The Marquis de Sade made a career out of titillating his readers with lavish descriptions of what could and should take place in a libertine boudoir. In several instances, he chooses to hide the specifics of what happened in these locations, preferring to allow the reader to draw his own conclusions of what might be taking place. While the boudoir was an established concept by the middle of the eighteenth century, the Sadean boudoir plays with its traditional meaning, removing the idea of a female-centered space of relaxation and re-placing it with a protected space for libertine exploration. Close reading of Sade's most famous works demonstrates how he both reveals and conceals the boudoir as a privileged site for punishment, pleasure, education, and, ultimately, as a site of seduction for and of the reader.

As an author, Sade also plays with the taboos associated with the boudoir. While he is willing to describe the rooms' furnishings and amenities, he frequently keeps the activities that take place here a closely guarded secret. As readers, we must ask ourselves why he chooses to treat the boudoir as he does. Is it merely to titillate the reader, or does he have deeper motives for his portrayal of this room?

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