The narrator of Les 120 Journées de Sodome asserts that this is the ‘récit le plus impur qui ait jamais été fait depuis que le monde existe, le pareil livre ne se rencontrant ni chez les anciens ni chez les modernes’.1 This claim to uniqueness notwithstanding, scholars have identified sources for Sade’s most original work. Gilbert Lely argues that the novel’s structure is ‘visiblement inspirée’ by Boccaccio’s Decameron and Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron; and Michel Delon notes that Antoine Galland’s Les Mille et une nuits and Madeleine-Angélique de Gomez’s Les Journées amusantes provide models for its framework.2 By proposing that another text played an important aesthetic and material role in the creation of the 120 Journées, this article aims to illuminate...

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