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The epistolary form of Laclos' Dangerous Acquaintances means that all our understanding of the characters, their motives and the plot must be extracted from the letters. The programme consists prim...arily of dramatised extracts from the novel, based around the incident of "the key". One of the principal schemers in the novel - Valmont - asks Cecile Volanges to steal the key to her bedroom from her mother. Ostensibly this is to allow Valmont to pass on letters and arrange interviews for Cecile with her lover, Danceny. In fact, "Valmont intends to use the key to seduce Cecile himself, as part of his and the Marquise de Merteuilfs plan to cuckold Cecile's fiance, the Comte de Gercourt. The second part of the programme shows how successfully the Marquise manipulates not only Cecile but also Valmont himself. Of course the letter form of the novel precludes the use of a narrator, so moral judgements must be left to the reader. The final letters reveal the Marquise de Merteuil's ruthless but perhaps accurate analysis of Cecile's character.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 32
Recording date: 1980-04-02
First transmission date: 30-09-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:17:26
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Producer: Tony Coe
Contributors: Kate Binchy; Edward Fox; Michael Maloney; Graham Martin; Jenny Twigge
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Dangerous acquaintances; Epistolary novel; Laclos; Pleasure machine
Master spool number: TLN14950H941
Production number: TLN14950H941
Available to public: no