The Fan-Maker's Inquisition: A Novel of the Marquis de Sade

The Fan-Maker's Inquisition: A Novel of the Marquis de Sade A Young Fan Maker, Who Is Known Throughout France For Her Sensual, Sexually Graphic Creations, Finds Herself On Trail For Her Collaboration With The Infamous Marquis De Sade Heads Will Roll Unless The Independent Fan Maker, Erotically Cast In The Shadow Of De Sade, Can Justify Her Art And Friendships To A Court Known For Its Rigid And Prudish Proprieties

Rikki Ducornet born Erica DeGre, April 19, 1943 in Canton, New York is an American postmodernist, writer, poet, and artist.Ducornet s father was a professor of sociology, and her mother hosted community interest programs on radio and television Ducornet grew up on the campus of Bard College in New York, earning a B.A in Fine Arts from the same institution in 1964 While at Bard she met Robert

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  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • The Fan-Maker's Inquisition: A Novel of the Marquis de Sade
  • Rikki Ducornet
  • English
  • 06 September 2017
  • 9780345441041

10 thoughts on “The Fan-Maker's Inquisition: A Novel of the Marquis de Sade

  1. says:

    In this state of rootless imagining, my mind seizes upon the most unexpected associations Drops of fat suspended in my soup become the ocular devices of archons a baneful spider stalking fleas exemplifies the pubic triangles of embalmed houris a copple crown turd warns of the Revolution s collapse and the dawning of lethal systems of industry Further to conjure anxiety I pretend that the lines of my palms are the river systems of dead planets when that proves tedious, I examine the frayed threads of my sleeves These suggest astrological signs indicating the day, month, and year of my release Days pass, and the I grapple with despair, the stupefying are the systems I invent To tell the truth, they are irritating than entertaining But then comes the thought that saves me from the perils of the insalubrious necromancy I will dream a book The Marquis de Sade is in prison It is the French Revolution, and people are losing their heads when I say that, I m not referring to people having moments of temporary insanity, but people actually getting their heads cut off for being a member of the aristocracy or for being deemed indecent in some arbitrary form or fashion The Marquis de Sade has led a very public life of indecency and, in the process, has made many, many powerful enemies He has one particular enemy, a writer named Restif, who will say anything to further the case for de Sade s demise Restif blames Sade, as do so many others and I cannot stress this enough as do so many others enfevered by Restif s lies for what he calls Sade s aberrant and violently disordered imagination And Sade Sade says My imagination is aberrant, perhaps but it is mine The thing about Restif is that he is as big a perv as de Sade He has no moral ground to stand on In fact, the word retifism for shoe fetishism is named after him He is a keyhole wanker and is always trying to slip into bed with his nubile daughter In my opinion, de Sade was at least honest about his depravities He was a seducer, not a rapist De Sade is languishing in prison, but at least he is still languishing and not watching his head bounce on the cobblestone from some astral plane He is very much alivedreaming of books He is only alive because they have lost track of him With a third of Paris behind bars, he is merely a straw in a haystack The Fan Maker, an artist capable of creating exquisite detail on the hand fans of the wealthy, is on trial for her association with the Marquis de Sade She makes fans depicting erotic scenes, not only for de Sade but also for many of the leading aristocratic ladies of the city Her fans are in high demand because they are beautiful and naughty if you so desired She is facing an inquisition that can only lead to one horrid conclusion The burden of proof for seditious behavior by this citizen government is very low To complicate matters, she has written a tract with de Sade, exposing the despicable behavior of the Spanish bishop Diego de Landa The fan maker s lover, a woman, has already gone to the guillotine The inquisition could be seen as due process, but really it is about finding out about de Sade s sadistic practices and his known associates than it is about determining whether she is innocent or guilty She is guilty by association, and how could any woman who produced such filthy art be anything but a deviant who needs to be exorcised from France A fan is like the thighs of a woman It opens and closes A good fan opens with a flick of the wrist It produces its own weather a breeze not so strong as to muss the hair Of course, I love the fact that she is an artist, an irreverent artist One who isn t afraid to expose the horrible behavior of a priest against an indigenous culture A woman who isn t afraid to seek her pleasure between the succulent thighs of a woman What I like most about her is her insatiable need for books Most of her discussions with de Sade revolve around books My father was a scholar who, having lost the little he had, was forced to deal in rags and as luck would have it old books, which, after all, are often the best So even if we ate gruel, we had books to read for the price of a little lamp oil, and that is how we spent our evenings Father s books were green with mold they smelled of cat piss, they smelled of smoke, they were stained with wine, ink, and rain, or spotted with the frass of insects Books must be saved from philistines frequently than you know When I worked in the book business, one of my jobs at one point was to go out to people s homes to view collections, usually now owned by a person who did not amass the books in the first place Usually that person was already molding in his grave, hopefully in a happier place rereading all the great books he had read throughout his life I remember one place I went to where the books had been removed to a leaky shed, as the descendants of the book collector had wanted to tear out all the beautiful, mahogany bookshelves to make room for what I couldn t ascertain The books had been in the shed for several months monsoon season had come and gone, and this wonderful 19th and early 20th century collection was ruined It was painful The owners were very angry with me when I told them what the collection had been worth, but now had become worthless I may have twisted the knife than I should have, but I was actually pissed off and feeling sad and sanctimonious in equal measure One happy conclusion to the French Revolution is that Maximilien Robespierre, the leader of the rabble who took over Paris, met his own end at the very same guillotine to which he had sent so many other people The lovely and talented Rikki Ducornet.The Marquis de Sade might not have lived a beautiful life, but Rikki Ducornet has written a beautiful book about the intersection of a talented fan maker and the depraved seducer and their unfortunate encounter with the French Revolution Vive les libres and the people who cherish them If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. says:

    If you are a fan of the Marquis de Sade, this book may well be a treasure for your reading pleasure I really enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of this story Ms.Ducornet definitely did her research here The story is good and speaks of the times.A beautiful fan maker, Gabrielle, has befriended Sade She begins to sporadically visit him during a portion of his incarceration Over time, in order to relieve Sade s boredom, together they endeavor to write a book chronicling Bishop Landa s time spent in South America Partially because of the book they are writing, partially because of guilt by association and then partially because of her own sexual preferences, Gabrielle is accused of heresy The first part of this book is the transcription of Gabrielle s inquisition Second part of the book are the letters between Gabrielle and Sade Rikki Ducornet s writing here is adult in nature so you may find the need to fan your self with her pages.

  3. says:

    For the past few weeks the subject of responsible use of freedom of expression and speech has dominated our public discourse And this is not in the context of Charlie Hebdo A group of Indian stand up comics had collaborated on a live roast of two Bollywood actors the very first of its kind in India and posted the video on youtube a performance peppered with sexual innuendos and a mind boggling amount of profanity The video went viral within minutes, inspired twitter hashtags, gave netizens a few good laughs, and offended the usual suspects A few days later, probably following the diktats issued by self appointed guardians of Indian culture and values, the video was removed from youtube and criminal cases registered against the participants in this venture for obscenity Miscreants who vandalize churches, demolish mosques, rape women or launch into vitriolic diatribes against a specific religious community are allowed to function within the legal framework of the state but citizens who take to the streets to protest against the aforementioned atrocities are either water cannoned or arrested with astonishing swiftness Now it seems stand up comics, who are trying to inject some novelty into our painfully predictable entertainment industry which churns out lame potboilers by the dozen month after month, have secured a spot for themselves in the list of enemies of the state Law enforcement has its priorities right Far fetched a parallel as it may seem, Rikki Ducornet s richly imaginative, Bohemian novel harps on the same double standards of moral policing You can dismiss that glaring erotica label not that I have any problems with this tag , dive in without hesitation and let Ducornet overwhelm your senses with her gossamer fine prose and her evocation of a turbulent Paris during the years of the Revolution If you are looking for titillation and descriptions of sadomasochistic practices ala Sade, then let me forewarn you, the transgressions alluded to in Sade s monologues are not as frightfully repulsive as one might expect them to be The only erotic similies I came across are of the following kind ..although the apple was as wrinkled and bruised as the clitoris of an old whore The plot weaves its way in and out of an imaginary Gabrielle, a fan maker famous for her pornographic etchings and illustrations, and her patron Sade s points of view, stringing together their correspondence through letters during the time both were incarcerated for heresy by the Comit de surveillance while also including a parallel, semi fictional narrative of the Catholic Church s barbaric suppression of indigenous pagan practices of Mayan people in the Yucatan peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition Aside from all this there are various fascinating tidbits on Sade s upbringing and stories within stories which are aimed at highlighting the importance of unfettered freedom of thought A book is a private thing, citizen it belongs to the one who writes it and to the one who reads it Like the mind itself, a book is a private space Within that space, anything is possible The greatest evil and the greatest good. The portions containing Sade s letters have him refuting the allegations levelled against him by the Comit by claiming most of what was regarded blasphemous in his work was simply the product of his virile imagination and that no sex act was ever performed without consent The Marquis alternately laments the loss of his friend and confidante, Gabrielle and her lesbian lover Olympe de Gouges an actual feminist figure from the Revolution both of whom were put to death by the Comit , and chastises the hypocrisy of the Revolution which was systematically destroying the ideals of a civilized society in the name of upholding them Once the Revolution has gorged on the citizens of France and returned to her den to sleep for a century or two, what will happen to the triumvirate she whelped Liberty, Equality, Fraternity that vast heresy That near impossibility That acute necessity If you, like me, had not spared a thought for the infamous Parisian libertine till now then do pick up Ducornet s spirited defense of Sadeian ideology of unshackling one s life and art from hypocritical moral constraints There s a good chance she may arouse your curiosity enough to want to take a peek into Sade s world of amoral creativity In Gabrielle s own words Sade offers a mirror I dare you to have the courage to gaze into it

  4. says:

    Every review I ve seen seems to mention the first chapter of this extremely unusual book and I m certainly not going to disappoint the reader in that respect A fan is like the thighs of a woman It opens and closes A good fan opens with a flick of the wrist It produces its own weather a breeze not so strong as to muss the hair Rikki Ducornet s resonant writing compels one to continually read me, read me, read me , combined with the sensual word flow throughout this book by exploring all possible emotions A book that can violate the soul at one end of the spectrum and yet, on the other, provide a sense of sheer relief at knowing works like this exist today in our fast paced society with its mobile phones, iPads, tablets, etc Who doesn t want to slow down and read such an artistic work The pleasures and the meanings that arise from using these exquisitely painted fans are brought about by Gabrielle who makes them in her atelier in Paris our heroine, who is living during the murderous times of the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century A time when on 17 August 1792 the Commune formed a tribunal to try people accused of political crimes The first political prisoner was guillotined on 21 August There were so many unnecessary deaths, including innocent people, purely because they had the same names as supposedly guilty parties The Countess du Barry s own heinous crime was that of having fucked a king Well one consolation for her, at least she was enjoying herself before her death.It was a time when life counted for naught and regrettably so many people fell foul of the current laws One of our most famous French aristocrats, the Marquis de Sade was unhappily resident in the infamous Bastille but he was there initially because of one of the twenty two letters de cachets a French letter bearing an official seal, signed by the king, and usually authorizing imprisonment without trial of a named person that had been served upon him during his life One of the seals used for the noblesse One even came from the Marquis de Sade s own mother in law, Madame de Montreuil, who didn t approve of his impropriety in relation to orgies, sadism, and other such niceties that were the order of the day with the upper classes The Marquis had a temporary respite when freed from prison in working for the new Republic but he was soon arrested again because of the subversive treatment of sexual detail in his books He remained in prison until his death.Set against a backdrop of the French Revolution, the author goes on an incredible creative journey to give her own interpretation on how she perceived the Marquis de Sade and the book she wrote with him This is also a book about the labyrinth of the mind and its many facets.I used to believe that this aristocrat was one of the vilest creatures alive, and a sadist at that, which he was, of course But in fact this well written about man, who was confined for large periods of his life in lunatic asylums and the Bastille, I cannot believe was inherently evil He acquired it It certainly didn t help being educated by Jesuits who were known to be violent to their charges There was one particularly evil individual that de Sade recalls known as the Broom who took great pleasure in thrashing the students with whatever tool was available at the time.His father also seemed to be a despicable person which must not have helped in de Sade s upbringing My buttocking father, warming his balls in a brothel, took it into his head that he needed a son to fortify his line, animate his eye, stimulate his heart and afford him pocket in his decrepitude Thus, like Minerva, it was my fatal destiny to have been born of thought, to tumble from my father s brain into his ear and from there onto the rump of a whore.Well that certainly wasn t a pleasant introduction into his aristocratic world As for his mother, she was no better it seems While Mother was at mass, I tumbled from the priest s thurible i.e a censer of metal, for burning incense, having various forms, held in the hand or suspended by chains used especially at mass, vespers, and other solemn services and into the cleft of her bosom.The daily rounds of executions were also anathema to de Sade He couldn t bear hearing the noise from the executions, the guillotine doing its evil work, the roars of the crowds, the tumbrils bringing in the prisoners to be executed, the heads kept in baskets, stealing from the bodies At Gabrielle s subsequent trial, resulting from papers and a manuscript she has co authored with the Marquis being found in her rooms, she is forced to read aloud from it with constant interruptions from the citizens The court accuses Gabrielle of speaking in riddles, and they cannot appreciate how or why she is collaborating with de Sade and whatever she says to try and explain, there are shouts from the citizens She deserves to lose her head Similar to off with her head in Alice in Wonderland but in that case, it s the queen stating this.How much access the author had to de Sade s works is unknown to me but she s brought this aristocrat alive She has shown a caring individual later on in his life, a great literary author who wrote his best work when imprisoned, and she demonstrates through Gabrielle how this was portrayed when she writing a book with him of the 16th century about the infamous Spanish missionary, Bishop Landa, accusing him of massacres and other hideous abuses against the native population of the New World Gabrielle had been brought up with books by her father, even though they didn t have much money My father was a scholar who, having lost the little he had, was forced to deal in rags and as luck would have it old books, which, after all, are often the best Father s books were green with mold, they smelled of cat piss, they smelled of smoke, they were stained with wine, ink, and rain, or spotted with the frass damage of insects The Fan Maker s Inquisition brings the period of the French Revolution alive, and also a man, de Sade, who was languishing in jail, quite convinced that he would never natural light again To fill his days he began to write and through his friendship with our fan maker, achieved a literary notoriety that is still alive, I m pleased to say, today But for the fact that I am no longer ready to die for the Revolution but only for mine, the description fits my mood exactly parched and terrified But here I ll sing a little drinking song to remind myself that things could be worse I m not dead yet after all, and there s not a corpse in sight Although the asses complain as the grave digger s cart groans beneath the weight of the day s accumulation of crimes, heads and bodies both are trundled off, and the cobbles I see them now, shining in the moon are washed with water The admiration, and friendship with Gabrielle permeates throughout the book and it appears to be mutual She was his lifeline.But there are also two other women here, who particularly shine In the book about Bishop Landa based in Yucatan, Kukum s widow is one of the tragic figures in this book when, following the death of her husband, she prepares to die She burns incense to her husband special gods Itzamna the god of writing and old, old Pawathun And she burns incense to the god of corn For are not books like bread Do they not nourish our spirits just as corn feeds our bodies It comforts her to know the books are near She has some berries with her these she eats slowly, one by one, because they are bitter Then she lies down to die Also another fascinating personality was Olympe de Gouges She was an , she was black and her personality sparkled in addition she was illiterate and a fanciful speller.Gabrielle remembers when she first came to her atelier A black felt hat perched with provocation on her mane of black curls, a bewitching cast over one eye, her breasts balanced beneath her collarbones like bubbles of glass she sweeps into the atelier on a winter s afternoon The year is 1789, and the Revolution holds such promise In the background, La Fentine is speaking to a customer, and I am painting a border of grapes and vines And Gabrielle s thoughts of herself I have been called a pornographer It is true that I am I am no fop, nor am I a libertine It is one thing to extol a virile sexuality and another to trumpet bum fucking as does a certain marquis, or murderer as does a certain Olympe de Gouges You see I do not mince my words What was left unfinished in this book was the ultimate fate of Gabrielle I feel that detail should have been given Scribble subsequently advised me that Gabrielle had been beheaded.This superbly written, sensual, and rather naughty book has had such an impact on me and due to my own modesty regrettably has forced me to omit some of the rather saucy sections However, I only have one appropriate action to follow here I applaud Rikki Ducornet for introducing me yet again, to her magical but elusive and mysterious world Her imagination I leave it at that for you to decide whether you wish to read this unforgettable book.As a final note Now what does that do for your imagination I know what it did for John s as it whetted his appetite When I read the opening to him, he appeared to be dismissive but I saw whenever I picked up this book to read it, John was next to me peering at it He had obviously been sneakily looking at it because he began to tell me what was going to happen next.

  5. says:

    Readers of a Ducornet novel can expect many wondrous and terrific things an abundance of sensual, grotesque, ravenous descriptions and lists, a cast list of eccentrics, madmen, mischief makers and seducers, a whirligig of tales within tales within frame tales, all manner of delightfully erudite literary and philosophical arcana, and fantastical tangents that have the magical translucence of dreams and nightmares All these elements are or less present in The Fan Maker s Inquisition, as the titular fan maker for the Marquis de Sade tells her story of wonderful amorality making all manner of devious trinkets and self immolating fans for the mad scribe, who composes letters and stories to her until her execution, when he takes over the narrative from the confines of his own wayward psyche A briefly brilliant novel reflecting on the rightness and wrongness of Sade s moral repugnance, replete with all the typically poetic and lyrical Ducornettian prose elements listed above.

  6. says:

    Prudish Inquisition Becomes Immersive ExquisitionRikki Ducornet opens this novella with testimony by Sade s fan maker, Gabrielle A fan is like the thighs of a woman It opens and closes But it s also like a book or a mind They too can be opened or closed And the life of Sade was very much about one open mind opposed to many closed ones This book is designed to open if not blow our minds and free our imaginations Ducornet quotes Mallarme There is no explosion except a book Sade s renowned cruelty or sadism is not the principal focus of the story It actually humanizes Sade and two women who might have featured directly or indirectly in his life Gabrielle, perhaps a fictional creation, who made erotically illustrated fans for Sade to give to his whores and mistresses and Olympe de Gouges, Gabrielle s lesbian lover, as well as a real life playwright, political agitator and feminist she wrote Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen , only to be guillotined on 2 November 1793 for the crime of her sexuality view spoiler Ironically, French women didn t obtain the right to vote until 1945, only four years before Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex. hide spoiler

  7. says:

    Marquis de Sade after the Revolution, in 1790, was elected to the National Convention, where he represented the most radical or should I say sadistic inclinations of the far left until he fell from grace and was incarcerated The Fan Maker s Inquisition, an attempted stylization to Fran ois Rabelais and an endeavour of praise to Marquis de Sade fails and is nothing but the baroque trash The truth is this The New World shimmers and bristles with demons One oversees the beekeepers, another the bees, another the ballplayers, another the moon There are the demons of travelers, the demons of tricksters, of merchants and government officials Astrologers are protected by demons, as are fools, go betweens, and thieves Demons oversee garden parties, funerals, weddings, and copulation The the bishop drums them out, the there are demons of Excessive Anger and Excessive Love, demons of Sour Temper, Hair Loss, and Envy Stupidity has a demon, as do Cupidity and Revenge The penis is ruled by a demon, as are the vagina, the anus, and the eye Some demons wear their noses like branches of coral, some blow smoke out of their skulls, some carry their heads in their hands, and some smoke cigars.And Rikki Ducornet is a demon of folly, it seems The French Revolution was a sorrowful tragedy and not the trashy circus show like it is portrayed in the novel.And Rikki Ducornet s sort of postmodernism can t rise much above elementary bladder and bowel habits I stink, therefore I am And if all my rights have been taken from me but one the right to dream I dream excessively If they don t like it, they will have to chop off my head My pen is the key to a fantastic bordello, and once the gate is opened, it ejaculates a bloody ink The virgin paper set to shriek evokes worlds heretofore unknown eruptive, incorruptible, suffocating What is less vicious, to write pornographic novels or to chop off heads The answer is obvious to everyone except those who chop off heads.

  8. says:

    3.5 5 Luckless is that country in which the symbols of procreation are held in horror de Bergerac wrote, while the agents of destruction are revered I ve said it in other reviews, and I ll say it again erotica deserves to be treated seriously as a legitimate genre of literature, for the amelioration of both written word and resulting reality Sade died two hundred years ago, and while I don t know about the rest of the world, I have four words for the gun happy, sex patriarchal US grow the fuck up.When I say Sade looms over my horizon, I do not imply such in the pubescent sense, or at least not fully There s a reason why this man s highly contentious works have survived and even thrived, ideas proliferating with every page turned that span from religion to morality to psychology and all, of course, in the midst of copious amounts of fucking whose unorthodoxy still makes the 21st century desensitized mind flinch Sadism, anyone There s also the matter of works both erotica and classic, a paradox if there ever was one that, for all the insipid mewlers and pukers running around the BN racks these days, manage to persist Almost as if there was something to be gained for reading them Perhaps I am hasty in passing judgment with nothing but a few bits and piece and this particular book having passed through my cranium, but While I m not going to go as far as saying Sade was a feminist see The Sadeian Woman for that , if the juicier ideas of Ducornet s adhere to the lines of the original Marquis thinking, I feel I m going to like him There s nothing I like than a thinker who gives no shits for general principles that are not of their own making, and if Sade truly does turn the hypocrite convention that cries morality in one ear and whispers rape culture along with so many other rage inducing idiocies in the other on its head and inside out, well We may have something here.I m spending a lot of time building this person up, one who neither authored nor plays main fiddle for this work being reviewed, because for the first time I m excited about reading Sade Morbid curiosity and a bring it on mentality are all very well, but Ducornet s words have made me also want to say They say he is evil incarnate and that his books are a plague, but I have survived the torment, the tedium, and the exhilaration of the reading that, to tell the truth, gives me the courage to live unfettered a vivid and moral life. Thank you, Ducornet, for spurring me on after years of meaning to read but never managed 2014 s going to be fun Early in our friendship, Sade said I had the mind of a man That was to say I was fearless, fearless of ideas, which, after all, are mere abstractions until put to use I told him that I had the mind of a woman, adequately stimulated, adequately served.

  9. says:

    We admire Nature s variety and accept the flowers in their multiplicity of colors indeed, if all flowers were white, we d love them less The world is richer for Nature s permutations, so why, tell me, do we not accept diversity within our own species RD The first time the fan maker reads Sade, she is horrified and turns from him in disgust But then she realizes that his vision of hell is a vision of the dangers that face us all She decides that in order to survive, one must, she must face the tiger My own conviction is that if we dare confront Sade s possible universe within ourselves, we have a chance of survival That if Sade had been read carefully, we might have been prepared for the possibility of holocaust and turned away in time.A book for dreamers of freedom A book for those who understand the imagination is the only sovereign kingdom A book made for our witch hunting epoch A book the tragically hypocritical moralists preening among us will never comprehend, and turn away from, baffled and embarrassed, but only by their own secret spiteful shame, which they do not approach understanding A book for wing clipped spirits Ducornet writes the most magnificent prose I ve read in years, and the Fan Maker is among the most gorgeously wrought books I ve read in my adulthood Necessary Beautiful.

  10. says:

    Here is what I wonder on my worst days If the guillotine exemplifies Nature perpetual, blind, deadly, inescapable and if Man is Her servant, and the Revolution too, then there is no hope Then would I, and gladly, see the universe perish.My humble gratitude extends to Samadrita This was such a welcome detour The Fan Maker s Inquisition wrestles with moral hypocrisy How sound that is in these uneven times My best friend was recently interviewed on Al Jazeera about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy It was a very polite interview and I sat champing, hoping that mention would be made of satire from Sade to Godard It didn t occur.Ducornet s novel alternates between the caustic and the sumptuous and remains truly remarkable The novel is a pastiche of sorts, encompassing court proceedings, personal letters, dreams and a fantastic book of the imagination.

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