What is the role of the prude in the roman libertin? James Fowler argues that in the most famous novels of the genre (by Richardson, Crebillon fils, Laclos and Sade) the prude is not the libertine's victim but an equal and opposite force working against him, and that ultimately she brings retribution for his social, erotic and philosophical presumption. In a word, she is his Nemesis. He is vulnerable to her power because of the ambivalence he feels towards her; she is his ideological enemy, but also his ideal object. Moreover, the libertine succumbs to an involuntary nostalgia for the values of the Seventeenth Century, which the prude continues to embody through the age of Enlightenment. In Crebillon fils and Richardson, the encounter between libertine and prude is played out as a skirmish or duel between two individuals. In Laclos and Sade, the presence of female libertines (the Marquise de Merteuil and Juliette) allows that encounter to be reenacted within a murderous triangle.