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Les Misérables (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – July 14, 2009
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“Lively, dramatic, and wonderfully readable.” —Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Foreign Affairs
“Splendid . . . The magnificent story [is] marvelously captured in this new unabridged translation.”—Denver Post
“Rich and gorgeous. This is the [translation] to read. . . . If you are flying, just carry it under your arm as you board, or better still, rebook your holiday and go by train, slowly, page by page.” —Jeanette Winterson, The Times, London
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WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ADAM THIRLWELL --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Graham Robb, the biographer of Hugo, found numerous serious errors in this translation incl. that the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a butt of malmsey ("une tonne de malvoisie"), rather than Rose's ridiculous "a tun of marsala" and that the "sacre" of Charles X was his coronation not his "consecration". Marius was not "fierce" with pretty girls (Rose) but "shy" ("farouche"). And on and on. An amateur but arrogant production all the way, and a real disgrace.
The original Wilbour translation, which was quite respectable, was revised and corrected by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAffe for Signet some years ago. It is still available and is by every standard superior.Read more ›
I was 26 years old and had never read such a sprawling narrative that commanded my attention like a murder mystery. Jean Valjean was Everyman, and so Hugo's heart touched mine. I read his prose like someone starving for inspiration and story, and read both. As I recall, I read the Penguin edition, circa 1984. It was stirring, clear, compelling.The dialogue doetailed beautifully between the French idiom and American English.
I never saw the musical of the same name, but respect those who did.
Then Julie Rose's version was published, and after reading snippets of some pivotal chapters, I had to purchase a copy, and I'm thrilled I did. Rose's translation is more arresting than the version I read so many years ago, than those I've examined since. Some translators don't "get" idiomatic phrases in a source language, and so much of what we say to one another is idiomatic, and cannot be translated literally.
Rose understands both the idiom and the importance of immediacy in THE Romantic novel of the modern Western canon. Jean Valjean's story is one of fateful coincidence, loss, fear, grief and redemption. Hugo's sub-plots are extensive and yet, unlike the Russian masters, he weaves these into the central narrative seamlessly.
If you love political suspense, mystery, romance, and an author's sheer ability to tell a very long story and give it wings, please purchase this version.Read more ›
The main problem I have with this edition is that it doesn't exactly supply the right emotional depth that was in the original. I first read the Signet Classics edition, which is very literally translated at times during the dialogue, but translates the meaning behind the characters' words very well. In that edition, the dialouge seemed stilted but gave a better tone to every scene. Julie Rose's dialogue is easier to read and sounds right to American readers, but she often makes changes and additions to Hugo's writing that don't feel right. To me, it sometimes fails to convey the emotion behind the scene. Making something easier to read should not be the main goal of the translator. And while she mentions in her introduction that the book was very dear to her and she was careful in rewriting it, there are some moments in the book when the writing seems awkward even if you're reading it for the first time. Compare referring to someone as 'a beautiful slab of marble' to 'a beautiful statue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing! This has become my favorite book! I love this story of redemption and reconciliation. It is truly a timeless classic.Published 3 months ago by M. J. Sauder
I advise those perusing these reviews to take with a measure of salt the dogmatic pronunciations on the quality of Rose's translation. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Michael Powe
George Guidall's reading is absolutely brilliant, as always, but Ms. Rose's translation leaves something to be desired. Read morePublished 9 months ago by periphron
As you are likely already aware, this magnificent story is Epic (with a capital "E"), entertaining and evocative. Read morePublished 9 months ago by W Perry Hall
I really don't have much to say about the content of the book besides that in my opinion, it's one of the greatest stories ever told, and that the many many adaptations of this... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Peter
My grandmother recommended this book to me when I was a child, and I've read oher translations and watched the movies. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Barbara Lamar
Best edition of the best story every written in my opinion. I would give it ten stars if I could.Published 17 months ago by MRT