South Korea issues ban on ‘The 120 Days of Sodom’ for ‘extreme obscenity’
The South Korean Publication Ethics Commission has issued a ban of a 18th century French erotic novel just a month after the book was published.
According to an AFP report yesterday, the state review board has issued a ban on the erotic novel, ”The 120 Days of Sodom”, by the 18th-century French nobleman and writer, the Marquis de Sade, for “extreme obscenity,” and ordered the publisher of the book to recall and destroy all copies currently at stores.
Senior board official Jang Tag-Hwan told the media outlet, “a large portion of the book was extremely obscene and cruel, involving acts of sadism, incest, bestiality and necrophilia.” Jang called it a “harmful publication”.
Senior editor of Dongsuh Press, Lee Yoong, responded to the ban telling AFP, ”This book is not about promoting pornography and violence … it mocks and criticises the dark side of human nature behind such acts. There are numerous pornographic books available everywhere. I can’t understand why this book, worthy of academic research by psychiatrists or literary experts, should be treated so differently.”
The 120 Days of Sodom, written in 1785, remained unpublished until the 20th century where it’s been translated into numerous languages.
A Wikipedia entry describes the novel as a story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies. To do this, they seal themselves away for four months in an inaccessiblecastle in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, with a harem of 46 victims, mostly young male and female teenagers, and engage four femalebrothel keepers to tell the stories of their lives and adventures. The women’s narratives form an inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims, which gradually mounts in intensity and ends in their slaughter.
A 1975 Italian movie based on the novel was also banned because of its intense depictions of violence and sexual perversion.
The publisher will appeal the ban. The book will still be available while the ban is under appeal.