A new translation of one of the most notorious novels of all time
Published just years before the French Revolution, Laclos's great novel of moral and emotional depravity is a disturbing and ultimately damning portrayal of a decadent society. Aristocrats and ex-lovers Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont embark on a sophisticated game of seduction and manipulation to bring amusement to their jaded lives. While Merteuil challenges Valmont to seduce an innocent convent girl, he is also occupied with the conquest of a virtuous married woman. Eventually their human pawns respond, and the consequences prove to be more serious--and deadly--than the players could have ever predicted.
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Rowan writes: Laclos' epistolary novel, detailing the debauched amorous exploits of two aristocrats in pre-Revolutionary France, must be a serious contender. The work captures a glittering bygone world of leisure and spite where codes of behaviour have been honed to the finest of razor-sharp edges, and where, for those endowed with wit and skill, appearances are infinitely manipulable. The depiction of moral behaviour is stunningly frank, and the deliciously villainous antiheroes make for a compulsive narrative of social intrigue.
Choderlos de Laclos was born in 1741, at Amiens. He entered the army at the age of 18 and reached the rank of capitaine-commandant without seeing battle. In 1779 he was sent to the island of Aix, where Dangeruous Liaisons was written.