Yonris A delicious look into the life of the wicked and idle in the French Court. Secondly, all the characters in the story are aristocrats, including the virtuous heroines—Madame de Tourvel and Madame de Rosemonde. I would love …more By the end of the story, none of the letters are pierrre. Its premiere on 19 Julyin the presence of Queen Marie Antoinetteproved a failure.
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Shelves: favorites , books-to-read-before-you-die Oh the painful brilliance of these letters! Someone recently said to me that it is sad that people have stopped writing old-fashioned letters, being so much more personal and private than the frequently impolite, monosyllabic insults people tend to spit out on Twitter, Facebook and in various comment threads on the internet.
I agreed, but continued to think about it, and all of a sudden, this epistolary novel came to my mind in all its passionate evil power. Choderlos de Laclos certainly is a Oh the painful brilliance of these letters! Choderlos de Laclos certainly is a perfect example of the "good old times" that were not really better, and that featured the same hateful, jealous, treacherous, spiteful characters, happy to engage in intrigues and dangerous games with high stakes, always exposed to the threat of publication of written evidence.
Sex and power, twisted love and betrayal: those ingredients make up the plot of this exquisite, polyphonic selection of letters written between various protagonists, playing a game of seduction with each other in different formations.
In the end, they all pay the price for their game. There is one letter especially that reminds me of what teenagers thoughtlessly do today: copying, spreading or retweeting evil comments without thinking of the consequences until they feel the effects like a boomerang coming back full speed.
The evil, jealous Marquise de Merteuil challenges her lover, the Vicomte de Valmont, to break up with a virtuous lady he has seduced as part of a cruel entertainment. She writes the most horrible, yet eloquent letter imaginable, and the Vicomte copies it word for word and passes it on to Madame de Tourvel, the victim of the intrigue. As expected by the Marquise, this breaks the tender woman.
It has another victim as well, however. The Vicomte realises that he has grown to love the lady he played with, and regrets his own cruelty when it is too late. And this sets in motion a disastrous chain of events leading to the spreading of all letters relating to the scandalous behaviour of these representatives of the highest social layers in French society.
If you play in the highest league of society, every secret you share is a potential liability, and that is just as true now as it was in the 18th century. I just reacted to my instincts and needs. But Choderlos de Laclos remains a classical author in one respect: he is careful to let poetical justice prevail in the end! None of the evil players of games is let off the hook.
Once publicly exposed in their evil plotting, the main characters are punished. The ominous letter is well worth reading in its entirety.
It contains all ingredients of a brutal public dumping of a faithful, caring lover, - out of boredom and satiation. Ainsi va le monde. Humanity is equally cruel nowadays, but what on earth happened to eloquence?
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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