Les Liaisons Dangereuses [Dangerous Liaisons] - Full Version by Peirre Choderlos de Laclos
Love . . . sex . . . seduction. Of the three, only the last matters. Love is a meaningless word, and sex an ephemeral pleasure, but seduction is an amusing game in which victory means power and the ability to humiliate one’s enemies and revel with one’s friends. So it is for the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, two supremely bored aristocrats during the final years before the French Revolution. Together they concoct a wildly wicked wager: If Valmont can successfully seduce the virtuous wife of a government official, Madame de Tourvel, then Madame Merteuil will sleep with him again. But Madame Merteuil also wants Valmont to conquer the young and innocent former convent schoolgirl, Cécile Volanges. Can he do both?
When Les Liaisons Dangereuses was first published in 1782, it both scandalized and titillated the aristocracy it was aimed against, who publicly denounced it and privately devoured it. Today we still recognize its relevance, for what could be more contemporary than its appalling image of everyday evil — small, selfish, manipulative, and mean.
Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos (French pronunciation: [pjɛʁ ɑ̃brwaːz ʃɔdɛʁlo də laklo]; 18 October 1741 – 5 September 1803) was a French novelist, official and army general, best known for writing the epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons).
A unique case in French literature, he was for a long time considered to be as scandalous a writer as the Marquis de Sade or Nicolas-Edme Rétif. He was a military officer with no illusions about human relations, and an amateur writer; however, his initial plan was to "write a work which departed from the ordinary, which made a noise, and which would remain on earth after his death"; from this point of view he mostly attained his goals, with the fame of his masterwork Les Liaisons dangereuses. It is one of the masterpieces of novelistic literature of the 18th century, which explores the amorous intrigues of the aristocracy. It has inspired a large number of critical and analytic commentaries, plays, and films