The Bedroom Philosophers | Being and English Rendering of La Philosophie dans le Boudoir, done by Pieralessandro Casavini, D.A.F. de Sade, trans. Pieralessandro Casavini [Austryn Wainhouse] (Olympia Press, Paris, 1953, First Edition, First English Translation) “Printed May 1953 by Imprimerie mazarine, Paris”
7.25″ X 5″, hardbound quarter leather over maroon boards, marbled endpapers, near mint condition, inscription inside reads, “To Leo on Christmas 1953 Lloyd”
Philosophy in the Bedroom (French: La philosophie dans le boudoir) is a 1795 book by the Marquis de Sade written in the form of a dramatic dialogue. Set in a bedroom, the two lead characters make the argument that the only moral system that reinforces the recent political revolution is libertinism, and that if the people of France fail to adopt the libertine philosophy, France will be destined to return to a monarchic state. Continually throughout the work, Sade makes the argument that one must embrace atheism, reject society’s beliefs about pleasure and pain, and further makes his argument that if any crime is committed while seeking pleasure, it cannot be condemned.
Eugénie, a 15-year-old girl who at the beginning of the dialogue is a virgin, naïve of all things sexual, who has been brought up by her mother to be well-mannered, modest, decent and obedient.
Madame de Saint-Ange, a 26-year-old libertine woman who is the owner of the house and bedroom in which the dialogue is set. She invites Eugénie for a two-day course on being libertine.
Le Chevalier de Mirval, Madame de Saint-Ange’s 20-year-old brother. He aids his sister and Dolmancé in the ordeal of “educating” Eugénie.
Dolmancé, a 36-year-old atheist and bisexual (though with a strong preference for men), and friend of Le Chevalier’s. He is Eugénie’s foremost teacher and “educator”.
Madame de Mistival, Eugénie’s provincial, self-righteous mother.
Augustin, Madame de Saint-Ange’s eighteen or twenty year-old gardener. Summoned to assist in the sexual activities in the fifth dialogue.
Olympia Press was a Paris-based publisher, launched in 1953 by Maurice Girodias as a rebranded version of the Obelisk Press he inherited from his father Jack Kahane. It published a mix of erotic fiction and avant-garde literary fiction, and is best known for issuing the first printed edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.
In its heyday during the mid-fifties Olympia Press specialized in books which could not be published (without legal action) in the English-speaking world. Early on, Girodias relied on the permissive attitudes of the French to publish sexually explicit books in both French and English. The French began to ban and seize the press’s book in the late fifties.
Precisely 94 Olympia Press publications were promoted and packaged as “Traveller’s Companion” books, usually with simple text-only covers, and each book in the series was numbered. The “Ophelia Press” line of erotica was far larger, using the same design, but pink covers instead of green.
This edition is one of the first four titles issued by Olympia Press. It is beautifully bound, rare for these books which usually appear in their original soft covers.