I’ve owned Laclos’ wicked novel for a couple of decades. Finally, I got around to reading Dangerous Liaisons and found its cynical, Machiavellian characters of Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil unique. In a series of letters, the two wealthy and conniving aristocrats launch a number of sinister schemes. Valmont wants to seduce a married, religious lady. The Marquise embarks on arranging a young girl’s ruination before she can be married. Dangerous Liaisons shows that love is just a game to these two intriguers. Patterned after Samuel Richardson’s massive (1000+ page) epistolary novel, Clarissa, Dangerous Liaisons takes seduction and sexual machinations to a new level. This is a novel you will not soon forget. The movie version starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, and Keanu Reeves is worth watching, too.

12 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #95: DANGEROUS LIAISONS By Choderlos de Laclos

  1. Deb

    I haven’t read the book, so I can’t tell you if it’s more faithful to it, but there is another film version (I believe it is called VALMONT) with Annette Benning as the Marquise and Colin Firth (?) as Valmont. I thought it showed the characters as being a lot smaller and shabbier (in many ways) than the Glenn Close movie.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    And there was an awful “modern” version with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe called CRUEL INTENTIONS.

    Skip that one, George.

    Trust me.

  3. Todd Mason

    However, the cast of CRUEL INTENTIONS helps make it a bad laugh. The parody of CRUEL INTENTIONS, among much else, in NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE is deft.

    I’ve been meaning to read this novel for years. There’s a cast member in each of the “legit” adaptations who puts me off (Close, Thurman), so I’ve been unenthusiastic about sitting through either as they pop up on cable…

    1. george Post author

      The novel version of DANGEROUS LIAISONS is certainly worth reading, Todd. I actually read the Oxford University Press translation. But the Penguin cover was nicer so I used that.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *