“La solitude ajoute à l’attrait du désir.” Dangerous isolation in Les Liaisons dangereuses
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
Altmetrics DOI Statistics
In Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782), the motif of solitude, from conventual seclusion to virtuous retreats and libertine isolation, is as much a contributor to the characters’ downfall as the dangerous liaisons advertised in the novel’s title. Engaging the eighteenth-century discourse on solitude, I argue that Les Liaisons dangereuses illustrates the period’s redefinition of the private and public spheres, the Enlightenment’s secularization of the notion of retreat, and its understanding of the Self as the real source of one’s temptation. Solitude in Les Liaisons dangereuses is reconfigured as a space where inner desires can surface; however, such revelations often menace one’s happiness. Analyzing the representation of the characters’ physical seclusion, of their strategic retreats, and of their psychological isolation allows me to explore how Laclos’s representation of solitude as perilous stems from the conviction that, in a period intent on frustrating an individual’s natural drives, the most dangerous liaison one can have is with oneself.
Ganofsky , M 2021 , ' “La solitude ajoute à l’attrait du désir.” Dangerous isolation in Les Liaisons dangereuses ' , Eighteenth-Century Fiction , vol. 33 , no. 4 , pp. 493-511 . https://doi.org/10.3138/ecf.33.4.493
Copyright © 2021 by Eighteenth-Century Fiction, McMaster University. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.3138/ecf.33.4.493.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.