The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinism, (Les 120 journées de Sodome ou l'école du libertinage) is a novel by the French writer and nobleman Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Described as both pornographic[and erotic, it was written in 1785.[ It tells the 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 inaccessible castle in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, with a harem of 46 victims, mostly young male and female teenagers, and engage four female brothel 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.
Sade wrote The 120 Days of Sodom in the space of thirty-seven days in 1785 while he was imprisoned in the Bastille. Being short of writing materials and fearing confiscation, he wrote it in tiny writing on a continuous, twelve-metre-long (39.37 feet) roll of paper, made up of individual small pieces of paper smuggled into the prison and glued together. When the Bastille was stormed and looted on July 14, 1789, at the beginning of the French Revolution, Sade believed the work was lost forever and later wrote that he "wept tears of blood" over its loss.
However, the long roll of paper on which it was written was found hidden in walls of his cell, having escaped the attentions of the looters. It was first published in 1904] by the Berlin psychiatrist Iwan Bloch (who used a pseudonym, "Dr. Eugen Dühren", to avoid controversy). It was not until the latter half of the 20th century that it became more widely available in countries such as United Kingdom, the United States and France. The original is located in the Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits, Paris, France. It was purchased from a Swiss collector for €7 Million.