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Jul 2013 - Phantom of the Opera > Historical Accuracy

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message 1: by Melanti (new)

Melanti I have an annotated edition and the footnotes are really interesting in that it points out which bits of the book are based on historical fact.

For instance, when building the Opera house, there was a lot of groundwater that they pumped out of the site. When they couldn't dry it out, they drained the water into giant cisterns underneath the foundation. The amount of water they pumped out lead to rumors about an underground lake. The cisterns still exist today.

Some of the people named as informants did exist and did work for the opera at the time the book takes place. The operas mentioned were, for the most part, operas performed at the time.

The time capsule with phonograph recordings mentioned in the prologue and epilogue did exist, the 100 years have passed, and we've already listened to some of the recordings. (However, they were not buried by the lake, since there's no lake to bury them by. They were placed in a sealed storeroom in one of the basements.)

The indecent with the chandelier was, apparently, based on an actual historical event where the counterweights broke and it fell and killed a workman.

From trying to date the action by some of the events mentioned in the book, my editor came to the conclusion that the Phantom was an older man - at least 60 and probably older than that.

I found it interesting how much of the events/scenery did exist in reality, and thought I'd share. For the people reading the book a the time it was published, especially those in France, they'd probably remember reading about some of this in their newspapers!


message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) Melanti thanks for sharing that info. I agree that the history he incorporated is fascinating and made the story feel very real even though it is mostly fiction. I wasn't sure about the fiction part until I did research. That is a sign of effective writing. (o:


message 3: by Jeane, Book-tator (new)

Jeane (Pinkbookdragon) | 323 comments Wow! This is some great info! We're going to share it on the podcast!


message 4: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 208 comments I especially liked the bit about the chandelier. What a clever way to work that event into a story!


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