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

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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

From the Back Cover

The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, gifted, wealthy, and bored, form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game - a game which they must win. And they play with such wit and style that it is impossible not to admire them - until they discover that the game has mysterious rules that they cannot understand. In the ensuing vicious battle there can be no victors, and the innocent will suffer with the guilty. This new translation gives Laclos a modern voice, and readers will be able to 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.
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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 x 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 (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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: 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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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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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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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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