Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) was a French aristocrat, revolutionary and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His works include novels, short stories, plays, and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author. He is best known for his erotic novels, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting bizarre sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality, and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law.
Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and in an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life; eleven years in Paris (10 of which were spent in the Bastille) a month in Conciergerie, two years in a fortress, a year in Madelonnettes, three years in Bicêtre, a year in Sainte-Pélagie, and 13 years in the Charenton asylum. During the French Revolution he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. Many of his works were written in prison. The term "sadism" is derived from his name.