HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos…
Loading...

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782)

by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,225571,179 (4.1)1 / 267
  1. 20
    Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac (kristelako)
  2. 10
    The Mandrake Root by Niccolò Machiavelli (timoroso)
  3. 00
    Love in Excess by Eliza Haywood (StevenTX)
  4. 00
    Quartett. by Heiner Müller (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: "Quartett": Ein Schauspiel nach Choderlos de Laclos' Gefährliche Liebschaften bearbeitet
  5. 11
    Viscount Valmont #1 by さいとう ちほ (octopedingenue)
    octopedingenue: manga adaptation of the book
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (39)  French (9)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
This is a novel told in letters featuring two of the greatest manipulators ever created, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil. They are a couple of the idle rich in pre-revolutionary France who pass their time in having affairs in a cold-blooded way, to exert power, getting at least as much pleasure out of being cruel to people and subsequently ruining them, as they do in the actual pleasures of the flesh.

Their prey? One is a fifteen year old virgin fresh out of the convent, Cecile Volanges, who has been engaged to be married to an older man. Another is a prim and proper married woman, a “prude”, Madame de Tourvel. Valmont seeks to conquer both with direction and assistance from the Marquise, who also has her sights on Danceny, a young man who has fallen in love with Cecile.

Valmont wants to mold Cecile to his fantasies, doing whatever he wants with her, and with such vigor that she will remember him for the rest of her life as her best lover, thus “spoiling her”. However in conquering Madame de Tourvel, he seeks something far worse - he wants to get her to fall in love with him and to submit to him, even though she has been warned about his reputation. Madame de Merteuil, for her part, seeks to control the action of both Valmont and the young innocents, as well as have affairs in ways with men that lead to them disgraced in society, and her reputation unsullied.

They are reptilian allies in pure evil, but while the Marquise condones Valmont’s attempts with Cecile, knowing it’s only physical, she is jealous of Madame de Tourvel, knowing the connection is admiration bordering on love (to the extent Valmont is capable of such an emotion), and because Tourvel is truly rare in her virtue as she holds out. There is thus a tension between the two which lurks in the background for most of the book, and at some point they must clash.

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses” is one of those “morality tales” in that lessons can be derived, but at the same time, it was meant to shock and titillate. In 1782 it was considered pornography and banned, no doubt spurred along with those editions which had been lasciviously illustrated (sadly, this Barnes & Noble Classics is not :p). To the modern reader it’s pretty tame; the sex is only alluded to indirectly, though it may be more powerful as a result.

The book is really about power and seduction in those who are evil, and true love and duty in those who are good, which, while seeming simplistic, held my interest throughout. I found the format of letters to be effective as it allowed emotions to unfold, different perspectives on the same events, and showed the outright two-facedness of the manipulators to be revealed in ways that you might find “delicious”, to use the cliché that seems so fitting here. The letters only get a little slow in repetitiveness in a couple of sections, and I thought the pace was good, though it is a pretty lengthy book. It makes me want to go watch the 1988 Academy Award winning movie of the same name. I was also unaware that the 1999 movie Cruel Intentions was based on the same characters, but it makes sense now.

Quotes:
On love, this from Danceny to Cecile:
“And what have I to tell you, that my eyes, my embarrassment, my conduct and even my silence have not told you already? And why should you take offense at a sentiment to which you have given birth? Emanating from you, it is doubtless worthy to be offered to you; if it is ardent as my soul, it is pure as your own. Shall it be a crime to have known how to appreciate your charming face, your seductive talents, your enchanting graces, and that touching candor which adds inestimable value to qualities already so precious?”

On love, or an affair, denied, from Tourvel to Valmont:
“Loved and esteemed by a husband whom I both love and respect, my duty and my pleasure are centered in the same object. I am happy, I must be so. If pleasures more keen exist, I do not desire them; I would not know them. Can there be any that are sweeter than that of being at peace with oneself, of knowing only days that are serene, of sleeping without trouble and awaking without remorse? What you call happiness is but a tumult of the senses, a tempest of passions of which the mere view from the shore is terrible. Ah! why confront these tempests? How dare embark upon a sea covered with the debris of so many thousand shipwrecks? And with whom? No Monsieur, I stay on the shore; I cherish the bonds which unite me to it. I would not break them if I could; were I not held by them, I should hasten to procure them.”

Later:
“Do not think that absence will ever alter my sentiments for you: how shall I ever succeed in overcoming them, when I have no longer the courage to combat them? You see, I tell you all; I fear less to confess my weakness than to succumb to it; but that control which I have lost over my feelings I shall retain over my actions; yes, I shall retain it, I am resolved, be it at the cost of my life.”

On the passionless, this in a letter from Merteuil to Valmont:
“What a disgrace if you fail! and how little glory even if you succeed! I say more; expect no pleasure from it. Is there ever any with your prudes? I mean those in good faith. Reserved in the very midst of pleasure, they give you but a half enjoyment. That utter self-abandonment, that delirium of joy, where pleasure is purified by excess, those good things of love are not known to them. I warn you: in the happiest supposition, your Presidente will think she has done everything for you, if she treats you as her husband; and in the most tender of conjugal tete-a-tetes you are always two.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Jul 4, 2015 |
I really enjoyed the introduction to the book and background on its history and author. I give that 4 stars. The letters themselves/characters are kind of bland and boring as far as people go. I can't say I find it very clever or titillating. The only person of interest is the young Cécile de Volanges. I usually don't feel a need to skim her letters. ( )
  CassandraT | Oct 10, 2014 |
Very compelling. Can you trust either of these characters in their plot? Great read even though written in 1782. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
An absolutely magnificent novel! To think that it was published in 1782, seven years before the French Revolution. Liberté, égalité, fraternité! It has thus been argued that the novel caught a doomed aristocracy amidst 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 even now. I've read it twice then bought this gorgeous Folio Society edition to commemorate past readings and carry me through future ones. A stunning novel. A book for real readers. ( )
2 vote William345 | Jun 11, 2014 |
This book is written in the form of various letters between the main characters, mainly Valmont and Merteuil. They plot and scheme and seduce and gloat and are generally quite unpleasant. The web of intrigue and deceit gets ever more complicated. It's pretty dense flowery writing, so can't be consumed too quickly, but I was glad I persevered. ( )
1 vote AlisonSakai | Feb 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (103 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laclos, Pierre Choderlos deprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beretta Anguissola, AlbertoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bigliosi Franck, CinziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coward, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delon, MichelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malraux, AndréIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morriën, AdriaanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Papadopoulos, JoëlNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruata, AdolfoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, P. W. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
J'ai vu les moeurs de mon temps, et j'ai publié ces Lettres - J.J. Rousseau, Preface to 'Héloïse'
Dedication
First words
Well, Sophie dear, as you see, I'm keeping my word and not spending all my time on bonnets and bows, I'll always have some to spare for you!
Quotations
I was amazed at the pleasure a good deed can produce and I'm tempted to think that those so-called virtuous people don't deserve quite as much credit as we are invited to believe.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
What can you do with
Fifteen dozen French letters?
Here are some ideas.
(thorold)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140441166, Paperback)

An epistolary novel chronicles the cruel seduction of a young girl by two ruthless, 18th-century aristocrats.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:16 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Depicting decadence and moral corruption in pre-revolutionary France, Dangerous Liaisons is one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Two aristocrats embark on a sophisticated game of seduction and manipulation to bring amusement to their jaded existences. While the Marquise de Merteuil challenges the Vicomte de Valmont to seduce an innocent convent girl, the Vicomte is also occupied with the conquest of a virtuous married woman.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.1)
0.5 1
1 8
1.5 2
2 18
2.5 7
3 119
3.5 45
4 294
4.5 46
5 284

Audible.com

5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449574, 0141195142

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,030,652 books! | Top bar: Always visible