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The Red and the Black: A Novel of Post-Napoleonic France Paperback – February 16, 2004
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“Raffel’s Père Goriot is both faithful and beautiful, and that makes it a masterpiece.” —Alain Renoir
“I predict that this translation will give Balzac’s great novel a new life for English and American readers. . . . The definitive translation for this generation.” —Peter Brooks
“[Raffel’s] translation has the vigor and elasticity of Balzac’s style, and catches with uncanny accuracy the tone of the period.” —Guy Davenport
For Cervantes’s Don Quijote
“[Raffel’s Don Quijote] recasts the original into lively English, without losing the complexity and flavor of the Spanish. . . . This Quijote flows smoothly and reads, in fact, like original prose rather than a translation.” —Adrienne Martin --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
BURTON RAFFEL is a distinguished professor of humanities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His many translations include Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel, winner of the 1991 French-American Foundation Translation Prize, Chretien de Troyes's Arthurian Romances, Cervantes's Don Quijote, and Balzac's Pere Goriot. His translation of Beowulf has sold more than a million copies.
DIANE JOHNSON Is the author of ten novels--most recently Le Mariage and Le Divorce--two books of essays, two biographies, and the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick's classic film "The Shining," She has been a finalist four times for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Top Customer Reviews
In addition, it is about a man who is pulled by two opposing forces: an ambition to gain power (either through the church or state; it matters little to him which), and intense passions that are in his heart. He realizes from a young age that in order to succeed in the world, he must master the art of hypocrisy. And as he reaches the age where he first begins to explore his passions, this desire for hypocrisy and conquest get horribly mixed up, leading to horrendous self-analysis on the part of the main character, followed by equally strange actions. The personality of the characters are wonderfully believable--the interactions of these people, full of all sorts of emotions and ideas, are a good study in interpersonal dynamics (in a sort of extreme case) and emotional growth. The characters are alive, they grow and learn, and their excesses of suffering and joy make this a page-turner. To sum up: a well-written, engaging work that depicts 19th century power struggles, incredibly interesting characters, and a few ideas about life to chew on as well.
However, S-M's translation may be closer to Stendhal's convoluted style (ironically, Stendhal's writing was, I believe, considered straightforward in his time). I've read the book in the original French - as a learning exercise - and it seems to me that S-M's work is a bit closer to the original. I'm no scholar, not a native French speaker nor a translator either, so I won't venture down that road very far.
Anyhow, if you're looking for a good translation with a modern feel, I'd go with Raffel's. It's pricier (still cheap though), but I believe you'd get far more enjoyment and more of a connection with the book as a novel, rather than as a literary artifact from a long-past era.
Actually, why not get both versions? S-M's translation is only a dollar and not without an antiquarian charm.
Having read Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma The Charterhouse of Parma (Penguin Classics), I find this book to be more of a pleasure to read. The translation may be more modern, but I was looking to avoid some of the older writing styles. Even so I would love to know if there was a better translation of whatever French word was returned as "Wiseacres".
One does not hear or read the word 'droll' very often. (Dictionary.com: amusing in an odd way; whimsically humorous; waggish.) Droll is down played, roguish rather than slapstick. The wink of a non-glinting eye. Definitely not a pie in the face. Directed to the mind, not the belly. It seems perfect for a certain type of French humor and it is here in Red and The Black.
In order to appreciate droll humor, one must have a fairly deep understanding of the context of the joke. In This case much of the humor is based on class, politics, education, religious orders and French life at the time of the story.
All of this begs for Annotation. As near as I can tell, the Kindle edition has no annotation. Non-English quotes are not translated. Political parties are not identified. References to possibly real newspapers, events or people are not discussed. Even some details on church titles and hierarchies would help.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can't read French. I am sure this book is better than the translation.Published 1 month ago by Gaye
This book reads like a Rolls Royce on a newly paved road. This book could very well be among the top five novels ever written, right alongside that of Homer's Odyssey. Read morePublished 9 months ago by OlDavyBoy
All that this book contains is a couple lines of text indicating the writer was reading THE RED AND AND THE BLACK, and a link to a website ... A SCAM! Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. A. I.
You could definately tell Tolstoy was influenced by Stendhal. I was expecting a little more, maybe I set my standards too high. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Gabriel Garcia
I would have given it 5 stars. The Red and the Black is a definitely a classic. But the poor translation does not do justice to Stendhal's sharp and ironic analysis of the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by R.A.L
The print in this book is so small, one needs a magnifying glass to read it! Impossible to keep reading. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Lisa O. Stearns
Loved this book. The first time I got acquinted with the book was when it was on the radio presented as a recording done by actors, beautiful and I could not wait for the next... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Edyta Brzeczkowska