|The setting is the 1790s in a mental asylum where the Marquis is incarcerated. The laundress Madeline smuggles the Marquis' pornographic plays out of the asylum. One of the plays comes to the attention of the Emperor who is outraged and sends Dr. Royer-Collard to cure the Marquis. Treatments include thumbscrews, ducking stools and the 'comforting chair'. Deprived of writing materials the Marquis writes his plays in blood and Madeline takes great risks getting them published. A love triangle develops between the Marquis, Madeline and Abbe.