The novel tells the story of the beautiful and devout Justine, whose steadfast faith and naive trust destine her from the outset for sexual exploitation and martyrdom. The unending catalog of disasters that befall her, during which she is subject to any number of perverse practices, illustrate Sade's belief in the primacy of Nature over civilization. Virtue is no match for vice, and as criminality and violence triumph, Justine is doomed to suffer. Indeed, the novel mounts a ferocious physical and intellectual assault on absolute notions of good and evil.
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