Saturday, January 28, 2012
Thoughts: Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos
I first saw the film Cruel Intentions when I was in elementary school. Ryan Philippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar played step-siblings who gambled on Reese Witherspoon’s virginity. My ten-year-old self ate it all up, and especially loved the fact the whole movie was set in New York. A couple of years later, I found out that the movie was based on a book released in the 1780s (imagine my surprise). Since then, I’ve been looking for a copy, and only got my hands on one recently.
Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil are hell-bent on ruining Cecile Volange’s reputation and innocence. Valmont also has a little project of his own. He’s intent on corrupting the religious and morally upright Madame Tourvel. This can’t possibly end well.
The entire book is told in a series of letters, and that only makes the whole thing deliciously bad. I found out the characters’ innermost thoughts and wishes, and watched how they changed their personalities, depending on who they were writing to. In his letters to Madame de Tourvel, Valmont became the persistent suitor whose heart was breaking, while, in his letters to Marquise de Merteuil, he revealed his plans of corrupting the said madame.
And Marquise de Mertuil. I still can’t decide whether I liked her or Valmont more. Fine, she’s completely evil, but she has a backbone, which is more than can be said about some female fictional characters I know. I was in awe as I read about her schemes, and her transformation from an intelligent girl of fifteen to the scheming and almost invincible woman she became. *Fans self with hand.*
This is a book I’m going to reread over and over again. Also, this is the definitely the kind of book you would want to shove into someone’s face when they say they don’t like classics. In a nutshell, Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass have nothing on Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil.