When he strides on stage, glittering in silk and gold, he heroic seducer at his proudest, we are tempted to see in him only the natural fire of desire, a kind of vehement and somehow innocent animality. But Nature has never produced anything like this. We sense there is something demonic about him, almost a polemic of defiant wickedness. …

In the intoxication of anarchy he thrives on, this grand seigneur never forgets his rank. His natural mood is scorn; nothing is further from his nature.

Consider how he treats women: incapable of possessing them, he first violates them morally in order to subjugate the animal part of their being; and no sooner has he taken than he rejects them, as if he sought the fact of the crime rather than the gratifications of pleasure.

A perpetual polemicist, he happens to be completely determined by the good and the just—against them. If the laws of morality did not exist, he would invent them in order to violate them. Which is what suggests to us the spiritual nature of his secret, so carefully masked by the pretext of his instinct. On the summits of the mind in revolt, we shall see Nietzsche renew this mortal challenge a hundred years later.

From Denis de Rougemont, Love Declared