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Showing 1-10 of 1,744 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,612 reviews
on March 31, 2017
I have the Robin Buss translation of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO in paperback, but that copy was old and worn. I wanted a more durable hardcover edition to read and to display on my bookshelf in my new house. The hardcover I bought from Total Books arrived in near-perfect condition, exactly as advertised, and looks gorgeous on the shelf.

Why Robin Buss' translation for Penguin Classics? That's a reasonable question since Alexandre Dumas has been dead long enough for his works to enter the public domain. Several translations of his major novels are not only available in cheaper editions (such as Barnes & Noble Classics), but for free on Project Gutenberg.

These are inferior and, in the case of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, censored translations. Most of them date back to the Victorian period, and render Dumas' evergreen French into English prose that feels old-fashioned and stilted today. Furthermore, because these are translations from the Victorian period, the translators filtered Dumas through their own moral sensibilities to give us Bowdlerized versions of a novel that ran on sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll a century before rock 'n roll was something you could do without a machine gun.

Robin Buss' unabridged translation comes directly from the original French and renders Dumas into fresh, readable modern English. Material previously omitted by Victorian-era translators such as Franz' hashish-fueled sexual fantasies and the strongly implied lesbian relationship between Eugenie and Louise remain intact and uncensored. As another reviewer pointed out, Buss will provide footnotes to explain subtleties that aren't easily translated from French to English, such as insults delivered by using the formal you (vous) rather than the informal/friendly/intimate you (tu).

A detailed appendix provides valuable historical and cultural context that aids the reader in understanding Dumas' masterpiece, and includes a primer on the rise, fall, return, and final downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte that is crucial to making sense of the politics driving the novel's plot.

If you cannot read Dumas in his native French, and you want a definitive English version, Robin Buss's unabridged and uncensored modern English translation is essential reading. No other translation will suffice.
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on August 28, 2007
This review is for those who've already decided they want to read The Count of Monte Cristo (you won't regret it!), and don't know which version to get.

Short answer: see review title, duh!

The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book, and I've read several translations, both abridged and unabridged.

TRANSLATION
The Buss translation is the most modern, and reads most fluidly. A quick example comparing this translation with the one found on Project Gutenberg:

PG - His wife visited for him, and this was the received thing in the world, where the weighty and multifarious occupations of the magistrate were accepted as an excuse for what was really only calculated pride...

BUSS - His wife visited on his behalf; this was accepted in society, where it was attributed to the amount and gravity of the lawyer's business -- when it was, in reality, deliberate arrogance...

Buss's work reads like the book was written in English. The two or so times that the work is nearly untranslatable, Buss makes a footnote about it (eg, an insinuated insult using the formal "vous" instead of the familiar "tu"). Other translations just skip the subtlety. The most common translation out there (uncredited in my version) reads like a swamp. Trust me, get Buss.

ABRIDGED V UNABRIDGED
Abridged versions of this book rarely say "abridged." You can tell by the size: abridged is 500-700 pages, unabridged is 1200-1400 pages. Go for the unabridged.

The abridged version is VERY confusing! Pruning 1200 pages down to 600 leaves a lot of plot on the cutting room floor. Suddenly, arriving at dinner are 4 new characters; it's very tiring to try to keep up with the hole-ridden story of the abridged versions. And you know where the holes are? Publishers "clean up" the book by omitting the affairs, illegitimate children, homosexuality, hashish trips, etc.

As an added bonus in the Penguin Classics edition, there's a wonderful appendix bursting with footnotes to explain all the 19th century references, and a quick guide to the rise and fall of Napoleon (crucial to the politics in the story).

Hope this helps. Get the book and start reading!
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on February 15, 2017
This edition is a very nice hardback: I really like the durability and feel of it. The cover looks like the type of cover in a serious library. While it does not say so anywhere that I could find, this is also unabridged, otherwise it would be only about 600 pages. And of course, the story itself is one of the best ever written. I doubt I need to explain the intricate, ultimately victorious, but also heartbreaking, story of a man wrongly accused who has his predicted future and youth stolen from him. My one caveat with this edition: it arrived with a sticker on the back which left a dark mark and marred the fine detailing of the cover.
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on April 25, 2017
Perhaps you need to read this in the original french but I found the English to be above average, not exceptional.

At the start the story formulates itself as the extreme suffering and reflection of one man and finally his sweet revenge. The story seemed tragic and compelling at the beginning. You completely understand Edmond Dates' sorrows and motivations. His revenge is also slick, exiting and fulfilling.

Two points of criticism however:
-the pacing slows considerably in the middle of the book where one starts learning about certain new characters, and stories seemingly unrelated to our main character. For large parts of the book, I thought to myself, "OK, but who cares about this guy and this crap?".
-The final pages are a little disappointing. The Count of Monte Cristo takes his role as the avenger of god, outmaneuvering everyone with tactful strategies that completely destroys not only the men, but their relations, stature, and ending the completely. This part of the book is great! (everyone loves a great revenge story).Then the final few pages get pretty sappy and "romantic". I understand romance a key aspect of this book, but the ending, which leaves a lasting impression, should be about the Count of Monte Cristo completing his vengeance. IMO, it eaves a pretty sappy taste..

Still a pretty great book though!
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on June 17, 2016
As always, Dumas excels at character and story development, allowing us to know what makes each character tick and their true motivations. His story lines are intricately complicated, but that is also what makes this novel a classic, and reading an abridged version would force the reader to miss much of the story and character developments. I would have loved to read it in just a day or two, however, my schedule just did not permit that. I'm re-reading it again, and I'm finding there were many details I am catching on the second reading which I missed the first go-around.
My high school French teacher (eons ago) gave us extra credit for reading any of Dumas' novels in the original French.
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on February 3, 2002
I first read this book in high school, and it is a great book. Unfortunately, this edition is, as far as I can tell, abridged, so it doesn't have the full story. I just finished reading this edition, and based on what I remember from my earlier reading, as well as conversations with another person who has read the work, this edition leaves things out. While I can find nothing indicating that this edition is abridged, I think it is, so I would suggest finding the full version if you are truly interested in the book.
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on May 24, 2010
This book is an example of perfect fiction writing. Its length is 5 times the average book and it still was not long enough! The story, the characters, the settings and the emotions enthralled me for days. I could not put it down. I was living the book as it took me to France, the mediterranean, Italy and every home, cave and mode of transportation detailed in exemplary fashion by Dumas. Without giving away the intrigue... This book is the story of a wronged young sailor and follows his life as he is imprisoned due to the actions of 3 jealous men. He lives in prison for an extended period of time, meeting a man who gives him hope and a life beyond his dreams. He escapes the horrid dungeon and seeks revenge on the 3 men who took away everything he ever hoped for. This book is amazing, it will not disappoint anyone. I cannot believe I did not read it before. Thank you Kindle for allowing me the pleasure of reading this book for free, however, it is worth paying for and sharing with anyone who loves to read.
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Though the unabridged version of this book tends to drag a bit here and there, e.g., the description of Dantes' renting horses in Italy, the story is absolutely top-notch.

Just in case you don't know this title, it's by the same author who wrote The Three Musketeers, and The Man in the Iron Mask, among others.

This is a take of love, covetousness, greed, deception, betrayal, and ultimately revenge. I don't want to give too much of the story away, but this book is absolutely fantastic!

5 stars all around.
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on April 20, 2017
Many years ago, in my youth, I read the Count of Monte Christo. Why I decided to read again is not known to me. I just wanted to. What I found was that the book I read when I was young was the abridged edition. This edition is unabridged . Just magnificent. So much more entertaining and fulfilling than the book I read is a youngster. Excellent translation. Just so much fun to read again
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on August 28, 2016
My son was required to read this as his summer reading book going into 10th grade (15yrs old). He doesn't like to read much. He started reading it and 3 hrs later my husband and I checked in on him. He told us that he liked the book and didn't want to stop. For us that's a 5 star situation. So, book received 5 stars!
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