Published seven years before the French Revolution, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons dangereuses is often lauded as the ultimate epistolary novel. This disturbing and damning portrayal of moral and emotional depravity in the ancien régime is told through a criss-cross of letters between members of the nobility. It earned de Laclos a place as one of the most subtle and skilful writers of his era, as well as a ban in France from 1815 until 1875, while the Vatican placed it on its Index Librorum Prohibitorum until 1966.
Today, the themes of egotism, manipulation, superiority, score-settling and the struggle for power resonate as powerfully as nearly two and a half centuries ago. The novel found a broader public in 1988 with Christopher Hampton's acclaimed movie adaption, which won three Oscars.
'[Les Liaisons dangereuses] implicates a whole society so founded on falsehood that a single act of emotional truth is tantamount to an act of subversion.’ The New York Review of Books
‘On peut désormais tout savoir des Liaisons sans avoir lu le roman. Mais on peut aussi le lire : après tout, c’est l’un des plus grands livres qui soient.’ Catriona Seth.
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