paris - The auction of the manuscript of one of the world's earliest erotic novels, The 120 days of Sodom by Markies de Sade, has been discontinued. The French state declared the work a national treasure and said it can not be sold to a foreign buyer.
The work of De Sade from 1785, written in small notebook on 33 pieces of roll paper when he was imprisoned in the Bastille, would be auctioned Wednesday. But De Sade's 12-meter long manuscript, together with four works by one of the founders of surrealism, André Breton, was declared national treasures by the French Ministry of Culture.
The two lots, coming from a wealth of documents and artefacts collected by a now defunct French company, had attracted interest from American and European private buyers, according to Paris-based auctioneers Aguttes.