Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

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Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Laclos.jpg
Portrait of Choderlos de Laclos attributed to Alexander Kucharsky
BornPierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos
(1741-10-18)18 October 1741
Amiens, Picardy, Kingdom of France
Died5 September 1803(1803-09-05) (aged 61)
Taranto, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
OccupationWriter, official and army general
NationalityFrench

Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos (French:  [pjɛʁ ɑ̃bʁwaz fʁɑ̃swa ʃɔdɛʁlo də laklo] ; 18 October 1741 – 5 September 1803) was a French novelist, official, freemason and army general, best known for writing the epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) (1782).

Epistolary novel novel written as a series of documents

An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary is derived from Latin from the Greek word ἐπιστολή epistolē, meaning a letter.

<i>Les Liaisons dangereuses</i> 1782 epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Les Liaisons dangereuses is a French epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, first published in four volumes by Durand Neveu from March 23, 1782.

Contents

A unique case in French literature, he was for a long time considered to be as scandalous a writer as the Marquis de Sade or Nicolas-Edme Rétif. He was a military officer with no illusions about human relations, and an amateur writer; however, his initial plan was to "write a work which departed from the ordinary, which made a noise, and which would remain on earth after his death"; from this point of view he mostly attained his goals with the fame of his masterwork Les Liaisons dangereuses.

Marquis de Sade French novelist and philosopher

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, was a French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer, famous for his libertine sexuality. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts. In his lifetime some of these were published under his own name while others, which Sade denied having written, appeared anonymously. Sade is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, suffering, criminality, and blasphemy against Christianity. He gained notoriety for putting these fantasies into practice. He claimed to be a proponent of absolute freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion, or law. The words sadism and sadist are derived from his name.

Nicolas-Edme Rétif French writer

Nicolas-Edme Rétif or Nicolas-Edme Restif, also known as Rétif or Restif de la Bretonne, was a French novelist. The term retifism for shoe fetishism was named after him.

It is one of the masterpieces of novelistic literature of the 18th century, which explores the amorous intrigues of the aristocracy. It has inspired a large number of critical and analytic commentaries, plays, and films.

Biography

Born in Amiens into a bourgeois family, in 1760 Laclos began studies at the École royale d'artillerie de La Fère, ancestor of the École Polytechnique. As a young lieutenant he briefly served in a garrison at La Rochelle until the end of the Seven Years' War (1763). Postings to Strasbourg (1765–1769), Grenoble (1769–1775) and Besançon (1775–1776) followed.

Amiens Prefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, 120 km (75 mi) north of Paris and 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Hauts-de-France. The city had a population of 136,105 according to the 2006 census, and one of the biggest university hospitals in France with a capacity of 1,200 beds. Amiens Cathedral, the tallest of the large, classic, Gothic churches of the 13th century and the largest in France of its kind, is a World Heritage Site. The author Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and served on the city council for 15 years.

Bourgeoisie polysemous French term which denotes the wealthy stratum of the middle class that originated during the latter part of the Middle Ages

The bourgeoisie is a polysemous French term that can mean:

École Polytechnique French institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau

École polytechnique is a French public institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, a suburb southwest of Paris. It is one of the most prestigious and selective French scientific and engineering schools, called grandes écoles in French. It is known for its ingénieur polytechnicien scientific degree program which is equivalent to both a bachelor and master of science. Its entrance exam, the X-ENS exam, is renowned for its selectivity with a little over 500 admitted students out of the 53 848 students enrolled in the preparatory programs for the French scientific and engineering schools entrance exams.

In 1763 Laclos became a freemason in "L'Union" military lodge in Toul. [1]

Toul Subprefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Toul is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.

Despite a promotion to the rank of captain (1771), Laclos grew increasingly bored with his artillery garrison duties and with the company of soldiers; he began to devote his free time to writing. His first works, several light poems, appeared in the Almanach des Muses . Later he wrote the libretto for an opéra comique, Ernestine, inspired by a novel by Marie Jeanne Riccoboni. The music was composed by the Chevalier de Saint Georges. Its premiere on 19 July 1777, in the presence of Queen Marie Antoinette, proved a failure. In the same year he established a new artillery school in Valence, which would include Napoleon Bonaparte among its students in the mid 1780s. On his return to Besançon in 1778 Laclos was promoted second captain of the Engineers. In this period he wrote several works which showed his great admiration of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778).

<i>Almanach des Muses</i>

L'Almanach des Muses was a French language poetry magazine published in France.

Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged from the popular opéras comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent, which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections. Associated with the Paris theatre of the same name, opéra comique is not always comic or light in nature; Carmen, perhaps the most famous opéra comique, is a tragedy.

Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni, whose maiden name was Laboras de Mézières, was a French actress and novelist.

In 1776 Laclos requested and received affiliation with the "Henri IV" lodge in Paris. There he helped Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans leading the Grand Orient of France. [2] In 1777, in front of the Grand Orient's dignitaries, he delivered what is considered[ by whom? ] as the first feminist speech by a man, supporting the initiation of women. [3]

Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans French duke

Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, most commonly known as Philippe, was born at the Château de Saint-Cloud. He received the title of Duke of Montpensier at birth, then that of Duke of Chartres at the death of his grandfather, Louis d'Orléans, in 1752. At the death of his father, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, in 1785, he inherited the title of Duke of Orléans and also became the Premier prince du sang, title attributed to the Prince of the Blood closest to the throne after the Sons and Grandsons of France. He was addressed as Son Altesse Sérénissime (S.A.S.).

In 1779 he was sent to Île-d'Aix (in present-day Charente-Maritime) to assist Marc René, marquis de Montalembert in the construction of fortifications there against the British. However, he spent most of his time writing his new epistolary novel, Les Liaisons dangereuses, as well as a Letter to Madame de Montalembert. When he asked for and received six months of vacation, he spent the time in Paris, writing.

Durand Neveu published Les Liaisons Dangereuses in four volumes on 23 March 1782; it became a widespread success (1,000 copies sold in a month, an exceptional result for the time). Laclos was immediately ordered to return to his garrison in Brittany; in 1783 he was sent to La Rochelle to collaborate in the construction of the new arsenal. Here he met Marie-Soulange Duperré, whom he would marry on 3 May 1786, [4] and remain with for the rest of his life. The following year, he began a project of numbering the streets of Paris.

In 1788, Laclos left the army, entering the service of Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, for whom, after the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, he carried forward with intense diplomatic activity.[ clarification needed ] Captured by Republican ideals, he left the Duke to obtain a place as commissar in the Ministry of War. His reorganization has been credited[ by whom? ] as having a role in the French Revolutionary Army's victory in the Battle of Valmy (20 September 1792). Later, after the desertion (April 1793) of general Charles François Dumouriez, he was however arrested as an Orleaniste, being freed after the Thermidorian Reaction of 27 July 1794.

He thenceforth spent some time in ballistic studies, which led him to the invention of the modern artillery shell. In 1795 he requested of the Committee of Public Safety reintegration in the army, a request which the Committee ignored. His attempts to obtain a diplomatic position and to found a bank also proved unsuccessful. Eventually, Laclos met the young general and recently appointed (November 1799) First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, and joined his party. On 16 January 1800 he was reinstated in the Army as Brigadier General in the Army of the Rhine; he took part in the Battle of Biberach (9 May 1800).

Made commander-in-chief of Reserve Artillery in Italy (1803), Laclos died shortly afterward in the former convent of St. Francis of Assisi at Taranto, probably of dysentery and malaria. He was buried in the fort still bearing his name (Forte de Laclos) in the Isola di San Paolo near the city, built under his direction. Following the restoration of the House of Bourbon in southern Italy in 1815, his burial tomb was destroyed; it is believed[ by whom? ] that his bones were tossed into the sea. [5]

Bibliography

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References

  1. Dictionnaire Universelle de la Franc-Maçonnerie (Marc de Jode, Monique Cara and Jean-Marc CARA - ed. Larousse 2011)
  2. Ce que la France doit aux francs-maçons (Laurent KUPFERMAN and Emmanuel PIERRAT - Grund ed. 2012)
  3. Dictionnaire Universelle de la Franc-Maçonnerie, page 181 (Marc de Jode, Monique Cara and Jean-Marc CARA - ed. Larousse 2011)
  4. "Marie-Soulange Duperré" Pinterest retrieved March 1, 2017
  5. Pierre Choderlos de Laclos at Find a Grave
  6. http://www.alalettre.com/laclos-biblio.htm

Sources

Further reading