City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library

Pierre-Ambroise-François Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1803)

Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos (French pronunciation: ​[pjɛʁ ɑ̃brwaːz ʃɔdɛʁlo də laklo]; 18 October 1741 – 5 September 1803) was a French novelist, official, freemason and army general, best known for writing the epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons).

A unique case in French literature, he was for a long time considered to be as scandalous a writer as the Marquis de Sade or Nicolas-Edme Rétif. He was a military officer with no illusions about human relations, and an amateur writer; however, his initial plan was to "write a work which departed from the ordinary, which made a noise, and which would remain on earth after his death"; from this point of view he mostly attained his goals, with the fame of his masterwork Les Liaisons dangereuses. It is one of the masterpieces of novelistic literature of the 18th century, which explores the amorous intrigues of the aristocracy. It has inspired a large number of critical and analytic commentaries, plays, and films.

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Circulation records from 1793-1799 are lost.
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