White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

The nature of libertine promises in Laclos's Les 'Liaisons Dangereuses

McCallam, D. (2003) The nature of libertine promises in Laclos's Les 'Liaisons Dangereuses. Modern Language Review, 98 (4). pp. 857-869. ISSN 0026-7937


Download (134Kb)


This article suggests that the libertines Valmont and Merteuil privilege promises because their futural orientation implies a godlike control of people and events, and because promises offer the possibility of being broken, of further pleasure to be derived from transgression. Moreover, it demonstrates how promises constitute paradoxical markers of the interlocutor's desire, rather than the speaker's sincerity; a desire that the libertines expertly exploit, although they too can fall victim to this dynamic. The article concludes with a consideration of why promises are made to be broken in Les Liaisons dangereuses, focusing on the absence of patriarchal figures in the text.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: les liaisons dangereuses, libertines, promises, desire, sincerity, patriarchal figures
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of Modern Languages (Sheffield) > Department of French (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2005
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 00:59
Published Version: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mhra/mlr/200...
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/741

Actions (repository staff only: login required)