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Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses)
Author: Pierre Choderlos De Laclos
Publisher: Published November 5th 2017 by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (first published March 24th 1782)
ISBN: null
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make “Dangerous Liaisons” (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Viscount de Valmont and the Marchioness de Merteuil — gifted, wealthy, and bored — form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game. And they play this game with such wit and style th The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make “Dangerous Liaisons” (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Viscount de Valmont and the Marchioness de Merteuil — gifted, wealthy, and bored — form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game. And they play this game with such wit and style that it is impossible not to admire them, until they discover mysterious rules that they cannot understand. In the ensuing battle there can be no winners, and the innocent suffer with the guilty. The Marchioness de Merteuil and the Viscount de Valmont are creations without precedent. They are the first [in European literature] whose acts are determined by an ideology. —André Malraux One of the two greatest French novels. —André Gide What really keeps “Dangerous Liaisons” potent after two hundred years is not so much its depiction of sex as its catalog of corruptions, including but not limited to the corruption of language by polite cant and the corruption of morals by manners. It implicates a whole society so founded on falsehood that a single act of emotional truth is tantamount to an act of subversion. —Luc Sante In many respects, Laclos is the perfect author: he wrote, at around the age of 40, one piece of fiction, which was not merely a masterpiece, but the supreme example of its genre, the epistolary novel; and then he troubled the public no further. —Christopher Hampton

30 review for Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Dangerous Liaisons improves as it progresses. I was tempted to abandon it, but I persisted and am glad, for--although this epistolary novel of the last days of the ancien regime initially appears to be stylish but superficial--it soon grows in both subtlety and power. Many of the difficulties of the book are perhaps inevitable in any work that chronicles seduction in epistolary form. The letters of the wicked are elegant, the letters of the good are instructive, but the letters of the naive and Dangerous Liaisons improves as it progresses. I was tempted to abandon it, but I persisted and am glad, for--although this epistolary novel of the last days of the ancien regime initially appears to be stylish but superficial--it soon grows in both subtlety and power. Many of the difficulties of the book are perhaps inevitable in any work that chronicles seduction in epistolary form. The letters of the wicked are elegant, the letters of the good are instructive, but the letters of the naive and innocent are by necessity simple and ingenuous, and their lack of awareness both taxes the patience and dissipates the interest of the reader, all the more so because they aggravate his sympathies and frustrate his moral impulses at the same time. Moreover, once we accustom ourselves to the novel's stylistic beauties, we become aware that the other literary pleasures we receive from it are not only emotionally coarse and morally perverse, but also devoid of suspense, as we watch those who are invincible in wickedness debauch the defenseless and the good. A third of the way through, however, we learn more about our depraved aristocrats, and our interest in the novel grows. We learn that the Vicomte de Valmont can enjoy a philanthropic pleasure while failing to appreciate its intrinsic value, seeing it merely as one step on the path of Madame de Tourvel's seduction. This makes him appear less innately evil, and thus--perhaps paradoxically--more thoroughly damned. Then, almost halfway through, the Marquise de Merteuil tells Valmont the story of her self-imposed "moral" education in emotional control and duplicity, and--although we cannot bring ourselves to like her--we come to sympathize with any woman like herself, born with a commanding character and prodigious appetites, who must strive to preserve her respectability in a ritualized patriarchal society. In the novel's second half, the plot gets thicker, the dupes grow wiser, and the games that once appeared witty and decadent now seem pointless and destructive. In the end, the plot veers sharply from the amoral toward the moralistic, but keeps itself from plummeting into sanctimony by the absurdity of the punishments allocated for the wicked. This formal resolution--like the endings of Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well--fulfills without satisfying, and therefore leads us to continue to question the moral lessons we already thought we had learned.

  2. 4 out of 5

    William2

    An absolutely magnificent novel! To think that it was published in 1782, seven years before the French Revolution. Liberté égalité fraternité! It has been argued that the novel thus caught a doomed aristocracy distracted by decadent and libertine ways that would soon be its undoing. The gift the novel's main characters display for casuistry, calumny, prevarication and cynical self-involvement takes the breath away. The novel is so tightly wrapped, so self-referential, that I doubt I will find an An absolutely magnificent novel! To think that it was published in 1782, seven years before the French Revolution. Liberté égalité fraternité! It has been argued that the novel thus caught a doomed aristocracy distracted by decadent and libertine ways that would soon be its undoing. The gift the novel's main characters display for casuistry, calumny, prevarication and cynical self-involvement takes the breath away. The novel is so tightly wrapped, so self-referential, that I doubt I will find an extraneous word on this third reading, though I shall try. I bought this Folio Society edition—crushed carmine silk over boards— some years ago to commemorate past readings and carry me through future ones. A stunning novel. A book for real readers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    °°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο Αμ

    «Η επανάσταση έγινε απο τους φιλήδονους». «-Έχει αναβαθμιστεί η ηθική; -Έχει υποβαθμιστεί η ενεργητικότητα του κακού; -Η μωρολογία έχει αντικαταστήσει το πνεύμα; "Το γαμήσι και η δόξα απο το γαμήσι είναι άραγε πιο ανήθικα απ'τον σημερινό τρόπο με τον οποίο λατρεύουμε και με τον οποίο αναμειγνύουμε το ιερό με το ανίερο; Τότε κατέβαλαν τεράστια προσπάθεια για να αποκτήσουν κάτι που ομολογούσαν πως ήταν μια σαχλαμάρα,και δεν καταδικάζονταν γι'αυτό περισσότερο απ'όσο σήμερα. Καταδικάζονταν όμως λιγότερ «Η επανάσταση έγινε απο τους φιλήδονους». «-Έχει αναβαθμιστεί η ηθική; -Έχει υποβαθμιστεί η ενεργητικότητα του κακού; -Η μωρολογία έχει αντικαταστήσει το πνεύμα; "Το γαμήσι και η δόξα απο το γαμήσι είναι άραγε πιο ανήθικα απ'τον σημερινό τρόπο με τον οποίο λατρεύουμε και με τον οποίο αναμειγνύουμε το ιερό με το ανίερο; Τότε κατέβαλαν τεράστια προσπάθεια για να αποκτήσουν κάτι που ομολογούσαν πως ήταν μια σαχλαμάρα,και δεν καταδικάζονταν γι'αυτό περισσότερο απ'όσο σήμερα. Καταδικάζονταν όμως λιγότερο βλακωδώς,δεν εξαπατούσαν ο ένας τον άλλον». Πρωτοεκδόθηκε στο Παρίσι το 1782, αντιμετωπίστηκε ως «σκάνδαλο» και μπήκε στη λίστα με τ’ «απαγορευμένα» το 1825, όπου και παρέμεινε έως το τέλος του 19ου αιώνα. Δυο αιώνες και κάτι μετά την πρώτη έκδοσή του, παραμένει ένα αρχετυπικό ερωτικό μυθιστόρημα· στα ερωτικά παιχνίδια και στη θυελλώδη σχέση αγάπης-μίσους-προδοσίας ανάμεσα στο αρχέγονο πάθος -μίσος, αρσενικού - θηλυκού. "Και ο Σατανάς ηττήθηκε. Όμως δεν περιορίστηκε η λαμπρή σταδιοδρομία του". "Επικίνδυνες σχέσεις" το επιστολογραφικό μυθιστόρημα του Λακλό που αποτελείται απο την ύλη μιας ανθρώπινης εμπειρίας, με πολλά μυστικά κρυμμένα ανάμεσα στο μυθολογικό και το ψυχολογικό στοιχείο του έργου. Είναι η ύλη απέναντι στο μύθο,χωρίς ρητορική ή αισθηματική τακτική. Πρόκειται για ανταλλαγή επιστολών ανάμεσα σε μια ομάδα ανθρώπων της αριστοκρατικής τάξης. Τα πρόσωπα που αλληλογραφούν σχεδόν στερούνται φυσικής οντότητας,υπάρχουν σαν μυθικά πρόσωπα που κατευθύνονται απο τον συγγραφέα. Ο Λακλό κυριαρχεί στα πρόσωπα αυτά και τα απομακρύνει απο το ψέμα του ύφους της εποχής του. Με αυτό τον τροπο η ψυχολογία τους συνδέεται με τον καταναγκασμό και τον ερωτισμό ενός σκοτεινού ηθικολογικού κακού με βαθιές ρίζες. Η δομή του βιβλίου έγκειται στην ταυτόχρονη αφήγηση τριών ιστοριών με πολλές άλλες συνυφασμένες. Τρεις κεντρικές γυναικείες φιγούρες του βιβλίου: η Τουρβέλ,η Μερτέιγ και η Καικιλία. Τα σημαντικότερα πρόσωπα είναι η Μαρκησία ντε Μερτέιγ κι ο υποκόμης ντε Βαλμόν. Πρώην εραστές έκλυτου βίου,ανηθικότητας και φαυλότητας. Είναι και οι δυο κυνικοί,αμοραλιστές, ψύχραιμοι ανατόμοι των διαπροσωπικών σχέσεων και ορθολογιστικοί παρατηρητές των ερωτικών παθών. Προσπαθούν μέσα απο ένα επικίνδυνο και θανάσιμα προκλητικό παιχνίδι να αποπλανήσουν,να εξαπατήσουν και να διαφθείρουν τα αθώα θύματα τους προς τέρψιν προσωπικών μνησίκακων ενστίκτων. Μέσα σε αυτή την ίντριγκα παθών και λαθών οι δυο εραστές επικοινωνούν συνεχώς μέσω επιστολών καταστρώνοντας το διεστραμμένο σχέδιο τους. Το επιστολογραφικό μυθιστόρημα έχει διπλή σημασία για τον αναγνώστη. Αφενώς,σε πρώτο πλάνο παρουσιάζεται η αριστοκρατική συμπεριφορά της εποχής μέσα στα σαλόνια όπου τα πάντα κρίνονται απο την καλή φήμη και τους ευγενικούς τρόπους. Αφετέρου,σε δεύτερο πλάνο μέσω της ανταλλαγής προσωπικών επιστολών αποκαλύπτεται η αλήθεια. Στα γραπτά τους κείμενα εκφράζονται χωρίς τυπικότητες και ενδοιασμούς. Η ευπρέπεια και η πνευματική καλλιέργεια της ανώτερης τάξης καταρρίπτεται και ανακαλύπτουμε το πραγματικό πρόσωπο των ευπρεπών,εύπορων αριστοκρατών. Μέσα απο τις επιστολές τους δίνεται το βαθύ νόημα του έργου αφού τα πορτρέτα των ευγενών ξεσκεπάζονται όταν απουσιάζει ο φόβος της κοινωνικής κατακραυγής. Το αξιοθαύμαστο και πρωτότυπο αυτό δημιούργημα μας οδηγεί στο συμπέρασμα πως είναι μάταιο και περιττό να αναζητήσουμε το νόημα μέσα απο το δράμα που εκτυλίσσεται. Μας δίνει το νόημα η ίδια του η ύπαρξη επειδή ουσιαστικά αρχίζει η ιστορία της ζωής εκεί που στην πραγματικότητα τελειώνει η πλοκή και η αφήγηση. Μια ψεύτικη λογοτεχνική αλήθεια... Καλή ανάγνωση!! Πολλούς ασπασμούς!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Oh the painful brilliance of these letters! Someone recently said to me that it is sad that people have stopped writing old-fashioned letters, being so much more personal and private than the frequently impolite, monosyllabic insults people tend to spit out on Twitter, Facebook and in various comment threads on the internet. I agreed, but continued to think about it, and all of a sudden, this epistolary novel came to my mind in all its passionate evil power. Choderlos de Laclos certainly is a perf Oh the painful brilliance of these letters! Someone recently said to me that it is sad that people have stopped writing old-fashioned letters, being so much more personal and private than the frequently impolite, monosyllabic insults people tend to spit out on Twitter, Facebook and in various comment threads on the internet. I agreed, but continued to think about it, and all of a sudden, this epistolary novel came to my mind in all its passionate evil power. Choderlos de Laclos certainly is a perfect example of the "good old times" that were not really better, and that featured the same hateful, jealous, treacherous, spiteful characters, happy to engage in intrigues and dangerous games with high stakes, always exposed to the threat of publication of (written) evidence. Sex and power, twisted love and betrayal: those ingredients make up the plot of this exquisite, polyphonic selection of letters written between various protagonists, playing a game of seduction with each other in different formations. In the end, they all pay the price for their game. There is one letter especially that reminds me of what teenagers thoughtlessly do today: copying, spreading or retweeting evil comments without thinking of the consequences until they feel the effects like a boomerang coming back full speed. The evil, jealous Marquise de Merteuil challenges her lover, the Vicomte de Valmont, to break up with a virtuous lady he has seduced as part of a cruel entertainment. She writes the most horrible, yet eloquent letter imaginable, and the Vicomte copies it word for word and passes it on to Madame de Tourvel, the victim of the intrigue. As expected by the Marquise, this breaks the tender woman. It has another victim as well, however. The Vicomte realises that he has grown to love the lady he played with, and regrets his own cruelty when it is too late. And this sets in motion a disastrous chain of events leading to the spreading of all letters relating to the scandalous behaviour of these representatives of the highest social layers in French society. If you play in the highest league of society, every secret you share is a potential liability, and that is just as true now as it was in the 18th century. The famous letter in question repeats the typical excuse you will hear whenever a person in power behaves badly: "Ce n'est pas ma faute!" Don't blame me! I just reacted to my instincts and needs. Don't blame me! But Choderlos de Laclos remains a classical author in one respect: he is careful to let poetical justice prevail in the end! None of the evil players of games is let off the hook. Once publicly exposed in their evil plotting, the main characters are punished. The ominous letter is well worth reading in its entirety. It contains all ingredients of a brutal public dumping of a faithful, caring lover, - out of boredom and satiation. Rarely has copy and paste cruelty been expressed in more beautiful language: "On s'ennuie de tout, mon ange, c'est une loi de la nature; ce n'est pas ma faute. Si donc, je m'ennuie aujourd'hui d'une aventure qui m'a occupé entièrement depuis quatre mortels mois, ce n'est pas ma faute. Si, par exemple, j'ai eu juste autant d'amour que toi de vertu, et c'est surement beaucoup dire, il n'est pas étonnant que l'un ait fini en même temps que l'autre. Ce n'est pas ma faute. Il suit de là, que depuis quelque temps je t'ai trompée: mais aussi ton impitoyable tendresse m'y forçait en quelque sorte! Ce n'est pas ma faute. Aujourd'hui, une femme que j'aime éperdument exige que je te sacrifie. Ce n'est pas ma faute. Je sens bien que voilà une belle occasion de crier au parjure: mais si la Nature n'a accordé aux hommes que la constance, tandis qu'elle donnait aux femmes l'obstination, ce n'est pas ma faute. Crois-moi, choisis un autre amant, comme j'ai fait une maîtresse. Ce conseil est bon, très bon; si tu le trouve mauvais, ce n'est pas ma faute. Adieu, mon ange, je t'ai prise avec plaisir, je te quitte sans regrets: je te reviendrai peut-être. Ainsi va le monde. Ce n'est pas ma faute." Oh the brilliance! Humanity is equally cruel nowadays, but what on earth happened to eloquence?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    By the second letter, the film "Cruel Intentions" bloomed in my mind. I never even bothered to learn where that movie was adapted from. Now, I'm quite happy to have come upon this book ( I just love the "Surprise Yourself" stack at my library). I was intimidated at first, but after a few pages, I was hooked. This is deliciously devious and entertaining! On the surface, reading "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" is no more difficult than following a very long Facebook conversation thread (even better if By the second letter, the film "Cruel Intentions" bloomed in my mind. I never even bothered to learn where that movie was adapted from. Now, I'm quite happy to have come upon this book ( I just love the "Surprise Yourself" stack at my library). I was intimidated at first, but after a few pages, I was hooked. This is deliciously devious and entertaining! On the surface, reading "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" is no more difficult than following a very long Facebook conversation thread (even better if you have scandalous friends... not that I have any). If this novel is an accurate picture of the French aristocratic class of the time, it's easy to see why revolution was brewing among the peasants and working classes. There are no happy endings here, except maybe for me. I'm quite satisfied that the characters got what they deserved.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Letter 94. Viscomte de Rayner to the Goodreads Community This morning, I thought of M. de Laclos's charming novel for the first time in years, when an interfering busybody saw fit to edit my Quiz question about it. I was forced to spend an hour checking the text, so that I could thoroughly refute her misconceptions about Cécile's role in the story, and I trust I shall hear no more from the vile creature. But, none the less, I am grateful to her, since she reminded me that I should read it in the Letter 94. Viscomte de Rayner to the Goodreads Community This morning, I thought of M. de Laclos's charming novel for the first time in years, when an interfering busybody saw fit to edit my Quiz question about it. I was forced to spend an hour checking the text, so that I could thoroughly refute her misconceptions about Cécile's role in the story, and I trust I shall hear no more from the vile creature. But, none the less, I am grateful to her, since she reminded me that I should read it in the original French. I fail to understand how I can have postponed this pleasant task so long. The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    Definitely the best epistolary book I have ever read and probably one of the best novels displaying the double morale in the eighteenth century Paris. Monsieur de Laclos masters the style, creating two hero-villain characters whom, although monsters without scruples, one can't help to admire. They are playful, amusing, witty and skillful in the art of deception. They are also vain, prideful creatures who seek their own pleasure without caring for the outcome of their poor victims. Marquise de Mert Definitely the best epistolary book I have ever read and probably one of the best novels displaying the double morale in the eighteenth century Paris. Monsieur de Laclos masters the style, creating two hero-villain characters whom, although monsters without scruples, one can't help to admire. They are playful, amusing, witty and skillful in the art of deception. They are also vain, prideful creatures who seek their own pleasure without caring for the outcome of their poor victims. Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont are incredibly wealthy and bored to death . So they play dangerous games for entertainment, imposing challenges to each other, seducing young virgins, making adulteress out of prude virtuous women, taking revenge of formers lovers ruining their reputation... and they succeed in doing all the mischief they want without being discovered. What's more, they are honourable and well received in society! Imagine their mirth when they accomplish every evil scheme they propose while they become their victims' only friends and saviours. But apart from the elaborated style and the amusing display of strategic tactics which thread the story, one can't miss the allusion to the thin line of what's morally right or wrong. Is "what is socially accepted" the true and only way? Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont are not exemplary models of sincerity or frankness, but they challenge the imposed rules somehow, they outwit hypocrisy, the problem is that they only do it to achieve personal gratification, corrupting their souls and everyone who dares to trust in them. In my opinion, it's incredible that a novel written more than 180 years ago, might still stir deep emotions in those who can invest a moment of their time to think about the possible reasons that led a man like M. de Laclos to write this controversial story. Don't take this novel only as a mere diversion, it's much more than that. It's about recognising that each of us has some of the Vicomte or of the Marquise in us, we are all vain and proud and think ourselves superior to the rest. That's why I value this work, because it reminds us of what wretched and capricious creatures we humans can become.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    One of my all time favourite books, Les Liaisons dangereuses is a tour de force written entirely in letters. It is the only literature that nobleman Laclos every wrote but he hit a grand slam with this one. Intrigue, sex, betrayal - it is a gripping story told in the margins between the written word and the gaps between the letters. Hard to describe without spoiling the pleasure of potential readers, suffice it to say that the movie (as awesome as Uma and Close and Malkovich were in the 1988 fil One of my all time favourite books, Les Liaisons dangereuses is a tour de force written entirely in letters. It is the only literature that nobleman Laclos every wrote but he hit a grand slam with this one. Intrigue, sex, betrayal - it is a gripping story told in the margins between the written word and the gaps between the letters. Hard to describe without spoiling the pleasure of potential readers, suffice it to say that the movie (as awesome as Uma and Close and Malkovich were in the 1988 film version) is not even close to as exciting and gripping as the original.

  9. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    When you rate a book, do you consider the introduction (written by a different person), appendices, blurbs and entries in Wikipedia? I mean do you consider the historical background of the story? the life story of the author? it's impact to whatever since its first publication? Or you ignore all of them and just rate the story as if you do not know anything about those? Two schools of thought. I know some people just read and then rate the story only. I know some who read not only the whole book When you rate a book, do you consider the introduction (written by a different person), appendices, blurbs and entries in Wikipedia? I mean do you consider the historical background of the story? the life story of the author? it's impact to whatever since its first publication? Or you ignore all of them and just rate the story as if you do not know anything about those? Two schools of thought. I know some people just read and then rate the story only. I know some who read not only the whole book but everything interesting about it aside from what is provided in their book's edition. I belong to the second one and this is one of the reasons why I like historical, biographical or biblical fictions. That is also the reason why I am giving this book, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Choderlos de Laclos (first published as a book in 1782), a 4-star rating (I really liked it). There is almost* nothing to like about the story if you read it from the perspective of a 21st century reader. The despicable, cunning, conniving, wicked, inutile, gullible characters are definitely not new to any of us, regular fiction readers. We all know those from the myriad of characters in novels and other forms of literature. The epistolary form of storytelling is not new to me too. Think 84, Charing Cross Road or Clarissa. A novel originally written in beautiful language like French is common now. But check this novel's history: 1) Laclos (1741-1803)wrote this to depict the corrupt and squalid nobility of Ancien Regime (the life of the royalty, kings, queens and their court members and aristocrats before the French Revolution (1789-1799). 2) Laclos was a military man and this was his only famous (never out of print since it was first published and has been translated into several languages) novel. 3) Laclos wrote this while there was an on-going war and he was allowed to spend time writing this instead of manning his post as a general. 4) Prior to writing this novel, Laclos had "planned" to come up with a work "that departs from ordinary, creates a lot of noise, and will remain on earth even after his death." This book obviously achieved all those for him. For more than 2 centuries, people are still reading this book and not few have this in their top 10 favorite novels. Check Top 10 Novels by your favorite authors here. For example, Emma Donoghue listed this book as her no. 7 among her Top 10. * - I said almost because I liked and enjoyed the following: A) The poetic even though lengthy way the characters express themselves in the letters. I think the fact that it was originally written in French, which I have no knowledge of, affected the prose now that it is in English. It is flowery and vague at times but I find it strangely different, thus interesting, compared the standard style of our contemporary novelists. B) The cunning and despicable characters are so dubious and evil that I was full of hatred while reading. Reminded me of the libertines in Marquise de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom. Now that I know that the authors', i.e., De Sade and now Laclos, only intention was to show the excesses of the royal people, then I already know that there is nothing to react violently on. C) The imagination of De Laclos and the way he interwove the lives of the characters were just awesome. The changing of the hearts, the treachery, the turning of the tables, e.g., those wicked characters either died or disappeared in the end, just got me hooked and pushed me to finish reading all the 175 long letters. I just feel happy having read this book. Now I just don't rely my knowledge of this work on the two movie adaptations. I have read the real stuff and not many of readers nowadays have the patience to read and appreciate a classic though archaic work like this. Thank you to my reading buddy Regine for not giving up on me and Laclos. I have to admit that I thought of dropping this book when we were halfway but she said that she would go on and so I just continued. I am happy I did. :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marquise

    Come back, my dear Vicomte, come back. Thus starts this tale of deceit and corruption through seduction, with a summons from the Marquise de Merteuil to her confidante and former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont. Unknown to Madame la Marquise, this seemingly innocuous petition will set the snowball in a downwards motion, because M. le Vicomte is at present visiting his aunt, where he’ll meet and become half-obsessed and half-enamoured with the virtuous and too melodramatic and hand-wringing Prési Come back, my dear Vicomte, come back. Thus starts this tale of deceit and corruption through seduction, with a summons from the Marquise de Merteuil to her confidante and former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont. Unknown to Madame la Marquise, this seemingly innocuous petition will set the snowball in a downwards motion, because M. le Vicomte is at present visiting his aunt, where he’ll meet and become half-obsessed and half-enamoured with the virtuous and too melodramatic and hand-wringing Présidente de Tourvel, a beautiful married woman he wants to seduce, but who resists him. Valmont decides to not hurry up back to Paris as his former mistress wishes, and decides to share his devious plans for Madame de Tourvel with her by letter. Unamused, the Marquise throws in a challenge, daring him to give sound proof of his success in seducing the devout woman, which seems doubtful according to her. Pricked in his vanity, Valmont accepts the dare and makes use of all his tricks to get into the Présidente's good graces, going so far as faking piousness. To no avail, because the woman is keeping correspondence with another lady that’s aware of Valmont’s ill reputation as one of the biggest rakes to afflict France, and her warnings have made her moderately wary of him. But not so wary enough that she doesn’t take enough precautions and little by little her resistance is eroded. Valmont, not to be trifled with, revenges himself on the gossipy confidante of Tourvel’s by agreeing to Merteuil’s proposal to seduce la petite Volanges, her daughter, which the Marchioness hopes to corrupt and convert into another woman like herself, a seductress. On her part, she also undertakes the seduction of Danceny, the man she loves and that loves the girl in return. It’s a complicated love “quadrangle” that can be dizzying: Valmont wants de Tourvel who loves Valmont who lusts for Merteuil who lusts for Danceny who lusts for Cécile who lusts for Valmont… But in this apparent tangle, there are only two players, the Queen de Merteuil and the King de Valmont, everybody else is a pawn. And as pawns, they are moved across the chessboard and sacrificed on the players’ whim, with dire consequences for everyone. Everyone is punished in this story in one way or another. I can see why the preferred character could be Valmont, in all his rakish glory. But to me, the most interesting character has always been the Marquise de Merteuil since I first saw the film and read the book after, and on this reread, she’s still the most compelling. Female villains are thin on the ground, and female villains who are brilliant and on par with or superior to their male counterparts or allies are scarcer. Both she and Valmont are self-centred and often heartless, uninterested in anything but their pleasure and the amusement of their games and outwitting everyone for entertainment, regardless of who they may hurt. But in some ways, she’s better than Valmont, certainly brighter and a more masterful player, and she has no illusions about human nature nor any desire to delude herself about deep emotions, like love, as Valmont does. And, I am sure this will raise eyebrows, I find her actually more sympathetic than Valmont. Yes, she’s not supposed to incite any sympathies, as the cruel woman she truly is. But here’s the thing: much of her acts are dictated by her womanhood. Both she and Valmont are equally cruel, equally decadent, equal libertines, equally in love with themselves, they share the same principles and ideas, the same cynicism, etc. And yet, only Merteuil is forced to be a hypocrite in addition to all that, only she has to feign to be caring and virtuous, only she has to worry about her reputation and defend her virtue, only she has to put up with the old matrons for the sake of her social standing. You know why? Because she’s a woman, and a woman cannot be allowed to be a libertine and to enjoy sex and dalliances like a man. Just look at Valmont. Everyone knows he’s a seducer, both men and women know he’s perpetually going after bedsport, he doesn’t have to hide it and pretend, and although the high society may be divided amongst those who want to taste him and those who want to dump him in a lake, he isn’t shunned by society, he’s received at the homes of the nobility, even at the home of people who despise him due to his rogue ways, like Madame de Volanges. Why? Because he’s a man, he’s noble, he has money. In the words of Madame de Volanges, she cannot afford to show him the door. A man can sleep round all he wants, and he won’t be condemned. Au contraire, the rakish reputation may even give him an air of enticing danger and “forbidden fruit” in the eyes of the ladies. Indeed, the only difference between Merteuil and Valmont is their genre. She has to be a hypocrite in order to enjoy life as she wants, she has to bow down to social norms imposed on women and manoeuvre within these restrictions, or lose all. She plays a game of deception on three fronts: before the women, before the men who want to seduce and use her and before the men she wants to use and seduce. Valmont doesn’t even have to bother. The author has him state this fact in a letter to the Marquise: Whereas you, wielding skilfully the weapons of your sex, triumph by subtlety, I, rendering his imprescriptible rights to man, subjugated by authority. That’s the touch of tragedy for Merteuil. She’s truly intelligent, more so than the average man, and certainly more observant and a keener connoisseur of human nature, its foibles and the subtlety of emotions than Valmont. She self-educated alone, studied on her own and perfected her art on her own thanks only to her bright mind, curiosity, and powers of observation, and it’s a real waste that she had to focus her brilliance on evil when such a mind could’ve been put to better use. Boredom, combined with her desire to enjoy her dissolute ways and not be subjugated to any man—she never remarried for that reason—leads her to become as she is. And, although both she and Valmont are duly given their just deserts in the end, one cannot shake off the uncomfortable feeling that the Marquise was punished extra as happens with women who dare colour outside the lines. Valmont can find some “redemption” of sorts by his last-breath deeds, but she’s utterly destroyed in life in a way that targets her womanly weapons specifically, her beauty for one. And when the scandal explodes on her letters becoming known, she’s reviled for ruining a man that had been betting on sleeping with her to ruin her reputation socially, who's promptly reinstated to his former post and even applauded publicly for that. She's the one vilified more than Valmont, who’s as guilty and in some ways even more as it was him who insisted in the course that ultimately had fatal consequences, against the Marquise’s warnings, because of his vanity. It’s she who first says they should part ways once she realises Tourvel has enslaved him, because “two sharpers” cannot win and have to divide winnings and part ways amiably, and he doesn’t listen out of pride. To me, she's simply amongst the best villainess-heroines in literature.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rowena

    This is one of the most intriguing classics I’ve read in a long time. At first glance it didn’t seem to me as though a book that consists entirely of series of letters written between various people would be interesting, but this was the 18th Century, when letter-writing among the French aristocracy was obviously an art form so each letter is written in beautiful language with such detail and emotion, each with the unique tone of its author. At the centre of this novel are the main characters, th This is one of the most intriguing classics I’ve read in a long time. At first glance it didn’t seem to me as though a book that consists entirely of series of letters written between various people would be interesting, but this was the 18th Century, when letter-writing among the French aristocracy was obviously an art form so each letter is written in beautiful language with such detail and emotion, each with the unique tone of its author. At the centre of this novel are the main characters, the lothario Vicomte de Valmont, and his former lover the widow Marquise de Merteuil. De Merteuil orders de Valmont to seduce a 15 year old girl, Cecile, who the Marquise’s former lover threw her over for, just for her amusement. At the same time, the Vicomte tries his hand at seducing the prudish married Presidente de Tourvel. To Valmont and de Merteuil, it’s all a game. As de Valmont says regarding de Tourvel, “I shall possess this woman; I shall steal her from the husband who profanes her: I will even dare ravish her from the God whom she adores. What delight, to be in turns the object and the victor of her remorse! Far be it from me to destroy the prejudices which sway her mind! They will add to my happiness and my triumph. Let her believe in virtue, and sacrifice it to me; let the idea of falling terrify her, without preventing her fall; and may she, shaken by a thousand terrors, forget them, vanquish them only in my arms.” Valmont and de Merteuil are depraved, manipulative and very calculating. The amount of detail that they put into their game is truly astounding. Forget Iago, these two are devil incarnates; very Machiavellian. Despite how evil these two are, they are at the same time fascinating. The book did have a Cruel Intentions feel to it but it only makes sense that such a book would provide inspiration to Hollywood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lady Izumi

    I'm amazed, these two principal characters that are the very incarnations of malice have incredibly salient and correct anecdotes about love and the beauty of sex considering they use it to humiliate others. While the woman (Merteuil) is an expert in deciphering and deconstructing human emotions and its repercussions, Valmont is a virtuoso of reading human reactions even in the slightest form of subtle and heavily-attempted hidden gestures; which enables him to translate it to the emotions of hi I'm amazed, these two principal characters that are the very incarnations of malice have incredibly salient and correct anecdotes about love and the beauty of sex considering they use it to humiliate others. While the woman (Merteuil) is an expert in deciphering and deconstructing human emotions and its repercussions, Valmont is a virtuoso of reading human reactions even in the slightest form of subtle and heavily-attempted hidden gestures; which enables him to translate it to the emotions of his hapless victims thereby making him a virtual mind reader that aids him to know what should be his next move. As incrementally subtle and as enormously persuasive he is in the arts of rhetorics and inconspiciously obsequious seductions, he invariably wins their confidence until he met his match in Madame de Tourvel who possesses all the qualities he lacks (virtue) but is most sought after of, for which he will use it to keep her conscious of how depraved her submissions to Valmont are but will still leave her unchecked that she still wouldn't be able to stop herself. Apart from this, Choderlos' work is a reflection of how abusive and oppressive the French aristocracy was, with notable real life examples as Marquis de Sade and the Earl of Rochester. This also gave us a look of how the French monarchy was gradually declining in popularity until such reasons, with the latter as the catalyst, helped in fuelling the revolution. Read it. And anyone else who would who love to see the insights of love and relationships, politics and pragmatism would be very interested to know how we could understand that even the slightest mistakes we so avoid in accomplishing our tasks will only add to the beauty of completing them. Knowing that in life, two factors that are of striking contrast will only enhance the candor and realistic nature of actions, whether in human nature or in words of love, when one professes it to someone personally that incoherency of words will only add to its coherence. Thank you for your time. Salamat po!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I love this book to distraction. Quite literally. It has almost exclusively occupied my every thought ever since I started it, and undoubtedly wins the Book That Has Affected Me The Most in 2015. Simply put, it is wonderfully twisty, delightfully witty and shockingly scandalous. It will make you laugh, sigh, wonder, exclaim, and, if you're anything like me, hold you under its spell for a long time. Set in 18th century France before the Revolution and written in epistolary form, Les Liaisons dang I love this book to distraction. Quite literally. It has almost exclusively occupied my every thought ever since I started it, and undoubtedly wins the Book That Has Affected Me The Most in 2015. Simply put, it is wonderfully twisty, delightfully witty and shockingly scandalous. It will make you laugh, sigh, wonder, exclaim, and, if you're anything like me, hold you under its spell for a long time. Set in 18th century France before the Revolution and written in epistolary form, Les Liaisons dangereuses is an epic tale of seduction, deceit, love and revenge, as well as an excellent portrait of the moral corruption of the time. Although written over 200 years ago and aimed at mirroring the society's ugly reflection, it was fascinating to see all the parallels that can be made with our society today. We live our lives so differently that it almost seems as though we were not of the same planet, yet the basic principles and fatal human tendencies portrayed in the story are as much true and applicable today as they were in the 18th century. The novel centers around two very bored, very jaded, very wicked French aristocrats, the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, former lovers, but forever accomplices, best friends and confidantes, who have nothing better to do with their time and intelligence than scheme and manipulate others for their own amusement. Masterminds of the first order, they read, decipher and interpret human ways to such a degree that, for all their outrageous depravity, one can't help but admire them. Any villainous project they have in mind is sure not only to succeed at the complete detriment of others and in the utter ruination of their victim for their own benefit, but to be undertaken in such a way as to make them look like veritable heroes and the sole friends and saviours of their innocent victims. Seriously, the way they work is so mind-bogglingly amazing that I had to put my book down several times to assimilate all the glory of what had just happened. Vicious and evil to the core, the Marquise and the Vicomte are truly dangerous, and the best villains I have encountered so far in any book. "En vérité, plus je vais et plus je suis tenté de croire qu'il n'y a que vous et moi dans le monde, qui valions quelque chose." Personally, I have found that of the two, Merteuil has more worth than Valmont, if for the sole fact that she is female and he is male, and therefore must work twice as hard to hide her game and maintain a spotless image. While the Vicomte is publicly recognized as a dissolute and nefarious rake yet still accepted and received in society, Mme la Marquise cannot and does not have that luxury, and although she is as reprobate as he is, she has successfully maintained a wise and righteous façade and reigns as the Toast of all Paris. Completely ahead of her time, she refuses to mould herself to the social norms, and becomes her own creation. Seriously, that woman is incredible, and I find her endlessly fascinating. I could expand about her all day long, but instead I will simply direct you to Marquise's review, where she explains everything perfectly. When Merteuil learns that Mlle Cécile de Volanges is to be married to a former lover who'd cheated on her, she decides to revenge herself on him by deciding to pervert Cécile before her marriage. She enlists the help of the Vicomte, but that one has decided that first and foremost, he must seduce the virtuous Présidente de Tourvel... Here is an inkling of what the book is like, in classic Anne style*: Letter 1 La Marquise de Merteuil au Vicomte de Valmont My dearest Vicomte!! At last, I have found something to alleviate my boredom! LET'S PERVERT A PERFECTLY INNOCENT GIRL! It'll be soooo much fun for us both; you get to enjoy her, and I get to laugh incessantly as I think about her husband finding out that she's unchaste. What do you say??! Isn't it brilliant!? It'll be way better than being shut up in the country with nothing whatsoever to do! Letter 2 Le Vicomte de Valmont à la Marquise de Merteuil Hello my lovely, you are mistaken dearest, I am having the time of my life in the country, because I have found a project that's EVEN MORE brilliant than yours! I am going to seduce l'Austère Dévote Mme de Tourvel. It's going to be awesome!! I will have the unequalled pleasure of seeing her betray everything she believes FOR ME. SHE WILL FALL MADLY IN LOVE WITH ME, AND BEG FOR ME, AND I WILL POSSESS HER!! Letter 3 La Marquise de Merteuil au Vicomte de Valmont You cannot be serious, Vicomte! My project is way more awesome! But fine, if it amuses you, go for it, and bring me back the proof that she gave herself up completely to you. Then, you and me can get some action going ;) Letter 4 Mme de Volanges à la Présidente de Tourvel Dearest!!! What is this I hear! You are staying at Mme de Rosemonde's with le Vicomte de Valmont??! BEWARE, OH BEWARE MY POOR DEAR! Valmont it a MONSTER OF THE WORST KIND! Don't say I didn't warn you! Letter 5 Le Vicomte de Valmont à la Marquise de Merteuil Hey! Some b*tch has been talking shit about me to Mme de Tourvel, and now she doesn't want to speak to me! Darn it, I didn't need that. But I shall find a way, hahahaha!!! Letter 6 Le Chevalier Danceny à Cécile Volanges CÉCILE!! OH MA TRÈS JOLIE CÉCILE!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I CAN'T BEAR IT ANYMORE!! WRITE TO ME! CONSOLE ME! COMFORT ME! Letter 7 Cécile Volanges à la Marquise de Merteuil Dearest friend who loves me so much and who only wants my best, do you think it's okay if I do write to Danceny? I don't want to do anything wrong, but I do so want to write to him and not see him being miserable because of me! Letter 8 La Marquise de Merteuil à Cécile Volanges Mais bien sûr chérie, write to him and tell him you love him :) You have my blessing!! Letter 9 La Marquise de Merteuil à Mme Volanges You better watch your daughter my dear, she and Danceny are engaged in a liaison dangereuse!!!! Thought you should know they've been writing letters to each other! Letter 10 Le Vicomte de Valmont à la Présidente de Tourvel I CANNOT KEEP IT IN ANY LONGER, ooooh I love you SO much madame! I beg of you, alleviate my suffering! Tell me you love me too! Don't make me unhappy! Letter 11 La Marquise de Merteuil au Vicomte de Valmont Soooo...any success yet? When are you coming back? Are you dead? Why don't you reply? That Présidente must be something indeed, but make a move already, and get back here!! Letter 12 Le Vicomte de Valmont à la Marquise de Merteuil J'aime les lenteurs, ok? Let me work, and don't worry. The Devoted Prude cannot resist me much longer. Who could? I am so irresistible. Hey don't forget you have promised to sleep with me when I get back ;) ;) Letter 13 La Présidente de Tourvel au Vicomte de Valmont Just WHAT on earth ARE you talking about??! LOVE ME??? I cannot love you back, and you know that! Don't even try! Don't torment me! I can be your friend though :) Letter 14 La Présidente de Tourvel à Madame de Volanges Oh my God, I am being harassed by Valmont! You were right, he truly is horrible! He won't leave me alone!! Letter 15 Madame de Volanges à la Présidente de Tourvel Que vous avais-je dis??! IGNORE THE STALKERS!!! I told you he was top-of-the-top dangerous! Tell him to go away already! Don't stay there with him, everybody will think you are being compromised. Letter 16 Le Vicomte de Valmont à la Marquise de Merteuil WOOO! I am getting me some Présidente, FOR SURE THIS TIME!! Tomorrow I am SURE she will consent!! Wee, weeeeee!! Don't forget that you promised to sleep with me when I get back ;) DON'T FORGET! Letter 17 Le Vicomte de Valmont à la Marquise de Merteuil OH MY GOD, SHE IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!! SHE LEFT, SHE HAS DESERTED ME!! Letter 18 La Marquise de Merteuil au Vicomte de Valmont Hahahaha!! Ohhhh Vicomte, je vous aime à la folie! You are so cute! :P What fools men are! Honestly, I have to manage everything if I want it to be done right. When you bungle folly after folly, you come running back to me each time, and I'm always the one who has to take you out of scrapes. En vérité, c'est bien trop drôle! I was definitely born to dominate your sex and avenge my own. *** At first, I found myself incredibly amused by the wickedly witty letters exchanged between the Vicomte and the Marquise. In truth, the only times they were completely honest and true to themselves were by writing to each other. They are heinous, to be sure, and their behaviour is despicable, but it was so engrossing to follow their progress and to be surprised by all the twists and turns that ensued. Valmont made me laugh out loud several times with the tactics he employed with Mme de Tourvel, and Merteuil was simply glorious in her expert manipulation and toying of everyone's confidences and affections. And for all their evilness, those two really and truly comprehended human nature and, when taken out of context, wrote some truly beautiful passages on love, character and relationships. It really showed how well they understood everything, and only rendered it more afflicting that they should use their talents to torment others. As the story progresses and the plot thickens, I became more and more shocked at their audacity, and in the end, one cannot but feel that they well and truly deserved the terrible endings they suffered. Typically, I try to avoid books with unhappy and tragic endings. I'm a rainbows-and-sunshine type of girl who delights in happily-ever-afters and evil villains redeemed, but as Les Liaisons dangereuses is not a fluffy historical romance where all's well that ends well, the ending, I must admit, greatly affected me and left me more than a little distressed. Somehow having the two leads unmasked and their perfidy revealed made me doubly realize just how vile and rotten they were, and their antics, previously captivating and delectable in all their perverted glory, now seen through the eyes of the victims have lost much of their charm, and are seen in their rightful disgust and contempt. Such is the power of this book, that you love the villains but agree they deserve the ending they get, and their true nature revealed and all the consequences it encompasses leaves you torn between your previous admiration of their wicked minds, and your newly-found realization of the disgust of their behaviour. This is a book that messes with you, I warn you! Or maybe it's just me being overly sensitive and dramatic, that's a huge possibility too ;) Now, I am in awesome-book-is-over-I-can't-stop-thinking-about-it mode, where I go about my daily functions like a robot, not seeing, hearing, or understanding anything save what has to do with Les Liaisons. Such a wonderful state, yet one you can't wait to get over, right? Definitely one of my top favourite books of all time! *To be taken incredibly lightly, and with a heavy dose of salt, but I assure you that in this case, I haven't exaggerated the melodrama and woeful expressions. In fact, it's even worse in the book! ;)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yann

    C'est vraiment très bon! Illustrations par Georges Barbier (merci Book Portrait!) (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] http://book-graphics.blogspot.fr/2013...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Chronology Introduction Further Reading Translator's Note --Dangerous Liaisons Appendix 1: Additional Letters Appendix 2: Selected Adaptations of 'Dangerous Liaisons' Notes

  16. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    If I were the sort of boner who ran a creative writing night class I might level that grievous accusation at this Gallic favourite—how it “tells” everything and doesn’t “show.” And if you were a frightfully witty sort, you may reply: “Duh. It’s written in letters.” And such a Daria-strength comeback would be entirely appropriate: this is an epistolary novel where effusive aristocrats compose long-winded letters about their schemes and feelings and dire circumstances, with little for the reader t If I were the sort of boner who ran a creative writing night class I might level that grievous accusation at this Gallic favourite—how it “tells” everything and doesn’t “show.” And if you were a frightfully witty sort, you may reply: “Duh. It’s written in letters.” And such a Daria-strength comeback would be entirely appropriate: this is an epistolary novel where effusive aristocrats compose long-winded letters about their schemes and feelings and dire circumstances, with little for the reader to cling to except the inevitable moral corruptions as promised in the blurb and the flashy period prose. I slightly recoil. The epistolary form is so frightfully dull. Regardless how many naïve virgins may lose their maidenhead to unscrupulous bounders. This stream of melodramatic back-and-forth plot-explaining missives lacked any real narrative drive for me, as bitchily funny as the two corrupt lovers were on occasion. I got enough from 100pp or so. Enough for me. You don’t need to finish everything you read, right? I mean I don’t get all obsessive about these things. (Er . . . much). And I suppose you won’t ever catch me reading the unabridged Clarissa (according to this novel’s preface the characters in Clarissa would have to have spent eight hours per day composing their letters for the timeframe to work). Yowza. Cheeses. Wow-wee. Etcetera. By the way the movie version of this is terrific, featuring the hammy delights of a youngish John Malkovich and the nubile breasts of a younger Uma Thurman. Perfick.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sketchbook

    Only a country like France, which takes sex seriously with a smile, as Britain does snobbery with a snoot, could produce this ironic novel. (Laclos withdrew following his unsettling classic of sexual manners, 1782). Valmont-Merteuil reign high on my list of literary favs. Overbred, overindulged, the ex-lovers become sexual conspirators after tossing other partners. Sex for them is an intrigue of shared espionage. Urbane, amusing, they strike a cynical assault on society. The psychological rewards ar Only a country like France, which takes sex seriously with a smile, as Britain does snobbery with a snoot, could produce this ironic novel. (Laclos withdrew following his unsettling classic of sexual manners, 1782). Valmont-Merteuil reign high on my list of literary favs. Overbred, overindulged, the ex-lovers become sexual conspirators after tossing other partners. Sex for them is an intrigue of shared espionage. Urbane, amusing, they strike a cynical assault on society. The psychological rewards are as great as the dramatic ones. Virtue, like sincerity, is never enough. Sex expert Roger Vadim made the only film version worth seeing, 1959, starring Moreau- Philipe. Malicious pleasure and physical pleasure, as Laclos realized, bunch edgy, amorous tangles. Forget Love.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    What a deliciously wicked story. This dramatisation from the cast of the Donmar production is worth listening to for Janet McTeer alone. Her Marquise de Merteuil was incredible. Sensual, scathing, scandalous. If you are new to Laclos, this is a great place to start. I read an English translation many years ago and loved it, but this version brought it to life for me. It has left me wanting to read the original, and i'll be purchasing it after finishing the review (yes, i'm THAT enthused). It seems What a deliciously wicked story. This dramatisation from the cast of the Donmar production is worth listening to for Janet McTeer alone. Her Marquise de Merteuil was incredible. Sensual, scathing, scandalous. If you are new to Laclos, this is a great place to start. I read an English translation many years ago and loved it, but this version brought it to life for me. It has left me wanting to read the original, and i'll be purchasing it after finishing the review (yes, i'm THAT enthused). It seems to me that Laclos' work has a real modern relevance. We live in a society in which a person is still judged on their sexual self. Whether that be the sexual preference they claim, how they go about their romantic/sexual lives, or how their sexuality is displayed to others. People still talk of 'conquest' over another, if not always using that specific word, the idea is the same. We have online sites for showcasing clips of sexual acts unknowingly filmed, for revenge porn, for rating the attractiveness and 'easiness' of others. 'Slut' and 'whore' are judgment terms that still have real power. Perhaps the men reading this will correct me if i'm wrong, but I don't think there are words used with the same derision for male behaviour, even 'manwhore' and 'male slut' are not without positive connotations, part of male banter. This has been my experience of male-female heterosexual relations, and I wonder how these themes are played out within the homosexual or trans communities. Without a doubt, external, societal judgment is still evident. For this reason, the most significant character has always been, for me, La Marquise de Merteuil. Valmont, the rake, the seducer, the ruiner of women is a male character so often done, before and since, as to be stereotypical. La Marquise, on the other hand, demands to be his equal, or even better: in manipulation, in deceit, in pursuit of pleasure. She makes precisely this point. His machinations, his successes, are all the more easy because of his gender, and the resulting freedoms it accords him. In any case, I love this format in literature. Private letters dispatched at cross purposes allows for an intriguing and amusing insight into character; what they say to one person and hide from another, virtuous and indignant here, debauched and desirous there. An excellent reflection of the multitude of selves we all hold.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    Oubliez les théories et vos cours de lettres du lycée : j'ai compris le fin mot de la littérature. En fait, un bon livre, c'est comme une bonne paire de chaussures. - Le bon livre, comme la bonne paire de chaussures, est agréable à regarder : il a du style et de jolis couleurs ; on retrouve une atmosphère dans l'entrelacement de ses motifs, et on finit par ne plus pouvoir s'en passer. - Le bon livre, comme la bonne paire de chaussures, ne s'use pas avec le temps : non seulement c'était formidable Oubliez les théories et vos cours de lettres du lycée : j'ai compris le fin mot de la littérature. En fait, un bon livre, c'est comme une bonne paire de chaussures. - Le bon livre, comme la bonne paire de chaussures, est agréable à regarder : il a du style et de jolis couleurs ; on retrouve une atmosphère dans l'entrelacement de ses motifs, et on finit par ne plus pouvoir s'en passer. - Le bon livre, comme la bonne paire de chaussures, ne s'use pas avec le temps : non seulement c'était formidable de le lire une première fois, mais c'est une expérience plus forte à chaque relecture. Bien que connaissant déjà l'intrigue, on ne se lasse pas d'en parcourir les pages. - Le bon livre, comme la bonne paire de chaussures, nous emmène toujours vers de nouveaux horizons : à chaque relecture, vous portez toujours un regard neuf sur les événements. Vous les voyez d'une différente perspective. La relecture vous ouvre de nouveaux horizons, dans une œuvre que vous connaissiez pourtant très bien. Ce dernier argument me fait penser que j'aurais aussi pu comparer le bon livre à un camembert, mais ce sera pour une autre review. Les Liaisons dangereuses, donc : quatrième relecture, toujours magnifique.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Floripiquita

    El libro me gustó mucho en su momento y la película también la recomiendo mucho

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    The 18th century is a tough nut to crack. Its most famous books are boring. It's an explosively smutty era, but even most of the smut isn't that great. But there are a few weird gems that slip through the cracks: the furious Candide; the sensational Monk; and the masterpiece of smut Dangerous Liaisons. Epistolaries were big back then, and LaClos makes better use of letters than anyone since Shakespeare; it'll take Wilkie Collins to match him. The letters are the plot, making this metafiction; the The 18th century is a tough nut to crack. Its most famous books are boring. It's an explosively smutty era, but even most of the smut isn't that great. But there are a few weird gems that slip through the cracks: the furious Candide; the sensational Monk; and the masterpiece of smut Dangerous Liaisons. Epistolaries were big back then, and LaClos makes better use of letters than anyone since Shakespeare; it'll take Wilkie Collins to match him. The letters are the plot, making this metafiction; their content and their incriminating existence shape and drive the action. This is the best advertisement for Snapchat I've ever seen. It's known as an immoral novel, and it was banned almost immediately and permanently, and you could think of it as an anti-Pamela: where those letters were supposed to be a guide to a virtuous life, these are a master class in corruption. The filth is one reason it's fun, but the reason it's great is its terrific character insight. Valmont and, most of all, the inimitable Merteuil are perfectly, subtly, carefully drawn; their (view spoiler)[tragic (hide spoiler)] arcs clearly laid out and never escapable. They say a lot on paper; they say more between the lines. You root for all of them. Even the (view spoiler)[casualties (hide spoiler)] minor characters are fully fleshed out and sympathetic. It's bizarre that LaClos only wrote one book; he seems perfectly in control of every sentence. This is a page-turner, a thriller, a gamechanger, and one of my favorite books. Translation notes: Helen Constantine's recentish one for Penguin got good reviews in my research, and I totally loved it. The voices are distinct; the language is readable without being distractingly modern. The introduction is more or less total bullshit. Adaptations: I just re-watched Cruel Intentions last night and it's still good trashy fun, but it doesn't do a very good job of adapting the book. The biggest problem is Valmont: the movie plays him too sympathetically, and Ryan Philippe is not at all good enough for the role. And it flubs the ending. Sarah Michelle Gellar is adequate. Selma Blair seems to be acting in a different movie - a broad slapstick comedy - but it's entertaining, and Cecile isn't taken very seriously in the book either so that works out fine. Reese Witherspoon is good but her breasts walk away with every scene they're in. That's one of the all-time great cinematic portrayals of breasts. It's been a while since I've seen the 80s Dangerous Liaisons with Glenn Close, Malkovich and Uma Thurman; I remember it being really good but weren't the former two like way, way too old for those roles? Both were around 40.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Dangerous Liaisons (1782) is a novel presented in epistolary form, entirely composed of one hundred and seventy five letters. It should be noted that he shares this particularity with the novel Héloïse by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, another masterpiece of the French novel of the eighteenth century. Libertine, expert in seduction, the Vicomte de Valmont tries to win the love of the resistance of President Tourvel, which sit in love. Only conquest can cure him of a humiliating feeling. The marquee of Me Dangerous Liaisons (1782) is a novel presented in epistolary form, entirely composed of one hundred and seventy five letters. It should be noted that he shares this particularity with the novel Héloïse by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, another masterpiece of the French novel of the eighteenth century. Libertine, expert in seduction, the Vicomte de Valmont tries to win the love of the resistance of President Tourvel, which sit in love. Only conquest can cure him of a humiliating feeling. The marquee of Merteuil, his accomplice, of which he was formerly his mistress, wonders if it will be a revenge for her. Easy operation, given that it is a matter, to avenge him of one of her lovers, to corrupt her young bridegroom, just outside the convent. The deal is made even easier by the fact that Danceny, confident of Valmont, is the object of the love of the young girl, Cécile de Volanges. Thanks to Merteuil's marquee operations, Valmont finds himself in his aunt's castle with the president and young Cécile. Valmont soon has done to make this libertine to his knowledge, without however being to divert it from Danceny. Early, it must abort. He would retreat to a convent and take the candle. It is then for Valmont to carry out his conquest of the president, which he likes. At least delicate business in which the viscount must play with tact, must return the virtue of the president against itself: to save it, must surrender. Ending to do. But Marquise de Merteuil, stung his pride for the feelings that the president awakens in Valmont asks him to break if he wants to benefit from their new favors. The president will not survive this breakup. Disillusioned in his waiting, Valmont breaks with a marquee of Merteuil; the fate changes then of field: marquise reveals the stratagem passed to the Danceny, that kills Valmont in duel. As for the marquise, ruined, disfigured by smallpox, must leave the country. A corrosive novel, which has lost none of its strength, the Dangerous Liaisons is a remarkable work that effectively reflects the spirit of the eighteenth century (de Sade, once the only Rousseau); the end, however, appears neglected and his moralism seems granted by the author to the well-thinking society of the time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    LW

    Les Liaisons dangereuses Il romanzo epistolare di De Laclos è un raffinato e intrigante gioco di verità e finzioni , corruzioni e inganni, molto ben congegnato e assolutamente attuale ! Un sottotitolo potrebbe essere "la lotta ,senza esclusione di colpi , tra i piaceri del vizio e l'onore della virtù " Davvero ben tratteggiati i personaggi nella loro duplicità, una doppiezza che non risparmia nessuno(i virtuosi come i viziosi) che appartiene pure all'onesta ,devota e prudente Presidentessa de Tour Les Liaisons dangereuses Il romanzo epistolare di De Laclos è un raffinato e intrigante gioco di verità e finzioni , corruzioni e inganni, molto ben congegnato e assolutamente attuale ! Un sottotitolo potrebbe essere "la lotta ,senza esclusione di colpi , tra i piaceri del vizio e l'onore della virtù " Davvero ben tratteggiati i personaggi nella loro duplicità, una doppiezza che non risparmia nessuno(i virtuosi come i viziosi) che appartiene pure all'onesta ,devota e prudente Presidentessa de Tourvel, o all'inesperta e ingenua Cécile . Mi ha molto colpito la soave malignità ,il cinismo , l'ironia , l'abilità dialettica e la grande astuzia della Marchesa de Merteuil: donna pericolosa e spericolata nella propria condotta libertina (è suo un messaggio ,efficace e lapidario, che risalta nel fittissimo carteggio- talvolta prolisso ,per eccesso di dettagli- " Ebbene, guerra sia." ) E che dire del fascino perverso del diabolico visconte de Valmont ? Personaggio ambiguo e seduttivo, nella sua spregiudicatezza, nella sua vanità, nella sua arguzia ,con il gusto di sedurre le donne ,con ogni mezzo , non tanto (o non solo) per una smodata bramosia di piacere fisico ,quanto per il desiderio di esercitare un potere assoluto (e sadico) sulle sue conquiste. ps. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-FOu4gj...# scena molto bella , che nel libro non è un dialogo, ma una lettera di sublime e deliziosa... perfidia :) "da un po' di tempo non ti sono più fedele, ma bisogna dire che la tua spietata tenerezza mi ci ha costretto! Non è colpa mia !"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Parthiban Sekar

    An Excellent work on human malice. The protagonist "Marquise de Merteuil" can't be any more wretched and brilliant at the same time. “Marquise De Merteuil: When I came out into society I was 15. I already knew then that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe. Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest to me, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment. I learn An Excellent work on human malice. The protagonist "Marquise de Merteuil" can't be any more wretched and brilliant at the same time. “Marquise De Merteuil: When I came out into society I was 15. I already knew then that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe. Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest to me, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment. I learned how to look cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork onto the back of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit. I consulted the strictest moralists to learn how to appear, philosophers to find out what to think, and novelist to see what I could get away with, and in the end it all came down to one wonderfully simple principle: win or die.” P.S. This is an abridged version written for the film using the original letter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chiara

    Affascinante, intrigante, pervaso da una cattiveria insolita e stravagante. Ha l'indubbio pregio di far apparire un secolo per quello che è: un trionfo della malizia, della perfidia e dell'inganno, tutti nascosti sotto una bella maschera di moralismo, subito stroncato da una penna audace e moderna. E' forse uno dei romanzi epistolari che ho meglio digerito.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fanis

    Τουλαχιστον 5

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    A literary tour-de-force, this book is a magnificent, perverse story of manipulation, seduction, betrayal and deceit. Published a few years before the French Revolution, Laclos allegedly meant it as a slap to the face of the decadent aristocracy, their abuse of position and power, their immoral and depraved conduct and hypocrisy. Told in a clever epistolary format, this is the story of an intrigue instigated by the bored Marquise de Merteuil; a former lover, the Comte de Gercourt is to marry a yo A literary tour-de-force, this book is a magnificent, perverse story of manipulation, seduction, betrayal and deceit. Published a few years before the French Revolution, Laclos allegedly meant it as a slap to the face of the decadent aristocracy, their abuse of position and power, their immoral and depraved conduct and hypocrisy. Told in a clever epistolary format, this is the story of an intrigue instigated by the bored Marquise de Merteuil; a former lover, the Comte de Gercourt is to marry a young and virtuous girl, Cécile Volanges. The Marquise wants to humiliate Gercourt by corrupting his innocent bride-to-be with the help of another former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont - a notorious Casanova. But Valmont has another scheme in mind: he wishes to push a pious married woman, Madame de Tourvel, into betraying her husband by becoming his lover. The Marquise de Merteuil then hatches a plan that would kill two birds with one stone... The two schemers proceed to artfully pull the strings of each other's vanity and ego, and turn their lives into an intricate game of chess where every piece/person is a pawn with the exception of the King and Queen. This is obviously as juicy and convoluted as stories gets, but Laclos' genius lies not in creating the first soap opera: it lies in the brilliance of his characterization. Valmont and Merteuil are cynical, libertine and decadent, but through the numerous letters that weave the story, we come to know them as extremely complex creations. Their correspondance is delightfully twisted and it is a guilty pleasure to read those letters and laugh as they recall the sordid affairs they were both involved with in the past, but this cold and calculating behaviour has its roots in the constraining social structure that they must live in. Their cruel amusements soon looses their edge to become a horrifying symptom of a much deeper an subtler suffering that the one those seducers inflict on others. A mind-blowing passage illustrates that the Marquise de Merteuil - one of the most impressive villains of French literature - fuels her rotten passions with the frustration of being a woman with a man's character and appetites in a man's world. To command the same respect as a man would in her position, while still slacking her lusts, she needs to be much stronger, much more implacable than any man in her situation would have to be… and it pisses her off. She presents a front of kindness and virtue as she distills a stronger venom than any man, who's social position would never be endangered by their libertine daliances. She is by far the most fascinating character of the book. To be honest, I ended up feeling sad for her: being smarter and stronger than the men in the room has never been easy. Neither has the act of perpetually wearing a mask to retain one's position and privileges. And we must remember that the Marquise would not have half the freedom she enjoys had she not been a widow to begin with… Valmont and Cécile are also interesting to examine. The first is a selfish seducer who gets caught at his own game for the first time in his life and who has no defense against something he always considered himself immune to. He is a fiend, but he is also free to live his life as he chooses with very little consequences, and his over-confidence eventually becomes his demise. As for Cécile, she does start out innocent and inexperienced, but the Marquise makes a very astute point in noticing that she has the sort of character that yearns for intrigue and adventure and only needs to be exposed to it to get a taste for it. She doesn't have the capacity to understand what the long-term repercussions of her budding tastes are, which is where this game becomes dangerous for her. It is also interesting to think of the context in which it was written: Laclos was considered almost as scandalous a writer as his contemporary the Marquis de Sade, who wrote books that were openly mocking what he considered to be the naive Rousseau-ist optimism pedeled by the philosophers of the day. He wanted to remind people that human nature is not intrinsically good and generous, that people are as capable of terrible things as they are capable of admirable ones. While Laclos had noble patrons, he scorches them mercilessly, and his satyre seems to have been so successful that queen Marie-Antoinette herself apparently enjoyed the book without ever noting the irony… To the modern reader, morally corrupt characters like those found in these pages are nothing new, but we still live in a world where we can be judged on our sexual history, and a sexist double-standard is still applied; in the age of revenge porn, "Dangerous Liaisons" remains an important, and brilliantly written, story. I admire Laclos for putting this issue at the center of his masterpiece. The movie adaptation starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich is visually stunning and very strong, but it nevertheless pales when compared to the original work. Of course, one must be willing to deal with the slightly archaic turn of phrase and expressions, but the reward of how Laclos made each voice so distinct and their banter so sharp and darkly funny makes up for the slower and more tedious passages. Highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leena

    I wonder, if I had read this book when I was 21 instead of 31, would I have saved myself a good deal of grief concerning relationships? This book masterfully exposes every kind of grief there is. But, I think that like the innocent characters in the book, I wouldn't have understood it at the time. When attempting to navigate love, one always messes up somewhere. Some of us stomp around like... a yeti, lol. While others are deft and cruel. Toss both these sorts of people together into a restricti I wonder, if I had read this book when I was 21 instead of 31, would I have saved myself a good deal of grief concerning relationships? This book masterfully exposes every kind of grief there is. But, I think that like the innocent characters in the book, I wouldn't have understood it at the time. When attempting to navigate love, one always messes up somewhere. Some of us stomp around like... a yeti, lol. While others are deft and cruel. Toss both these sorts of people together into a restrictive society, and voila! Dangerous Liaisons. Frankly, this books does what "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" sets out to do, but with plenty of (oh so true) warnings that make you want to run screaming from such games. Perhaps that's why I liked it so much. The author, Choderlos de Laclos has actually written an essay about the state of women's education. I'd love to read it, but can't find it anywhere. From what I understand, he was pretty harsh on how society kept women in ignorance. Rock on de Laclos.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mikey

    Aside from the fact that Les Liaisons Dangereuses has a tight, efficient plot and well-constructed characters, what's most impressive about it is how well it works as an actual epistolary novel. Instead of Clarissa writing for 18 hours a day, what we have hear are short (1-2 pages, sometimes less) letters, of the length that people might actually write to one another, and multiple correspondences, in order to keep the story fresh and told from multiple perspectives. In addition, the letters beco Aside from the fact that Les Liaisons Dangereuses has a tight, efficient plot and well-constructed characters, what's most impressive about it is how well it works as an actual epistolary novel. Instead of Clarissa writing for 18 hours a day, what we have hear are short (1-2 pages, sometimes less) letters, of the length that people might actually write to one another, and multiple correspondences, in order to keep the story fresh and told from multiple perspectives. In addition, the letters become part of the story itself; letters turn up as pieces of evidence against certain characters, etc. This is the novel that inspired the films Dangerous Liaisons, Valmont, and Cruel Intentions, and it's very bit as saucy and nasty as those movies. Indeed, the dialog (in letter form) is among the most clever you'll ever find in a novel. This is one of my all-time favorites.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Philippe Malzieu

    "Fragonard amoureux" Exhibition at Luxembourg Museum Paris. Everyone knows Fragonard and his gallant paintings. The exhibition is splendid. A firework of pleasure and sensuality. The force of Jean-Honore is that he never was vulgar. No pornography as we can see in others painter's work of this time. All is suggested, in particular with the pillows or thwarts. A remark of the conservative intrigued me. Starting from 1770, Jean-Honore gives up the libertinage as model for inspiration. Happiness is "Fragonard amoureux" Exhibition at Luxembourg Museum Paris. Everyone knows Fragonard and his gallant paintings. The exhibition is splendid. A firework of pleasure and sensuality. The force of Jean-Honore is that he never was vulgar. No pornography as we can see in others painter's work of this time. All is suggested, in particular with the pillows or thwarts. A remark of the conservative intrigued me. Starting from 1770, Jean-Honore gives up the libertinage as model for inspiration. Happiness is in the couple, in the search for harmony in love. The reason? this book. Problem : "Les liaisons" was published in 1782 and Jean-Honoré stop the painting in 1786. In fact, I think that the artists are sensitive to collect the spirit of the time before everyone. The end of the libertinage time was the end of an era. Then I read again this night "Les liaisons...". That give to me another vision of this book. Valmont is the first romantic hero.

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