Here it is, undoubtedly, Sade''s literary summit. And it deals with unfortunate virtue, example and honor of female''s sexuality. Ah, but in the same way Justine hates the sophistries of debauchery and irreligiousness she is also tortured and slaughtered by fate, pleased to tear and crush her virtue, the only treasure she owns. She is an orphan, and from a terrible bankruptcy which precipitates her parents in the dark shadows of death, poor Justine, with a small inheritance of a hundred pounds and being just twelve years old, is thrown away from the convent where she dedicated her life to God, to become, by unfortunate destiny, the favorite victim of all sorts of cruelties and sexual assaults on her virtue, taking her to the most desperate agony that Marquis de Sade''s brushes could paint.
The plan of this novel (not so much a novel as one might think) is definitely new: the ascendancy of virtue over vice, the reward of goodness, the punishment of evil, is something usually found in all works of this nature, but everywhere vice is presented as triumphant and virtue as victim
of its own sacrifices, that''s to say, a novel where Marquis of Sade intends to get the reader mad.