Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Madame de Tourvel tell Madame de Volanges she will do to get rid of Valmont?

2. Who does Valmont trick to spend time with the Vicomtesse de M?

3. On what issue does Cécile ask Merteuil's advice in letter 27?

4. Who or what does Coward see as at fault for the events of the novel?

5. How does Valmont force Madame de Tourvel's maid to help with his plans?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the Publisher's Foreword introduce the novel?

2. What were Laclos' general views on politics and gender relations?

3. Who is Merteuil's "knight," and what does she think of him?

4. What does Valmont essentially tell Merteuil about their relationship with each other in letter 15?

5. How does Merteuil respond to Valmont's warning?

6. Describe Cécile's relationship with Merteuil.

7. What defines or designates the "libertine" literary tradition?

8. What are Merteuil and Valmont's plans for Danceny and Cécile at the beginning of Part II?

9. What does the author of the Introduction say about potential political messages of social commentary in Laclos' novel?

10. What does the Editor state in the Editor's Preface?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the theme of nature and artifice, especially with reference to Cécile, Danceny, Merteuil, and Valmont. What are the natural personalities, interests, motivations, and moralities of these characters? How do they consciously or unconsciously change themselves to show their own or others' various desires? Are nature and artifice associated with any kind of moral message in the novel? How does Merteuil's letter 81, in which she offers the story of her youth and her sexual education, complicate the distinctions between nature and artifice? When do Cécile and Danceny exhibit artificial behavior? How are nature and artifice made ambiguous in Valmont's seduction of Madame de Tourvel?

Essay Topic 2

Examine the theme of male solidarity in the novel. Consider the following situations: the three men involved with Prévan's legendary seduction bond together to ruin all three women who are also Prévan's targets; Valmont convinces Madame de Tourvel's confessor, Father Anselme, to allow Valmont access to Madame de Tourvel; Valmont and Danceny, after dueling, bond together to ruin Merteuil. Are there similar instances of female solidarity in the novel? How does this influence your interpretation of gender roles in the novel? How are "communities," or even friendships, gendered in the text?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the theme of innocence in the novel. How does the author describe "innocence" or "ignorance" and what connotations are attached to these words or ideas? In the novel, is innocence automatically ignorance? Who is impressionable in the novel?How do other characters take advantage of this? Which characters act innocent or ignorant in the novel? Are Madame de Volanges, Madame de Tourvel, and/or Madame de Rosemonde "innocents," in any way? What becomes of Cécile and Danceny's innocence? How are innocence and experience opposed in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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