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Les Liaisons dangereuses (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 15, 2008
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About the Author
Douglas Parmée is Retired Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. He is the translator of Nana, Attack on the Mill (Zola) and A Sentimental Journey (Flaubert) for World's Classics. David Coward is Professor of French at the University of Leeds. He is the translator and editor of Maupassant, de Sade, and Dumas in World's Classics.
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Top Customer Reviews
The anti-hero and anti-heroine of this book, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquis de Merteuil, fascinate and repel us at once by their sheer wickedness. Valmont is a depraved Casanova, lay-em-and-leave-em, who has lost count of all the broken hearts and destroyed characters he has left in his wake. The Marquise de Merteuil, married and widowed too young, has combined shrewd intelligence with appalling powers of deception to engage a string of lovers whom she uses and casts off at random. Somehow these two find each other and form an unholy partnership. When the book opens, their affair is already spent, but they have remained friends; and the Marquise is infuriated when she learns she is about to be dumped by her current lover, a rich aristocrat named Gercourt, who is about to marry Cecile de Volanges, the most naive teenager who ever emerged from the protective cocoon of convent education. Her main attraction, for him, is her virginity, and it is this the Marquise wants Valmont to do away with so that Gercourt will find out on his wedding night that he didn't get the innocent virgin he was expecting, but an already corrupted young woman, and will become the laughing stock of Paris.Read more ›
Parmee may be accurately transliterating the French original; I of course cannot read it. But the book he has produced borders on the unreadable. Cecile, an aristocratic French girl of 15, speaks like a besotted 60-year old English gentleman. "Fortunately Mummy's feeling much better today and Madame de Marteuil is coming with the Chevalier Danceny and somebody else but she never comes until late and when you're all alone for such a long time, it gets jolly boring." (pg. 32) Yes, you read that right, "jolly boring." In Parmee's translation, Cecile uses "jolly" quite often, but somehow I cannot imagine a beautiful if naive French girl ever saying "jolly" anything.
Also gone is the tense sophistication of the Vicomte and the Marquise's dialogs in the movie--in its stead it seems that Parmee has elected to give them the voices of two American High School students, void of all intelligence, charm and wit, leaving them with just enough arrogant cunning to move the plot. Throughout all the letters, there are a great deal of run-on sentences which require a great deal of effort to understand, a characteristic of bad writing.
I've read a few pages of the Lièvre translation and can plainly see that it is much improved. I recommend you purchase that version and leave this one well alone, as I plan to do.
The book succeeds so well for many reasons.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my favorite novel of all time. I'm French, and an author. During a move last year, my original copy was lost. To find this one seemed a godsend. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Monique Raphel High
I saw this play in March 2015. If another local theater does it, I am so auditioning for it.Published 20 days ago by Allison Schrader
The Marquise de Merteuil, despite her virtuous reputation, has used and discarded more than a few men in her day, but that doesn't mean she takes it lightly when one of her lovers... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Aletheia Knights
Five stars to Pierre Choderlos de Laclos for his brilliant book, but the text in this edition is ridiculously small. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Pirouette
I do not, as a rule, care for epistolary novels. I also tend to find novels written in the 18th century spotty, as the form was in its infancy and liable to spectacular misfires. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jennifer Grey
Est-ce que c’est possible de trouver un roman écrit dans le 18eme siècle scandaleux dans ces temps de l’internet ? Read morePublished 10 months ago by lalith krishnan