The inspiration for three films and several operas, this classic of French literature is set in Regency Paris and Louisiana around 1720. A tragic love story, it's also an epic adventure story with three infidelities, three escapes, three abductions and two murders. The action spans two continents and a social range extending from the aristocracy to the social outcast, from pillars of the establishment to pimps and prostitutes.
Manon Lescaut's ambiguous love story has a transcendent significance: Is it a cautionary tale, warning of the dangers to which passion, blindly followed, can lead? Or does it illustrate the redemptive power of love? After all, Des Grieux's perseverance in his devotion to Manon eventually brings about a profound change of heart in her and seems to make possible a lasting happiness based on deep mutual affection. The ambiguity persists to the end, when death snatches that happiness away.
Author Biography: Abbe Prevost (1697-1763) had an eventful life, including time spent in an English prison for forgery. A soldier, priest and Protestant convert, he was also a journalist, pamphleteer, translator of Richardson's novels and, in his declining years, a hack writer. His prolific output of novels, biographies and histories has long since been forgotten, with the exception of Manon Lescaut, his masterpiece.