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Les Miserables
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Specific List Books > Les Miserables - Which edition?

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message 1: by Coqueline (last edited Feb 16, 2010 01:31PM) (new)

Coqueline | 28 comments I would consider myself an enthusiastic yet serious reader (no fan of Twilight or the such), but my classic repertoire is so far quite appalling (ironically for the same reason I avoid Twilight, I just can't ever enjoy a love story - tragic or otherwise). Recently my sister got a part on her college production of Les Mis, and her enthusiasm to the job piqued my interest on the book itself.

The problem is, I found out multiple editions and translations available out there on the English version, I'm not sure which to get. Any recommendation? Does anybody think it's also a better idea to get one separated in 4 volumes?


Eliza (elizac) | 77 comments I recently read the Signet Classics edition and really enjoyed it. If you are planning on toting the book around with you four different volumes might be nice because it really is huge. There is also a more modern translation by Julie Rose that might be easier to read but I've heard some critics say it's too modernized. I haven't read this one just repeating what I've heard.


message 3: by Coqueline (new)

Coqueline | 28 comments Thanks guys, now I know I probably don't want to read Wibour's translation.

Anybody read the Penguin edition with Norman Denny's translation?


Audrey (Audrey_G) I read the Signet translation and enjoyed it very much.


message 5: by P. (new) - rated it 5 stars

P. (shimizusan) | 96 comments I read the penguin classics edition, translation by Norman Denny. It was wonderful, highly recommended.


Amanda I accidently read an abridged version (I think it was a Penguin edition and hadn't noticed until I was in the middle of it)! I always double check to make sure a book is the unabridged version now - but I'll have to give Les Miserable a reread when I can get hold of a full text.


Laura Frey (Reading in Bed) (lauratfrey) I had to switch editions halfway through because I needed more time (library book), and WOW, what a difference. It was almost like reading two different books. I read Norman Dennys for the most part and loved it.


message 8: by Amanda (last edited Mar 15, 2011 02:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amanda Amazon offers a free unabridged Kindle edition translated by Isabel Hopgood. Does anyone know how this edition compares?


Linda Not sure how Hapgood's translation compares with others, but that's the version I'm using. Downloaded the audiobook so I could listen to it on my Ipod, after I realized my paperback copy was an abridgement.


Amanda I'd love to read it in french and hopefully one day I shall, but right now I'm struggling through Fontaine, let alone Hugo.


message 11: by Shirley (new) - added it

Shirley (shirleythekindlereader) | 19 comments I am listening to it thanks to

https://catalog.librivox.org/search.p...


Amanda Vincent wrote: "La Fontaine is great (we learned the fables at primary school and every children know at least one fables by heart), but language is quite hard (as well for Victor Hugo and all classic's writers).. you should try something more "modern". ..."

Any suggestions for a beginner? I've mostly been reading Asterix!


Amanda Thanks Vincent. I've read Le Petit Prince and I'll look up the Vian book. I guess I'll stick with the comics too!


JenniferD (booktrovert) I recently read this edition: Les Misérables; the Julie Rose translation for the Modern Library edition.

I strongly recommend this one. I read it as part of a group read and quite a few people had the same edition and enjoyed Rose's version. I didn't feel it to be "too modern" (as Eliza, in post #2 noted she had heard some criticisms to this effect).


message 15: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 110 comments When I was a real beginner in Spanish I found that the easiest books to read were ones that had been translated from the English for Spanish speakers. I remember enjoying an Agatha Christie novel. Other reading that was fairly enjoyable was Latin American
newspapers.


Amanda I was considering getting some children's novels I was familar with (i.e. Harry Potter/Dahl, etc.) to practise with, after all when I looked up Amazon.fr it kept recommending me english books anyway, but it felt like cheating, as if they weren't really french.


message 17: by Inder (new) - added it

Inder | 82 comments I don't have much to compare it to, but I am currently reading the Julie Rose translation and enjoying it. I had tried to read Les Mis before, in the Signet edition and found it harder going. This translation feels rich, but reads at a faster pace.

I do get hung up in the footnotes a lot, though! So many inside references to French history that I am not familiar with.


message 18: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate (lacommunarde) | 14 comments I like the hardcover unabridged version with the picture of Hugo looking unhappy on the front. It's truly the full edition (helpful for someone who likes the Friends of the ABCs and Gavroche best), doesn't bother trying to find a translation for "emeute," and leaves in all of Hugo's references (which are fun to look up!... and which kind of led to a major in undergrad...).

The only thing that would be better than this version would be a translation with explanations for most of the references Hugo drops (the version I read in French does this). Could anyone recommend one that does this?


message 19: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 61 comments Kate wrote: "...a translation with explanations for most of the references Hugo drops (the version I read in French does this)."

It says at the beginning of the notes section of the text I am reading: "fully to annotate Hugo's text would generate a second (and possibly a third) volume that would in all certainty be considerably longer than the novel itself." I guess that's why they don't do it...

I am just coming to the end of the first volume of the two-volume Wordsworth Classics edition Les Misérables: Volume One: v.1 of 2. It doesn't say who the translator is which seems like it should be a bad sign, but I'm enjoying it :-)


message 20: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate (lacommunarde) | 14 comments Rosemary wrote: "Kate wrote: "...a translation with explanations for most of the references Hugo drops (the version I read in French does this)."

It says at the beginning of the notes section of the text I am reading: "fully to annotate Hugo's text would generate a second (and possibly a third) volume that would in all certainty be considerably longer than the novel itself." I guess that's why they don't do it...


But it would be awesome if there was such a volume.


Mia Claire | 6 comments I read the Simon and Schuster Enriched Classic (Unabridged) edition. It's quite easy to understand and there are also helpful notes included.


message 22: by Inder (new) - added it

Inder | 82 comments The Julie Rose edition I'm reading does annotate a lot of Hugo's references. I'm sure if you did a really thorough job it would take additional volumes (just the endnotes on this one are BIG), but this translation does annotate references that you need to understand to read and understand the text, including lots of revolutionary and Napoleonic history.


message 23: by Inder (new) - added it

Inder | 82 comments So I know this is the "which edition?" thread, but I'm reading this right now, and just noticing how Hugo takes FOREVER (and a day) to set up a scene, going into insane detail and off into tangents of questionable value, 'till you're just wondering where it will lead, and then the pivotal scene comes, and it's powerful, succinct, and stunning, and you're left gasping for air.

Rinse repeat. :-)

I've read a lot of 19th century novels, but none quite like this.


message 24: by Assem (new) - added it

Assem  A. Hendawi (assemism) | 1 comments Amanda wrote: "Amazon offers a free unabridged Kindle edition translated by Isabel Hopgood. Does anyone know how this edition compares?"

Hi, I was about to begin reding the Hapgood's translation.. is it of any good?

If not then I'll be getting the Signet edition, lots of very good ratings.

about reading something in French, try L'etranger by Albert Camus, and it's not really that hard in vocabulary!


Aubrey (korrick) Inder wrote: "So I know this is the "which edition?" thread, but I'm reading this right now, and just noticing how Hugo takes FOREVER (and a day) to set up a scene, going into insane detail and off into tangents..."

Isn't it fantastic? I'm currently rereading it, and I had forgotten how well he does this, especially during his description of the Battle of Waterloo. People were dying, military strategies were morphing, my attention was flagging, and then at the very end of it he makes this gorgeous statement that no one remembers all these details. What England and German are remembered for are their famous authors, not their participation in wars. This fact wouldn't have been nearly as powerful if he hadn't gone through such a monumental set up. Simply amazing.


message 26: by Aliraluna (new)

Aliraluna Hello there can someone help me? I have in my wishlist in ebay vol. 1 and 2 but I don't know if is a good edition? Plus its suppose to be five volumes ... Perhaps they are all in that two volumes? I really want to know because I want to read most part of it before going to college as I will study literature this next year ! So excited and I loved the movie.


Mia Claire | 6 comments I read the Simon and Schuster Enriched Classics Edition and I liked it. The historical background, translation notes, and all those extra stuff included in the edition are really helpful. Plus, it is easy to understand. You won't spent a such long time reading it.


Mia Claire | 6 comments here, take a look:

http://books.simonandschuster.com/Les...

description:

EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:
• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information
• A chronology of the author's life and work
• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context
• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations
• Detailed explanatory notes
• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work
• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction
• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Mia Claire wrote: "I read the Simon and Schuster Enriched Classics Edition and I liked it. The historical background, translation notes, and all those extra stuff included in the edition are really helpful. Plus, it ..."

I find that edition for the Kindle, but it is an abridged version.

Enriched Classic edition

That edition has not been added to the GR database.


Mia Claire | 6 comments Oh I see. There must be some mistake with the cover because it says "Complete and Unabridged".


Elizabeth (Alaska) And there is something wrong with my link.

Amazon link to Enriched Classic


message 32: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 6 comments I have recently started this book, and have the Julie Rose Vintage Classics version, which is very good. It is easy to get lost in the footnotes, but they are amazingly informative. Only one-tenth of the way through, so will probably give my final opinion in a few weeks!


message 33: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 90 comments Anyone know anything about the free versions available on ibooks from apple? I was going to read the free one from bookbyte but I can't seem to find anything about whether it's a full version of Les Mis or not.

They also have released several other books that are on the list so I was going to read them instead of paying for the real thing but I want to make sure it's a complete version before I put in the effort.

I also have the Hapgood translation for Kindle since Amazon was offering it free recently (still might be) but I'm used to reading through ibooks rather than kindle so I'm being picky about the way I'm reading it.


message 34: by Aliraluna (new)

Aliraluna Mia Claire wrote: "I read the Simon and Schuster Enriched Classics Edition and I liked it. The historical background, translation notes, and all those extra stuff included in the edition are really helpful. Plus, it ..."

Oh hi there thanks a lot for the awesome info ;)) will look up to it


message 35: by Sera (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sera | 2 comments Andrea, there are two Hapgood translations on Kindle. The free one is the abridged version of the book. Then, there is another illustrated version for $2.99. I know because I made the initial mistake of getting the abridged version. I've switched now, and the other edition has illustrations, which are a lovely addition to the story. Plus, there is a great biography of Victor Hugo at the front of the book.


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi, I am a keen Les Mis fan, I played the harp in the school edition last year. I am also pretty much fluent in french and would really love to read the full version in french. does anyone know where I could get a copy? I have tried amazon but all they seem to have is the abridged version or english versions. Any help would be really appreciated! :)


message 37: by Liz M (new) - added it

Liz M Alexandra wrote: "Hi, I am a keen Les Mis fan, I played the harp in the school edition last year. I am also pretty much fluent in french and would really love to read the full version in french. does anyone know whe..."

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/searc...


David (deinonychus) | 246 comments Alexandra wrote: "Hi, I am a keen Les Mis fan, I played the harp in the school edition last year. I am also pretty much fluent in french and would really love to read the full version in french. does anyone know whe..."

The link Liz provided is what you need - although if you were looking for printed editions bear in mind that in France Les misérables is usually published in two or three volumes. This seems to be the cheapest of the several available:

Vol. 1: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Miserables-Fo...
Vol. 2: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Miserables-Fo...

The folio editions are also my favourite in terms of print quality of the many similar french pocket paperbacks

Hope this helps


Sissy Alexandra wrote: "Hi, I am a keen Les Mis fan, I played the harp in the school edition last year. I am also pretty much fluent in french and would really love to read the full version in french. does anyone know whe..."

you could try ordering online from barnes & nobles' equivalent in canada -> indigo/chapters. saw a couple copies on abebooks as well.


message 40: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 684 comments BBC Radio 4 Extra is starting a dramatization of the book this week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jmkt

Description:

Shunned on leaving jail, Jean Valjean is tempted back into crime. Dramatisation of Victor Hugo's epic novel with Joss Ackland.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Kirsten wrote: "BBC Radio 4 Extra is starting a dramatization of the book this week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jmkt

Description:

Shunned on leaving jail, Jean Valjean is tempted back into crime. Drama..."


Which has nothing to do with this topic which relates to translation.

I read, I don't listen to BBC radio nor watch movies/TV.


Ann A (readerann) | 85 comments Kirsten wrote: "BBC Radio 4 Extra is starting a dramatization of the book this week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jmkt

Description:

Shunned on leaving jail, Jean Valjean is tempted back into crime. Drama..."


Thanks for the tip, Kirsten. I discovered BBC Radio 4 while visiting the U.K, and now listen quite often on the Internet. Real quality programming.


Nicola | 771 comments Kirsten wrote: "BBC Radio 4 Extra is starting a dramatization of the book this week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jmkt

Description:

Shunned on leaving jail, Jean Valjean is tempted back into crime. Drama..."


Kirsten you are amazing, you always seem to know all these sorts of things. You don't do this for a job by any chance do you?


Elizabeth (Alaska) Nicola wrote: "Kirsten you are amazing, you always seem to know all these sorts of things. You don't do this for a job by any chance do you? "

Ever heard of Google? And I'll bet the BBC radio site is searchable. But why would anyone care about this? How much time do you have to read versus listening about not reading.


message 45: by Nicola (last edited May 19, 2015 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nicola | 771 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Nicola wrote: "Kirsten you are amazing, you always seem to know all these sorts of things. You don't do this for a job by any chance do you? "

Ever heard of Google? And I'll bet the BBC radio site..."


Well I find it interesting. But even if I didn't I wouldn't object to someone else finding it so.


message 46: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda | 278 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "But why would anyone care about this? How much time do you have to read versus listening about not reading."

I read as well as listen to radio and watch movies on occasion. And I appreciate many of the links that Kirsten has provided, along with other users on Goodreads who post links that are relevant to particular books I am interested in. It's convenient to come across these links as I'm poking about Goodreads as I don't often take the time to go on a separate search to find this stuff on my own.


message 47: by LDB (new) - rated it 5 stars

LDB | 54 comments I appreciate these links too. We live in a multi-media world and even when I don't have time to listen or watch something (or read something, for that matter) it is nice to know these things are out there and what others think of them.


Alanna R. | 4 comments This is a very old thread, but in case someone stumbles across it, I have to add in my two cents!

Right off the bat, I want to say that the two translations that are acknowledged by most fans of the book to be the best, myself included, are the Fahnestock/McAfee translation, and the Donougher translation. F/MA is good if you're up for it, but I recommend Donougher. It's much easier to get through. The Fahnestock/McAfee translation is the little grey one with the famous drawing of Cosette on the cover, and the Donougher translation is a white paperback with these gorgeous blue and red illustrations. Both are, unfortunately, paperback, but I promise you, it's better to have a good paperback than a bad hardcover. I think there are other editions of the Donougher translation, but they don't seem to be very common.

DO NOT get Hapgood. Ugh, it's public domain, so I've read bits and pieces, and it's just about the laziest translation ever. Hapgood puts no effort into preserving Hugo's nuance. While I will defend the Denny translation as a book in its own right (the prose is absolutely gorgeous), Denny inexplicably changes and removes things just because he feels like it. It's unfortunate, because he's a good translator, but it's a horrible translation. I've heard that Rose is alright, but oddly modern, and Wilbour is meh.

Definitely recommend the two at the top.


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