(NSFW) would frown on the idea of Valentine's Day and devoting yourself to your one true love; they were all about fun, all the time. Think free love
as current practitioners would call it) is a product of the swingin' 70s? No way. The libertine
philosophy has been around since at least the 17th century. Notable practitioners include John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
, who wrote some juicy poetry
on the topic; Choderlos de Laclos
of Les Liaisons dangereuses
fame; the Marquis de Sade
; the fictional Don Juan
; and the poster boy for libertinism, Charles II of England
. In fact Rochester once had to flee court for making fun
of Charles's appetites (though Rochester was no angel himself).
Fast forward to the current day, when Johnny Depp is starring in a new movie, "The Libertine
," in which he portrays Rochester to some critical acclaim. Is Rochester simply a sad, sorry sort who justified a lifestyle that some see as immoral, and got his just deserts when he died of syphilis? Or was he caught up in a way of life that he alternately enjoyed and despised, finding that
"Old age and Experience, hand in hand / Lead him to Death, and make him understand, / After a Search so painful and so long, / That all his Life he has been in the wrong."
Maybe there's something to be said for abstinence
, after all.
posted by MiHail
on Feb 14, 2005 -