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Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos , David Coward , Douglas Parmée
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 April 2008
(1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. The subject of major film and stage adaptations, the novel's prime movers, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game - a game which they must win. This new translation gives Laclos a modern voice, and readers will be able a judge whether the novel is as `diabolical' and `infamous' as its critics have claimed, or whether it has much to tell us about the kind of world we ourselves live in. David Coward's introduction explodes myths about Laclos's own life and puts the book in its literary and cultural context.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reissue edition (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536481
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. The subject of major film and stage adaptations, the novel's prime movers, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game - a game which they must win.

This new translation gives Laclos a modern voice, and readers will be able a judge whether the novel is as `diabolical' and `infamous' as its critics have claimed, or whether it has much to tell us about the kind of world we ourselves live in. David Coward's introduction explodes myths about Laclos's own life and puts the book in its literary and cultural context.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

About the Author

The Oxford World's Classic edition offers students an excellent introduction to this classic text and also important notes and chronologies. (Dr. Paraic Finnerty, University of Portsmouth.)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Well, Sophie dear, as you see, I'm keeping my word and not spending all my time on bonnets and bows, I'll always have some to spare for you! Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars same reviews for 2 different books... 17 April 2007
Format:Paperback
I just wanted to write a review about the Oxford edition of this book and not the penguin classic one, and the same reviews are under both books !?

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I have read the penguin classic version translated by PWK Stone, and I have just read the available pages on here of the Oxford edition, and its really is awful. The way it has been translated is clumsy and ugly, it sounds too modern...wheras the penguin classic version has been modernised but still retains some flavour of 18th century france along with being readable.

I would just suggest to anyone wanting to read this book to read Stones' translation and not touch this one, or at least read the first few pages of each and compare them. If I had started reading the oxford version I think I would never have bothered reading the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Liasons 24 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback
Wealthy, devious and bored the Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil have formed an alliance and begin a dangerous game of seduction and domination. Eager to preserve their reputations, Valmont as a libertine and Merteuil as a lady they act out their roles with passion and vigour. Yet by targeting the naive Cecile Volanges, the lovestruck Chevalier Danceny and the pious Madame de Tourvel the pair don't realise that in a game this deadly, the guilty will suffer along with the innocent.

I'm a long term fan of the movie Cruel Intentions so I've wanted to read the original book for a while just to see how it compares. Now I have I can completely understand the controversy and scandal that resulted from the publication of this book in 1782. I'm also amazed at the modernity of the story. I enjoyed the modern feel to the book, and if that is down to the translation alone then I applaud Douglas Parmee for making the book so easy to read, but it could be that the themes of love, lust and betrayal are universal.

Written as a series of letters between the main characters, the author does imply that these were real people and obscures the identity of various individuals and places, as well as the year the events take place in. However there is also a publishers note stating this is a work of fiction. Whether these characters or just people like them actually existed, the book remains a view on the excesses of wealth and twisted games played by those in positions of power.

Merteuil and Valmont are incredibly devious and twisted, playing their games with a kind of maniacal glee and delighting in the suffering they entail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Devilish Delight 5 Feb 2010
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Dangerous Liaisons (or Les Liaisons Dangereuses as my title was) is really a tale of love, hate, and lavish deviousness. From their separate abodes, or indeed the abodes of others, two bored aristocrats use the people they know as pawns in a game of deceit. The Marquis de Merteuil writes to her former lover the Vicomte de Valmont as she has decided to ruin the soon to be bride of Comte de Gercourt a man she has a bone to pick with and so sets up spoiling his future young bride, a fifteen year old by the name of Cecile Volanges, in any way she can and wants Valmont's help and also you get the feeling she wants him to be in awe of her wickedness which she is no doubt the better at. However Valmont is currently planning his greatest scandal yet the ruin of Presidente de Tourvel, the wife of a judge and a highly religious women. Valmont is decided he will make her fall in love with him, sleep with her and then leave her. There are much more debauched things going on but I wouldn't want to give to many of these wicked acts away.

As the book continues the lives of these two marvellously cunning scoundrels draw in a whole cast of other characters who become embroiled in their web of plots and lies, from Cecile's piano teacher Danceny, who she becomes besotted with, to her mother Madame de Volanges a friend and confident of both Merteuil and Tourvel. As the letters fly back and forth between this collection of characters Laclos creates an amazing plot which constantly twists and darkens as the dastardly duo of Valmont and Merteuil try to complicate things for one another and better each other in acts of their cunning.

I don't know if you can tell yet that I absolutely adored this book. I thought it was wonderful and wish Laclos had written so much more.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite book ever! 28 Mar 2004
By Jessica
Format:Paperback
I first got this book out off the library, I forget where i'd heard it mentioned but it sounded good. It took me so long to read it mainly because the only time i had was in breaktimes at school. Frequently I'd not concentrate in the lessons after breaktime becauase I wanted to know what happened next. As soon as I finished it I went out and bought a copy so I could read it whenever I wanted and it's my favourite book of all time.
It's written incredibly well, the way Laclos manages to create a different style of writing for each character is amazing, and I was absolutely devastated at the end-I won't tell you why you'll just have to read it to find out.
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