Philosophy of the Bedroom -or- The Sadean Gaze in Dreams: Part 2

The Dream of the Marquis de Sade: Part 2

De Sade's dream is literary re-working of the Petrarchan poetic tradition and the romantic dream dialogue between men and women, and its psychological array of philosophical themes including love, sex, power, pleasure and pain. Laura gives voice to de Sade's misanthropic sentiments, he "detests" the world and is distraught with life, with suffering, with war, with sorrow and trouble. The Sadean dream gaze, becomes de Sade's literary device and vehicle to deliver and disseminate his own philosophical idiom of the dialogical poetic imagination and erotic drama between men and women. By Laura's own account, she can seen as an archetypal muse, who has inspired masculine love poetry, music and literature for many generations. Carl Jung and Northrop Frye would see this literary dialogue of romance, as one archetypologically expressive of the "anima" (Laura) with the "animus" (de Sade).

The sixth century AD philosopher Boetius who wrote Consolations of Philosophy while in prison, had already used a similar literary device, in that the book represents an imaginary dialogue between himself and "Lady Philosophy". The work would go on to influence Chauser and Dante. While Lady Philosophy is able to console Boethius in prison, de Sade's Laura is unable to achieve the same result. Instead, de Sade's dream creates a literary vehicle to envision a new dialogue, a new philosophy that is well illustrated in his Philosophy of the Bedroom.

At the end of the 19th century de Sade's literary "philosophy of the bedroom" would be re-discovered by the psychiatrist's Sigmund Freud and Joseph Breuer Studies in Hysteria, as a primary cause of mental instability in both men and women. Breuer's comments; "I do not think I am exaggerating when I assert that the great majority of severe neurosis in women have their origin in the marriage bed" (p328). De Sade's "libertine" philosophy finds expression and echoes in the dreams of both men and women living today.

Laura Mulvey's Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema provides a feminist model of "male gaze" and scopophilia which is very evident in de Sade's dream. It is not difficult to see that scopophilia (pleasures of looking) is a dominant voyeuristic and exhibitionistic theme on the Internet. While the concept of gaze was popularized by Jacques Lacan, we can see that Lacan knowingly or not, had culturally received and inherited the literary concept from de Sade, who inturn (according to Laura) inherited the poetic paradigma from Petrarch.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.