The anniversary of the death of the Marquis de Sade passed a few days ago, so tonight it’s Peter Brooks’s film adaptation of Marat/Sade.
Frye in “The Drunken Boat”:
We said earlier that a Romantic poet’s political views would depend partly on whether he saw his inner society as concealed by or as manifested by actual society. A Romantic poet’s moral attitude depends on a similar ambivalence in the conception of nature. Nature to Wordsworth is a mother-goddess who teaches the soul serenity and joy, and never betrays the heart that loves her; to the Marquis de Sade nature is the source of all perverse pleasures that an earlier age had classified as “unnatural.” For Wordsworth the reality of Nature is manifested by the reflection of moral values; for de Sade the reality is concealed by that reflection. (CW 17, 88)