Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de LaclosRead about another entry on the list.
The Vicomte de Valmont, played by John Malkovich in the hit 1988 film version of this scandalous 18th-century novel, is an impressive example of elegance being the only acceptable excuse for complete lack of character. At the end of his ruthless game of seducing women in order to publicly shame them, he dies in a duel, hopelessly in love with one of the women he destroyed. And we forgive him.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses also appears on Jonathan Grimwood's top ten list of French Revolution novels, Helena Frith Powell's top ten list of sexy French books, H.M. Castor's top ten list of dark and haunted heroes and heroines, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best lotharios in literature.