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Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man (1782) - Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade had started to write in prison. In 1782 he completed Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man, expressing his atheism by having the dying libertine convince the priest of the mistakes of a pious life.

The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1782) - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  1. The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1782) - Jean-Jacques Rousseau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Mademoiselle Lambercier showed towards me a mother's affection and also a mother's authority, which she sometimes carried so far as to inflict on us the usual punishment of children when we had deserved it. ... I had found in the pain and even in the shame of it an element of sensuality which left more desire than fear of receiving the experience again from the same hand. It is true that, as in all this a precocious sexual element was doubtless mixed, the same chastisement if inflicted by her brother would not have seemed so pleasant... Who would have believed, that this childish punishment, received at the age of 8 from the hand of a young woman of 30, would have determined my tastes, my desires, my passions, for the rest of my life?

    The foundational Romantic text was Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions. Rousseau began with the assertion that here, for the first time ever, was an autobiography that gave it all away, told it all. The killer ingredient, which sold the book for over two centuries on a whisper and a nod, was Rousseau's confession of sexual masochism and his recollection of the childhood spankings that provoked it. Aside from this, Confessions is 600 or so pages of dissimulation, self-contradiction, treachery, special pleading, innuendo, raving, revenge, and lies. But what gushes out is the overwhelming "presence" of Rousseau himself: the paranoiac, the plaintiff, the pervert. The scandalous incoherence of precisely this person, no better, after all, than he should be, behaving badly, just like us in fact: real, really here. --Fred Vermorel, October - November 2000, Village Voice Literary Supplement, Lurking on the Dark Side of Biography, [http://www.villagevoice.com/vls/170/vermorel.shtml]

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) - Choderlos De Laclos

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) - Choderlos De Laclos [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil--gifted, wealth, and bored--form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game. And they play this game with such wit and style that it is impossible not to admire them, until they discover mysterious rules that they cannot understand. In the ensuing battle there can be no winners, and the innocent suffer with the guilty.

This new translation gives Laclos a modern voice, and readers will be able to judge whether the novel is as "diabolical" and "infamous" as its critics have claimed, or whether it has much to tell us about a world we still inhabit.--Book Description

Revenge is a dish best served cold. - pointing to the ellaborated planning of some revenges. The earliest well-known example of this proverb in print is "La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid" from the play Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) by Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderios de LaClos. The saying exists in many cultures, including Sicilian, Spanish and Pashtun, making its ultimate origin difficult to determine. The modern English wording is attributed to Dorothy Parker. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge [Aug 2004]

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