Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Gender and Women's Studies

Reader 1

Mary Ann Davis

Reader 2

Kimberly Drake

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© 2015 Lucy E. Blumberg


The Marquis de Sade has a notorious reputation amongst academics as a continuous figure of fictional and cultural studies. His characters, stories, and writings carry weight in modern interpretations of gender dynamics, pornographic aesthetics, and the alternative fantastical. This thesis will explore the Marquis de Sade’s most famous characters, Justine and Juliette, as means to define the Marquis’ significance to 21st Century Western culture production, particularly in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist and E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Exploring the female protagonists (or main characters) of the separate works, the correlations of subjugation, constructed morality, and the constructs of femininity become important markers for understanding the Marquis’ dissemination of his philosophies on gender, violence, and indulgent sexuality that leads to conversations on pornographic aesthetics in our modern period. Despite being dead for nearly 200 years, the Marquis de Sade’s relevance parades on in ideologies regarding female identity and sexual desires of the extreme.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.