Customer Review

256 of 287 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cover art misleading---this is NOT the unabridged Penguin (Fahnestock) translation!, November 6, 2010
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This review is from: Les Miserables (Kindle Edition)
I really hate to give this a one-star review, because it will seem that I'm a Phillistine who can't appreciate Victor Hugo or has the patience to read a book that's over 1400 pages long. But giving a one-star review will hopefully get enough attention from Kindle fans to read it before possibly wasting their money.

The cover art used for this Kindle edition is the EXACT SAME used for the unabridged Penguin classic version translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacFee. (If the cover looks familiar, it should---it's the same promotional poster used for the Broadway musical.) It is BASED on, but not IDENTICAL to the classic C.E. Wilbour translation. This abridged Kindle edition may very well be the original C.E. Wilbour translation , and if so, people who read through the whole thing will probably find it much better than one star---more likely closer to five. But it won't be the same text as fans of THE PARTICULAR TRANSLATION I cite, and the one-star is a warning for them. That's another thing--I don't know if C.E. Wilbour or Elmer Fudd is the translator because the translator isn't credited. For that matter, there is no table of contents so you'd better use the bookmarks utilty to save your place, or the search option to look ahead because this Kindle edition won't make it easier for you to navigate through this book.

According to Amazon, the Fahnestock/MacFee translation is NOT available for Kindle yet, and when (or if) it is, it will probably be slightly more expensive than the virtual freebies. That's because although Victor Hugo's novel is in the public domain, only English translations made before 1922 are free of copyright. Fans of this particular translation may want to wait. In the meantime, I hope Amazon replaces the cover and is more forthright about who the translator is.

P.S. The Penguin Classic book I am referring to has Amazon code # 0451525264 ; ISBN-10 0451525264 ; and ISBN-13 978-0451525260 ; Miserables, Les (Signet classics)
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 12, 2010 10:42:37 AM PST
wandern says:
Thank you for this valuable review- this is exactly the information I was searching for. You have exposed a rather pernicious omission in the product description. I hope it is rectified quickly. Any reader of Hugo will be aware of the enormous differences in quality and completeness in the popular translations. The Fahnestock and Macafee translation is arguably the most complete, accurate, and readable one out there.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2010 1:14:22 PM PST
Thank you. I found out later on that this translation is by Isabel F. Hapsgood.

Posted on Mar 21, 2011 8:20:50 PM PDT
Andrew says:
It is true that the one you have is different but the newest free Les miserables says was published Dec 16 2010 about 6 weeks after this post. So this new one is different Les Misérables. Not sure how much but i plan to read it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2011 1:05:09 PM PST
RRL says:
Hi. I just downloaded the free Kindle version, and it is still the Hapgood translation, and as soon as I read a chunk of it I'll review it. No big deal- It was free after all!
But if you are reading this thread, you may also like to know that the overwhelming consensus is that the Fahnestock/Macafee translation is the "truest" and "most complete" (although it can seem a bit stilted to some), and the Denny translation is the most " "accessible" version for most American readers (although he takes some small liberties, and many literary critics hate it, in my opinion he remains true to the book). I have them both, love them both for their respective strengths, and really can find no fault in either one.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2011 4:14:31 PM PST
I actually have both versions as well, although only the Denny version is on Kindle. What made me decide to get Denny is the line, "Sire, you are looking at a plain man, while I am looking at a great one. Each of us may benefit." I thought that was actually better than Fahnestock/Macafee version "You are looking at a good man, and I a great one. May we both be the better for it." I like the fact also that Denny gives reasons why he cuts away two section of "Les Miserables" from the main manuscript, yet gives readers the option to see them in the appendix.

Posted on Nov 30, 2011 12:06:30 PM PST
Joey D says:
I downloaded the free Kindle version only to find that it was severely abridged. Also, this particular version is very dysfunctional with the Kindle. For instance, I could not skip from chapter to chapter. I was able to find a table of contents, but it took some doing. As I played around with it some more, I found that it was jumping to random pages in response to my trying different Kindle functions.

Bottom line, this is not the whole book, and even if it was, its compatibility with the Kindle is very, very poor. I deleted it from my collection. No wonder it was free. It's junk.

P.S. I should add that I have a Kindle Touch 3G. I'm not sure how the functionality is with non-touch versions.

Posted on Jan 12, 2012 10:25:30 AM PST
Cyrus says:
I found a table of contents by scrolling backwards when I first opened the book... that being said, it is laborious to use. And yes, this is not the same translation as you might be expecting if you clicked on "kindle version" under the Fahnestock version. It does not appear to be available on Kindle, sadly.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 9:51:07 PM PDT
AlStCroix says:
My Kindle copy: Title page: "Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood, Thomas Y. Crowell & Co... Copyright 1887". 28 kindle "pages" of Contents follow immediately after the title page. I read the whole thing; the contents greatly helped, without them I am sure that I would have frequently lost my way. Does this version differ from the other recommended translations? Don't care--I enjoyed it, and it's a freebie. I read. I recommend it.

Posted on Jan 2, 2013 6:13:37 AM PST
J. Allen says:
This translation, by Isabel F. Hapsgood, can be downloaded from Gutenberrg - http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/135. I have not compared them, but it is likely they are very similar.
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