Books: The Wicked Mister Six

MARQUIS DE SADE, SELECTED LETTERS edited by Gilbert Lely. 188 pages. October House. $8.50.

The jailers in the big prison at Vincennes called him Monsieur le 6. The name of the arrogant prisoner in the tower had not yet become an eponym for conscienceless cruelty, but there was something about him that the warders did not like, and they preferred to poke his dinner to him through a trapdoor in the floor.

Perhaps the warders were right about Mister Six. No one, neither the King of France nor the Republican revolutionaries nor Napoleon himself,...

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