Sade saw himself as a literary man. He has described himself as a dramatist, author, novelist, and most notably, a ‘man of letters’. ‘Man of letters’ examines Sade's literary output throughout his lifetime paying special attention to his plays, short stories, reviews of novels, his own novels, and letters. He started writing early in his youth. His writing activities took off in the Bastille during his first long imprisonment in the 1780s. He produced an incredible volume of correspondence while imprisoned and his letters were written with an openness that is extraordinary for his time.