The Marquis de Sade, author and provocateur, spent the end of his life imprisoned for having produced, among other works, Justine, ou, Les malheurs de la vertu. This copy from the Santo Domingo Collection, formerly owned by Gérard Nordmann, is one of the earliest printings of that title in 1791. As suits Nordmann’s collecting habits, this copy is unusual for two reasons: first, that it includes both the preliminaries “Explication de l’estampe” and “Avis de l’éditeur”, missing from most copies; second, that it features a puncture wound that pierces both covers and the entire text block. According to a French bookseller’s description pasted into the front cover, the volume acquired this distinctive feature when it was nailed to a pillory. In this image, the nail’s mark is visible just above the U in the title:
Marquis de Sade. Justine, ou, Les malheurs de la vertu. En Hollande [i.e. Paris]: Chez les Libraires Associés [i.e. J.V. Girouard], 1791. FC7.Sa152.791ja
Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.
The Pillorying Justine by Modern Books and Manuscripts, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Terms and conditions beyond the scope of this license may be available at blogs.law.harvard.edu.