UCLA locks up De Sade manuscripts

University hoping Geoffrey takes Oscar to give manuscript acquisition more prominence

UCLA has acquired a pair of manuscripts that the Marquis de Sade penned in the insane asylum depicted in current biopic “Quills.”

The university is waiting to formally announce its acquisition until after Oscars are handed out Sunday in the hope that “Quills” topliner Geoffrey Rush will cop a best actor statuette and give the news more prominence. UCLA’s rare book trove, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, paid $60,000 to acquire copies of French-language plays “The Prevaricator” and “The Mysterious Tour” from a New York book dealer.

De Sade, who was twice incarcerated in France’s Charenton Asylum, arranged for inmates there to perform some of his stage works. Such a scene is included in “Quills,” but neither of the acquired plays figure in the pic, Clark head librarian Bruce Whiteman said.

The library, located in L.A.’s West Adams section, will unveil the manuscripts at a May 6 fund-raising event featuring readings from the de Sade plays. Some autographed Oscar Wilde letters are among other new acquisitions to be showcased at the event.

The de Sade works, copied by anonymous hand, feature handwritten edits by the French nobleman. Both plays were written in 1812, two years before the famously naughty scribe’s death. The play “Quills” was previously staged at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse.

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