Scandalous French author and general Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos was born on October 18, 1741. In his early career as a soldier, de Laclos grew bored with life in the barracks and began to fill his time with writing. If he’d been alive right now, he’d be blogging and Tweeting his heart out.
He is best remembered for the epistolary novel (written in the form of letters) Les Liaisons dangereuses (lay lee-ay-zoh dohn-jair-uhz), or Dangerous Liaisons. He said he wanted to write a work “which made a noise, and which would remain on earth after his death” and he certainly accomplished that. Les Liaisons dangereuses focuses on the amorous tomcatting of the aristocrats and it sold like hot croissants.
But de Laclos was not just a dilettante writer; his military career had its own importance. For instance, Napoléon Bonaparte was one of his students at his artillery school. After the French Revolution, de Laclos joined Napoléon’s political party and was reinstated in the army as a Brigadier General. De Laclos also invented the modern artillery shell.
He died while on active military service in Italy in a fort that was later named after him. After the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, de Laclos’ tomb was desecrated and his bones were then thrown into the waves.
Dangerous Liaisons, starring Glenn Close
- Les Liaisons Dangereuses (bluecoastlive.wordpress.com)