Libertine Fiction

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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board, 25.9 x 20 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

A little painting from the end of the Old Regime perfectly captures the essence of libertine literature. In Pierre-Antoine Baudouin’s La Nuit [The Night] (ca. 1778) as in the masterpieces of eighteenth-century French erotic fiction such as Crébillon’s Les Egarements du cœur et de l’esprit [The Wayward Heart and Mind] (1735-1738), Denon’s Point de lendemain [No Tomorrow] (1777) or Laclos’ Les Liaisons dangereuses [Dangerous Liaisons] (1782), pleasure is represented in a state of permanent suspension between the grace of a pas de deux and the violence of an assault. The scene is bathed in a titillating demi-jour redolent of the ambiguity that clouds the characters’ and artist’s intention and blurs the aftermath

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Citation: Ganofsky, Marine. "Libertine Fiction". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 September 2019 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

19554 Libertine Fiction 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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