Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos produced “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” in an effort to “write a work which departed from the ordinary, which made a noise, and which would remain on this earth after his death.” He did just that. First published in 1782 in four volumes, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” was an immediate success, and has since inspired a large number of literary commentaries, plays, and films. The novel is an epistolary piece, written as letters between members of the French noble class. An egotistical battle for control ensues between the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, with the promise of sexual gratification to the victor. The primary victims are Cecile, a naive but pretty young girl, her admirer, the Chavelier Danceny, and Madame de Tourvel, a virtuous (and married) young woman. This scandalous web of sexual desire, intrigue, infidelity, the struggle for power, and the corruption of the French upper class is a masterpiece from one of the most subtle and skillful novelists of the 18th Century.

My Thoughts:

Authentic 1700’s reaction to Dangerous Liaisons. 

Shocking! Scandalous! An outrage to public decency! This book must have caused quite a stir when it was first printed in the late 1700’s. Sexual innuendo leaps from the pages of this beautifully written epistolary novel. De Laclos certainly accomplished what he set out to do, to create a work that would last long after his death. 

Tricking people into losing their virginity?  I disapprove.

The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are two of the most devious minded characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to be disgusted by. Seriously. Still, I had to admire their dedication. They want revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. They know what they are doing and they do it well. 

I thoroughly savored every page of Dangerous Liaisons. Thank you to The Classics Club for spinning this book in my direction. The wit and wickedness will be on my mind for a long time to come.

The Classics Club Spin!

20 thoughts on “Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

  1. I really appreciate that authentic 1700s reaction. 🙂 You have to love an author who can write a deliciously evil villain…they make things so interesting!


  2. \”two of the most devious minded characters I've ever had the pleasure to be disgusted by\” … I love it! 🙂 You are a terrific writer with a great sense of humor. I may need to add this book to my TBR list.


  3. \”The pleasure to be disguised by\”, that's great! You've made what seems a difficult book sound a lot of fun, if totally scandalous.


  4. It is (for me at least) one of those books I had to concentrate on. I couldn't read it in snatches of time like I usually do. The language is so different from the way we speak now and I really had to sink into it 🙂


  5. It's still a shocking read, isn't it? And according to Wikipedia, \”it has been claimed to depict the decadence of the French aristocracy shortly before the French Revolution\”. There actully are several movies based on the novel – some with classic costumes, some in modern adaptation (Cruel Intentions). And in Japan and now also in Germany, there is a manga-adaption called \”Valmont\” by \”Japanese Manga artist Chiho Saito\”, (also with classic costumes), i read it earlier this month.


  6. I think maybe I should make this my way of choosing my next read – this book is on the list and it sounds really enjoyable from your review – but each time I post perhaps I'll scroll down until I find a book from my list! Then I'll have to stick to it (maybe!). Glad you enjoyed this – it makes me feel good about picking it up.Lynn 😀


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