Man is subject to two failings inseparable from his very existence which is defined by them. Everywhere he must pray and he must also love — and there you have the basic stuff of all novels. Men wrote novels in order to show beings whom they petitioned; and they wrote novels to celebrate those whom they loved. The first kind, composed out of terror or hope, could not be other than brooding, sprawling, full of untruth and invention. . . . The second type is marked by refined taste and fine sentiments. . . . But since man prayed, and since he loved everywhere, novels appeared in every quarter of the globe which he inhabited, that is to say, works of fiction which showed either the fabulous paraphernalia of his particular faith, or the more real world of his love.
M. de Sade, “An essay on novels,” 1800
Donatien-Alphonse-François, Marquis de Sade, born 2 June 1740