Following the twin trails of desire and depravity to a shocking, sadistic paradise - a garden in China where torture is practiced as an art form - a dissolute Frenchman discovers the true depths of degradation beyond his prior bourgeois imaginings. Entranced by a resolute Englishwoman, whose capacity for debauchery knows no bounds, he capitulates to her every whim amid an ecstatic yet tormenting incursion of visions, scents, caresses, pleasures, horrors, and fantastic atrocities. "The Torture Garden" is exceptional for its detailed descriptions of sexual euphoria and exquisite torture, its political critique of government corruption and bureaucracy, and its revolutionary portrait of a woman - which challenges even contemporary models of feminine authority. This is one of the most truly original works ever imagined. Beyond providing richly poetic experience, it will stimulate anyone interested in the always-contemporary problem of the limits of experience and sensation. As part of the continuing struggle against censorship and especially self-censorship, it will remain a landmark in the fight against all that would suppress the creation of a far freer world.
Written in 1899, this fabulously rare novel was once described as "the most sickening work of art of the 19th century."
About the Author
Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917) was a French playwright, journalist, novelist, and staunch supporter of the anarchist cause in France. His work was influenced by many, especially Moliere and Dostoyevsky. He was also a lover of art and was one of the earliest supporters of Van Gogh, Pissarro, and Rodin.