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“The Burning of Hospitals”: Sade's Thoughts on Hospitals from the Ancien Regime to the End of the 18 th Century

  • Cross-Cultural Studies
  • 2017, 46(), pp.379-409
  • DOI : 10.21049/ccs.2017.46..379
  • Publisher : Center for Cross Culture Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Literature
  • Received : February 10, 2017
  • Accepted : March 3, 2017
  • Published : March 30, 2017

Lee Choong Hoon 1

1한양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The villainous characters of the Marquis de Sade do not regard pity and consternation that one usually feels at the sight of poor people as natural. Such feelings are simply rejected. Therefore, Sade’s characters immediately suggest that the hospitals established by religious congregations under the Ancien Regime should disappear. However, it is important to note that enlightened thinkers are aware of the abuses caused by hospitals at that time, claiming that they are to be blamed for the worsening situation of the poor. Thus, the General Assembly of the Constituents tried to nationalize the possessions of the hospitals, going as far as abolishing every charity institution. This article aims at linking Sade’s hatred for hospitals to the issues his contemporaries raise about charity institutions. More particularly, revolutionary thinkers want to replace the considerably rich hospitals with small hospices or domiciliary care. Such actions will help reduce national budget spending and simplify the administrative procedures. Sade’s libertines view poverty issues in the society from different perspectives: philosophical, political and economic. Let us not forget that they insist on social assistance systems which would suit both the ideals and the circumstances of the new Republic. We understand that Sade took precautions against the impending return of religion and monarchy, which were expelled by the Revolution. Under the Ancien Regime, people tolerated hospitals on the pretext that they arouse natural feelings such as beneficence and compassion. Well, to say the least, Sade is not wrong in raising awareness on this issue.

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