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The Marquis de Sade and Pierre Klossowski: Sade My Neighbor
To commemorate the 204th Anniversary of the Marquis de Sade's death on December 2, 2018, we will read Pierre Klossowski's 1947 essay on Sade titled Sade My Neighbor. Goodreads review: This work bears a great historical importance, Klossowski being one of the seminal figures in taking seriously the study of Sade as a philosophical figure. But this work retains its import even today. It may aid the reader not only in thinking through the erotic philsophy of Sade, but it also speaks to the thinking at play in Klossowski's own works, especially his fictions. As Klossowski notes, Sade's thought is the thought of Man pushed to its limits - disclosing the essence of Man in all its violent negation; the inherent monstrosity that rages in the heart of each and every one of us. By seeking to explore this monstrous heart, the being who transgresses being Man in order to most fully be Man, in becoming the monstrous singularity in affrontation of God, language, and all universal or general norms or laws. In striving towards the impossible through the negative heart of humanity, Sade takes up the imagination as a means of denying action - a useless writing that careens into madness only to set before the reader an intimate image of their ownmost egoity. The creative-destructive power of this monsteous writing opens up a proliferation of possibilities that God's creation and actuality render impossible. At work in Sade's works is the revolutionary heart, in revolt against God, utitlity, telos and the Good. And, contradictory enough, this shattering of reason works itself out, working itself into the exhaustion of worklessness, through the extremity of reason itself - the violent madness that is the essence of reason, moving ever about its limits, in conjunction with the monstrosity that is the essential limit of humanity. Thus does Sade take the thought of his age, of the Enlightenment, to its very end - and in doing so he destroys it, or rather, allows it to destroy itself, as it must. Sade is truly a son of the Revolution, his thought the rotten sun of their reason, his works the unweaving of their radical thread. Sade ever remains, in the shadows of the Enlightenment, at its limits and thus its heart, the fil(s) radical Online PDF:

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This group started in May 2011, and we've read novels by Joyce, Malraux, Kafka, Wright, Mishima, Faulkner, Nabokov, Unamuno, Ellison, Hamsun, Woolf, Biely, Gide, and many others. We try to have a good time discussing the books without descending to small talk, think critically without descending to pedantry, etc.

Also, as the title shows, we've expanded our reading list since the group started. We don't really want to title the group something as vague as "Chicago Literature Group," etc., and modernist fiction and poetry still make up most of the reading list. But if some group members are excited about reading something else, be it Goethe or Ovid, Wallace or Perec, we're interested in that too. Feel free to make suggestions.

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