December 2, 2014 seemed far away in the summer of 2010, when Norbert Sclippa’s email anticipating the bicentennial of D.A.F. Sade’s death arrived in my inbox. “Anybody planning anything?” he inquired of us: the Colloque Internationale Sade, a small but intimate community of scholars. Worried by the paucity of responses (though many events have been planned since!) I floated the possibility of a scholarly, edited volume to my then-boss and tireless support system Greg Clingham. Immediately, emails circulated, calls went out. Norbert graciously asked me to join him as co-editor of the project. Essays arrived; readers were, by turns, generous and relentless; revisions were made, and then again, and then again. It took several weeks to locate permissions for our cover photo: a haunting, gaping statue of Sade at La Coste. And then December 2, 2014 arrived—the bicentennial of Sade’s death in 1814—and in my mailbox, the finished book. Sade died in his sleep, likely with no idea of what he would become, of how many philosophers and theorists he would inspire, how he would ‘father’ sexology and sadism and libertinism. The recognition of this date gave me pause as I held our contribution to the many words that have been written about Sade since that December evening. I hope he will find it a fitting tribute. For me, it will remain always a most memorable—and quite wonderful—coincidence.
–Kate Parker, co-editor of Sade’s Sensibilities, assistant professor of English, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
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