in 1800 and often attributed to French writer Marquis de Sade, although he was probably not the author. It is a thinly veiled roman a clef about the love life of Joséphine de Beauharnais, Madame Tallien and Madame Visconti.

Its subtitle reads histoire véritable du siècle dernier par Un Contemporain A Turin.

It deals with the debaucheries of Napoleon and his circle. Zoloe represents Josephine and the two acolytes, Laureda and Volsange, symbolize Mesdames Tallien and Visconti.

When the story was published in 1800, a tremendous scandal ensued. Practically all the characters were easily recognizable. Thus d'Orsec, anagram for de Corse, was Napoleon and Sabar stood for Paul Barras.

Consequences for Marquis de Sade

The pamphlet earned Marquis de Sade the enmity of Napoleon. "Its publication was the cause of the final incarceration of its author at Charenton, by order of the first consul, under date 1801." (Catena Librorum Tacendorum).

Authorship

Gilbert Lely, in his Vie du Marquis de Sade, casts doubt on the attribution of Zoloe to Sade, stating that "rien dans l'analyse du style ne le laisse supposer", "nothing in an analysis of the style permits this assumption." [1]


Full text[2]

Incipit:

Zoloé, sur les limites de la quarantaine, n'en a pas moins la prétention de plaire comme à vingt-cinq ans. Son crédit attire sur ses pas la foule des courtisans et supplée en quelque sorte aux grâces de la jeunesse. A un esprit très fin, à un caractère sou pif ou fier selon les circonstances, un ton 1res insinuant, une dissimulation hypocrite, elle joint une ardeur pour les plaisirs cent fois plus vive que Lauréda, une avidité d'argent qu'elle dissipe avec la promptitude d'un joueur, un luxe effréné qui engloutirait le revenu de dix provinces.




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