- Marquis de Sade's masterpiece The 120 Days of Sodom is going on display
- He wrote the graphic work in 37 days while locked up in the Bastille in 1785
- Sade described it as the 'most impure tale that has ever been told'
- It follows four libertines who rape, torture and murder their young victims
- The 39-ft scroll will be shown at Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, Paris
- It will mark the 200th anniversary of the Marquis de Sade's death
It is one of the most shocking tales of sexual extremism ever published – often banned for its graphic depiction of the rape and torture of young victims.
But the original 39-ft scroll upon which the Marquis de Sade penned The 120 Days of Sodom is going on display to mark the 200th anniversary of the writer's death.
The Marquis, whose name forms the root of the word 'sadism', wrote the masterpiece in just 37 days during his imprisonment for sexual deviancy and blasphemy in 1785.
The original scroll on which the Marquis de Sade wrote the draft of his novel 'The 120 Days of Sodom' is displayed at the Letters and Manuscripts Museum in Paris
It was found when the Bastille prison was stormed during the French Revolution.
And now it is being displayed by the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris.
Sade's work details the depraved behaviour of four wealthy French libertines who rape, torture and finally murder their victims in a remote mediaeval castle.
It was described by the author as 'the most impure tale that has ever been told since our world began'.
The story remained unpublished until 1904 when it was obtained by a German psychiatrist who regarded it having scientific importance.
The Marquis (right) wrote the masterpiece in just 37 days during his imprisonment for sexual deviancy in 1785
But it has since been translated into many languages and is even studied in some French literature degrees.
In 1929, the scroll was bought by a member of the Noailles family who was a direct descendant of Sade.
It was later stolen, smuggled into Switzerland and sold to a collector.
A furious international legal wrangle ensued with a French court ordering it to be returned to the Noailles family.
But this was overruled in 1998 by a Swiss court that declared it had been bought by the collector in good faith.
It was first put on display near Geneva in 2004 when Aristophil, a company specialising in rare manuscripts, bought the scroll for £5.75million.