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Dangerous Liaisons (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0140449570 ISBN-10: 0140449574

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449570
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If this book burns, it burns as only ice can burn."
-Baudelaire

About the Author

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. Helen Constantine has translated Theophile Gautier's Mademoiselle de Maupin for Penguin Classics which will be published in 2004 with an introduction by Patricia Duncker. And with David Constantine, she has translated a volume of Henri Michaux's poetry, Spaced and Displaced (Bloodaxe). She lives in Oxford.

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Customer Reviews

An excellent choice of the book cover!
whj
The novel (adapted into a fine film with Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeifer in the 1980s) is one of the great works of world literature.
DB
Truly, when a book gives one such philosophical insight couched in exquisite prose, it is nothing short of breathtaking art.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Hammer on January 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
WARNING: Clicking on "Kindle Edition" of this book results in a Web page for a completely different version of this book. Instead of getting the contemporary translation by Helen Constantine (which is a terrific translation), Amazon is now displaying the 19th century translation by Ernest Dowson.

Amazon should fix its Web site. When customers click on "Kindle Edition", they should get the exact same book, not a different one.

I am giving this book 5 stars, because it is what the Helen Constantine version deserves. Unfortunately there is no way to give different stars for Kindle versions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By WingsandRings on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for my Kindle after having seen the movie. I have to say, as much as I loved the movie, it's amazing how much is lost without the epistolary element; the way Laclos juxtaposes things -- Valmont's manipulative letters to Danceny's ardent ones, Merteuil's accusations against Prevan to what Valmont actually does to Cecile -- is something that one misses when the letters are taken out of the mix. If there is one flaw to the book it is the heavy handed way in which Valmont finally achieves his great conquest with Madame de Tourvel...after so much subtlety it seemed cheap and melodramatic to use the tactic he did.

This book is certainly dense, and there are entire letters which do not move the plot forward (Danceny's and Cecile's letters to each other are like a musical number in a pre-Oklahoma! stage show: they tell us more of what we already know, but rarely give us anything new) and one gets the sense that some things get lost in translation -- I especially felt that since I'm pretty sure I ran across several sentences that were just plain ungrammatical or generally made no sense, as if they'd been babelfished. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a juicy, lascivious classic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gina Guillotine on May 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Such corruption. Such ruthlessness. I love this book because I find the good guys so boring, and here we have perfectly delicious bad guys and gals doing horrible things to each other.

I've recommended this book to people, and only a couple have enjoyed it, but the others tend to read bodice rippers, and this one has sex and intrigue, but not in the typical way.

If you want fun and love among the ruins of an innocent's life, this is your book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Hartling on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shocking! Scandalous! An outrage to public decency! This book must have caused quite a stir when it was first printed in the late 1700's. Sexual innuendo leaps from the pages of this beautifully written epistolary novel. De Laclos certainly accomplished what he set out to do, to create a work that would last long after his death.

The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are two of the most devious minded characters I've ever had the pleasure to be disgusted by. Seriously. Still, I had to admire their dedication. They want revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. They know what they are doing and they do it well.

I thoroughly savored every page of Dangerous Liaisons. The wit and wickedness will be on my mind for a long time to come.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By One Organic Mama on April 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
BEWARE! Switching to the kindle book leaves you with the incorrect (VERY different) translation. Kind of a bummer as I need to overnight the correct version for class... the two books are different and should not be linked.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although this book represents a historical period from the past, which is the french aristocracy a few years before the french revolution, I believe Dangerous Liaisons is still of actuality. After all, libertinism is still popular in high circles of society, whether political or artistic such as Hollywood, while adultery, cruelty and manipulations are weapons still used by several couples and certain people, in all circles of society, whether they are rich or poor. For the success of Dangerous Liaisons is not only due to its excellent representation of the french aristocracy, but it is also a masterpiece of storytelling where several characters fall into a pit of vengeance, lust and cruelty, which Madame de Merteuil, a powerful but dangerous Marquise, employs as she pulls the strings of this story and manipulates all she meets in order to accomplish her projects. Of course, the Vicomte de Valmont is her equal in terms of cruelty and lust, but Madame de Merteuil remains the most diabolical as her thoughts and actions are revealed through her letters, along with the other characters, whose letters are all condensed in this epistolary novel, which inspired Heiner Muller to write a play called Quartett, with the same characters, a theater adaptation by Christpher Hampton, and a movie by Stephen Frears whom several people consider a masterpiece. Based on a novel finally available on Kindle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Larson on March 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this, being familiar with the original French, to see if it was suitable for the reading group I'm a member of at the retirement community I' currently in. It isn't. Looking at various reviews, it is probably the best available English translation, but the editu editorial baggage is too heavy for the purpose (on the first page there is a footnote which has a footnoted word ;-( By contrast the French, although sometimes a bit archaic, is very clear and clear.
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