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. With whom does Valmont conspire to trick and humiliate a new acquaintance?

2. How does Madame de Tourvel react when Valmont professes his love?

3. Who are the two people Cécile admits she likes best?

4. How does Valmont spy on Madame de Tourvel?

5. How was __Les Liaisons Dangereuses_ treated after the turn of the 20th century?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What was the general response to _Les Liaisons Dangereuses_ in the 20th century?

3. What does Merteuil suggest, in different forms, to Cécile and Valmont?

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

5. How does Cécile describe her feelings about Danceny to Sophie in letter 55?

6. What causes Cécile to become worried and sad about her upcoming marriage?

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

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

9. What does Merteuil assert is the reason women become "victims" of seduction?

10. Summarize Prévan's "legendary" feat of seduction according to Valmont.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast the Publisher's Note and Editor's Preface. What is their significance to the work? What messages are they each trying to get across? What is the tone of each? How do they try to influence the readers of the novel? In which ways do they define the work? Why does Laclos include them both? After reading the novel, do you read them or understand them in a different way? How do they compare to typical prefatory material in other works? Is the Publisher's Note after the last letter related in any way to Laclos' introductions?

Essay Topic 2

Consider the theme of women's sexuality in _Les Liaisons Dangereuses_. How is desire, in particular, expressed in the female characters? How do Cécile's, Merteuil's, and Madame de Tourvel's different experiences with sex, rape, seduction, courtship, initiation, and betrayal affect their character development, their roles in the plot of the novel, and their interactions with other male and female characters? What connections to contemporary French ideas of morality and gender roles do the sexuality of the female characters have? How is feminine sexual awareness or sexual activity opposed to masculine sexual awareness or sexual activity? How do other characters, or contemporary French high society, view women who are sexually experienced? Can you apply modern feminist critical theory to this discussion?

Essay Topic 3

What are Merteuil and Valmont's "ethics" of seduction? How do they plan their seductions? What motivates them to seduce and ruin others? What rules of letter writing, evidence gathering, and record-keeping do they have for themselves and for others? Do you see any ironic or hypocritical behavior in Valmont or Merteuil? Why do they constantly write to each other of their own plans, offer their criticisms or praises of each others plans, tell stories of seductions past, and warn each other of potential dangers?

(see the answer keys)

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