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In ​Sade/Fourier/Loyola, eminent literary theorist Roland Barthes offers a fascinating treatise on the nature of philosophical creation. Barthes examines the parallel impulses of Loyola, the Jesuit saint, Sade, the renowned and sometimes pornographic libertine philosopher, and Fourier, the utopian theorist. All three, he makes clear, have been founders of languages—Loyola, the language of divine address; Sade, the language of erotic freedom; and Fourier, the language of social perfection and happiness. Each language is an all-enveloping system, a “secondary language” that isolates the adherent from the conventional world. The object of this book, Barthes makes clear, is not to decipher the content of these respective works, but to consider Sade, Fourier, and Loyola as creators of text.

“Here they are all three brought together, the evil writer, the great utopian, and the Jesuit saint. There is not intentional provocation in this assembling (were there provocation, it would rather consist in treating Sade, Fourier, and Loyola as though they had not had faith: in God, the Future, Nature), no transcendence (the sadist, the contestator, and the mystic are not redeemed by sadism, revolution, religion), and, I add of these studies, although first published (in part) seperately, was from the first conceived to join the others in one book: the book of Logothetes, founders of language.”

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