By Peirre Choderlos de Laclos
Love . . . intercourse . . . seduction. Of the 3, in simple terms the final concerns. Love is a meaningless note, and intercourse an ephemeral excitement, yet seduction is an fun video game within which victory ability strength and the power to humiliate one’s enemies and revel with one’s friends.
So it's for the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, supremely bored aristocrats in the course of the ultimate years earlier than the French Revolution. jointly they concoct a wildly depraved guess: If Valmont can effectively seduce the virtuous spouse of a central authority reliable, Madame de Tourvel, then Madame Merteuil will sleep with him back. yet Madame Merteuil additionally wishes Valmont to overcome the younger and blameless former convent schoolgirl, Cécile Volanges. Can he do both?
When Les Liaisons Dangereuses was once first released in 1782, it either scandalized and titillated the aristocracy it used to be aimed opposed to, who publicly denounced it and privately wolfed it. this present day we nonetheless realize its relevance, for what can be extra modern than its appalling photo of daily evil small, egocentric, manipulative, and suggest.
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Lastly, it will perhaps be pretty generally said that everything is good in its own place; and that, although, as a rule, the too polished style of the authors detracts from the charm of the letters of society, the carelessness of the present ones becomes a real fault and makes them insufferable when sent to the printer’s.
Louis reduces the power of the French nobility (represented here by Valmont and Merteuil), which had been a serious threat to the king and central authority. This conflict was settled by 1653, with Louis’s triumph in the Fronde, the civil wars that embroiled him and the nobility between 1648 and 1653. Louis built (1661-1670) his palace at Versailles and maintained a financially ruinous court to keep his nobles in check. Versailles became a kind of permanent masquerade, with a daily life ritualized to the most minute detail—right down to the red shoes people were expected to wear at court.
16). Valmont’s credentials as a seducer are impeccable, and the list of his conquests long, so the project is child’s play for him, as he himself says: To seduce a young girl, who has seen nothing, knows nothing, who would be, so to speak, delivered defenseless into my hands, whom a first compliment would not fail to intoxicate, and whom curiosity will perhaps more readily entice than love. Twenty others can succeed and these as well as I (p. 19). Merteuil must use every possible argument—Valmont’s getting even with Gercourt, Valmont’s reputation as a Don Juan, even a renewal of her sexual liaison with Valmont—to convince her hesitant ally.