This translation of Montesquieu's unsurpassed epistolary novel, the first to appear in over thirty years, is completely new and aims at being as literal as possible, including pulling no punches with the erotic elements. This means, among other things, that the translators have attempted to render the same word throughout the work as consistently as good sense allows. This places readers in a position to see the various ways in which Montesquieu associates one character with another. Also, by allowing Montesquieu to speak for himself, readers will be able to see more clearly than in any other translation both the seriousness and playfulness of Montesquieu's intention. Nevertheless, due attention has been paid to the beauty of the literary character of the work. This will be the standard translation for years to come.