Dangerous Liaisons

By Choderlos de Laclos

Synopsis

For the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont seduction is a game - the former lovers relish manipulating others to bring amusement to their jaded existences. While Valmont is determined to succeed in his conquest of a virtuous married woman, Merteuil challenges him to seduce a convent girl who is to be married to her former lover.

Year of Publication

Author Biography

Pierre Ambrose Francois Choderlos De Laclos was born in 1741, in Amiens. His family was respectable but not distinguished, and at eighteen he entered the army and spent the next twenty years in various garrison towns, reaching the rank of capitaine-commandant without ever seeing battle. He cut a dash in provincial society, however, and in his spare time wrote light verse, some of which was published. In 1779 he was sent to the island of Aix, off La Rochelle, where Les Liaisons Dangereuses was conceived and written. He went to Paris in 1781 to supervise the publishing of his book, overstayed his leave and was promptly ordered back to his regiment. He married Marie-Solange Duperre in 1786 and proved to be an exemplary husband and father. He left the army in 1788, entering politics, and was imprisoned twice during the Reign of Terror, but returned to the army as a general under Napoleon in 1800. He died in Italy in 1803. Laclos also wrote a treatise on the education of women and on Vauban. Towards the end of his life he was considering writing another one to show that true happiness could only be attained in family life.