Readings & Films

Notes on Les Liaisons dangereuses Letters 40-99

Letter 40: continued—“a husband’s veto adds spice to one’s appetite” (p. 83) Why is it important to Valmont to know who is maligning him?

Letter 44: complications—manservant; maid; Valmont

  • Rage: against Volange

Letter 50: “Who can wish for a happiness which involves sacrificing reason when its short-lived pleasure lead at best to regret, if not to remorse?” (p.97)


Letter 51: “I got her to give Danceny an interview” (p.100)

Letter 54: “I got the girl “so worked up”… What does it mean? (p. 105)

Letter 56: “I enjoy the esteem… ” (p. 108)

Letter 63: Merteuil becomes confident of both (p. 117)

Letter 69: Is the M/V strategy working? (p. 130)

Letter 70: Prévan’s name appears: in what context? (p. 131)

  • What is the new challenge for Merteuil?

Letter 71: Game with the threesome. Again warns of Prévan (p. 137)

Letter 79: What did Prévan do exactly?

Letter 81: Crucial—why? “People rarely acquire the qualities they can do without” (p. 161) “If, in the course of all these frequent and violent changes, my reputation has remained unscathed… " (p. 162–163) How she learned to dissemble. Decoding facial gestures. (p. 165) “love” is a pretext for pleasures (p. 168) “you are the only one of my flames who, for a moment, made me lose self-control… ” “I use my brains.” As for Prévan I want to have him and have him I shall… ”

Letter 85: How she traps Prévan

Letter 89: Valmont complains to Danceny of Cecile’s not trusting his advice to copy the key to her room/Letter 92: Danceny takes this as a sign of her lack of love

Letter 90: Tourvel’s love for Valmont

Letter 95: Valmont seduces Cecile… comment.

Letter 99: Valmont crushed by Cecile’s rejection—has locked door against him. Back to Tourvel; moving scene…

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017