The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

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The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:23 pm

So I doubt I'm actually going to read another translation as I prefer just reading the original, but who knows, it might be worthwhile in studying for the sake of comparing it to the four versions published so far (De Mattos, Bair, Wolf & Lofficier). Anyway, its publication date is supposed to be 26 November, but for some reason my pre-ordered copy from Amazon has already been dispatched, so I'm likely to get it before then. So this is a heads up who wants it asap that Amazon (the UK one at least) is dispatching it early! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phantom-Opera-Pocket-Penguin-Classics/dp/0141035935/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258718033&sr=1-1

Here's the rather nice red cover:


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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:19 pm

That's a very simple, yet classy and proper cover. And I love how it not reflects/relates to Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical at all. I'll definitely seek out this one, as my French skills is limited to order food and such...

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:17 pm

operafantomet wrote:That's a very simple, yet classy and proper cover. And I love how it not reflects/relates to Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical at all. I'll definitely seek out this one, as my French skills is limited to order food and such...

There is *some* ALW influence as there's a half-mask on the spine. But nothing other than that. Also you can't see it very well in the pic above (you can make it out though), but behind the Phantom's silhouette on the cover there's a drawing of the Paris Opera House roof, which is cool.

EDIT: Pic so you can see what I mean...





Much more complete than the De Mattos one (obviously); you can tell it's been translated directly from the original. Lots of the passages that de Mattos omitted/amended are back as Leroux wrote them. Though it's a shame it misses out stuff by default that people seem to have forgotten about (e.g. the "missing" chapter I found). Disappointingly there's no introduction, appendix or annotations. Suppose I should offer one because Dr False-Information Flynn gets his hands on it and ruins it.

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:06 am

OMG Just randomly found out that Mireille Ribière will be presenting her new translation at a special book launch to commemorate the centenary in London on Thursday evening! Guess that means operafantomet can't go if she's seeing the ALW show again (so glad now that I opted to see that on the Wednesday!), but would be good to see others there! I'm definitely going, cancelling whatever else I had on that day. Laughing Admission is free and they'll be screening the Lon Chaney film afterwards.

It starts at 7:30pm at the Institut français (nearest Tube is South Kensington).

Here are the details: http://www.institut-francais.org.uk/talks/talks/centenary-gaston-leroux.html

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:15 am

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!




(the sound of agony)

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Phantomlove on Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:44 am

Oooo Janne, what a choice to have to make afro . Good luck sunny .

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Raphael on Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:47 am

Scorp wrote:OMG Just randomly found out that Mireille Ribière will be presenting her new translation at a special book launch to commemorate the centenary in London on Thursday evening! Guess that means operafantomet can't go if she's seeing the ALW show again (so glad now that I opted to see that on the Wednesday!), but would be good to see others there! I'm definitely going, cancelling whatever else I had on that day. Laughing Admission is free and they'll be screening the Lon Chaney film afterwards.

It starts at 7:30pm at the Institut français (nearest Tube is South Kensington).

Here are the details: http://www.institut-francais.org.uk/talks/talks/centenary-gaston-leroux.html

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Oh, man. That would be an awesome event to attend!

I expect a full report when you get back from it, Scorp!

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Madame Giry on Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:50 pm

Raphael wrote:
Oh, man. That would be an awesome event to attend!

I expect a full report when you get back from it, Scorp!

R.

Seconded! That sounds like a great event. Don't forget to take pics, too!

~Madame~

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:35 pm

I've read much of the new translation now (spent the night at an airport...), and I must say I like it a lot. I also like how some of the characters (especially Carlotta and her voice) is more fleshed out. At least I can't remember having read it before in the other English versions I have. Also a nice flow in the language, I think I could recommend this book to eventual non-phan friends who wants to read the Leroux novel.

The presentation was cool, and the translator promised that a second version will be released next autumn, this time with footnotes. Interesting!

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Raphael on Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:11 am

Second edition with footnotes? Hmm. Think I'll wait around for that one.

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Madame Giry on Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:01 pm

See, I kinda wish that they would release only one edition with the footnotes already, instead of having two separate releases. I mean, I don't imagine that an annotated edition would cost all that much more. Also, going off of Raph, I think it's a bad idea to release two editions because once phans hear about the annotated one, many are going to hold off until it's released instead of buying the unannotated edition.

Oh well, I'm glad to hear that it sounds like a good translation though and am excited to take a crack at it when the time comes. Smile

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:25 am

Madame Giry wrote:See, I kinda wish that they would release only one edition with the footnotes already, instead of having two separate releases. I mean, I don't imagine that an annotated edition would cost all that much more. Also, going off of Raph, I think it's a bad idea to release two editions because once phans hear about the annotated one, many are going to hold off until it's released instead of buying the unannotated edition.
No, phans (read: me) are stupid enough to buy both... Laughing

But I agree with you, I wish the footnote one would be released right away. But it seems like she still did research, and it also seems she did it more thoroughly than what one would expect of one specializing in post-1960 French literature...

I took some notes at the presentation, but I'm not sure I understand all of them now, so long after... Anyway, we went to the library of the French Institute in South Kensington, a rather posh area of London. The translator Mireille Ribière talked a bit. They then showed the Chaney POTO movie, and there were questions asked afterwards.

Ribière said that she found it hard, as a native French speaker, to translate something into English (though you could tell by her accent she had lived in the UK for a long time). She had worked hard on the dialogues, which she said she had to "soften up" a bit, but she had made both husband and friends read chapters and come with feedback to get the language flow nicely. In my opinion (but then as a native Norwegian speaker) she's succeeded in this, the translation has a nice flow in it.

She also said she found it hard to see what had actually been translated of Leroux in general in the past. This was due to his less successful titles, which were often "improved" when translated, and could be renamed into something completely different. But she had consulted previous POTO translations to see what route they took and how they "interpreted" the novel. According to her, many are closer to the Chaney film than to Leroux (!) in style; she meant Leroux is not so gothic thriller in style as earlier translations has been. POTO is often mentioned along with Dracula, Wurthering Heights and Frankenstein, but these were written in another century after all (Dracula though being closer).

One thing she had tried to emphasize in her own translation was the idea of the opera house itself being one of the main characters. I like that view on the story, and I think I agree. It's easy to cut or skip details on how the Palais Garnier appeared, but then you also cut stuff about one of the leads... Leroux's main (general) description early in the book was apparently lifted from a 19th century thesis about European opera houses (!), but he also has lots of independent descriptions which are spot-on.

She also nuanced the idea of a love triangle a bit, describing it instead as two strong love stories entwining; the impossible love story makes it possible for the other to happen. Not sure where the difference is, but I found the Erik/Christine story to be a tad more fleshed out in this translation, and I liked it.

An interesting aspect which I haven't noticed before (and haven't checked if it's true either, so I choose to believe her) is that all operas Leroux mentions are foreshadowings of stuff that will happen in the POTO novel. I don't think this has been commented on before?

Lastly, she thought the role of Christine was interesting. As she saw it, Erik empowers Christine, which she found rather modern. She fleshed this out a bit, but silly me didn't write down details... Do any of you remember more of this, Scorp and Josephine?

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:43 am

A part I don't think I've seen in other English translations is between "A visit to box 5" and "The masked ball". Carlotta is receiving a letter written in red ink, making her loose her appetite. This is usually included. But what isn't included is the description of Carlotta's voice, which I found very interesting:

"Carlotta posessed neither heart nor soul. She was merely an instrument - a wonderful instrument, but an instrument nevertheless! Her repertoire included everything that might benefit an ambitious diva, be it the work of German, Italian or French masters. Until then she had never sung out of tune nor lacked the vocal strength demanded by any part in her vast repertoire. In short, the said instrument was wide-ranging, powerful and perfectly tuned. But no-one could have said to Carlotta what Rossini told Krauss after she had sung "Selva opaca" in German for him: "You sing with your soul, my child, and your soul is beautiful".

Oh, where was your soul, Carlotta, when you danced in the brothels of Barcelona? Where was it later, in Paris, when you performed coarse, roistering songs in seedy music-halls? And again, where was your soul when you let that supple and extraordinary instrument of yours - which could sing, with equal perfection, of sublime love and orgiastic pleasure - demean itself by performing in the salon of one of your lovers? O Carlotta, if you had ever possessed a soul and come to lose it, you would have found it again when you became Juliette, when you sang Elvira, Ophelia or Marguerite! For others have risen from lower depths than you did and were purified by art, attended by love."
(Page 97 in Ribière's translation)

This is what crucially separates Christine and Carlotta in Leroux's novel. Christine sings with her heart and soul, AS WELL as being a magnificent instrument. Before the Phantom/Angel came to her, she sung pretty, but dull. He gave her song a breathe of air, gave her music wings, oui? The new translation have these kind of tidbits, where the characters are more fleshed out. Maybe that's why I'm liking it as much as I do?

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:23 pm

I have to say I was impressed by Mireille Ribière's talk (wasn't so impressed by the man from the Institut français at the beginning who was complaining that people who go to see the musical don't know who Gaston Leroux is; if anything his profile would be even lower if it weren't for the musical!). I was ready to rip her to pieces and interrogate her about everything (and I sort of did on the latter point), yet she struck me as someone very professional and who knew what she was doing. Many of the things she said in her talk I absolutely agree with, and it's delightful to find that her research is pretty solid and is not the total hack job that Leonard Wolf gave us. I ended up bitching about Wolf's translation at the end to her...she seemed a bit taken a back and said we should still probably respect it despite his zillion-and-one mistakes, but I refused to, lol. Laughing

operafantomet wrote:
She also said she found it hard to see what had actually been translated of Leroux in general in the past. This was due to his less successful titles, which were often "improved" when translated, and could be renamed into something completely different. But she had consulted previous POTO translations to see what route they took and how they "interpreted" the novel. According to her, many are closer to the Chaney film than to Leroux (!) in style; she meant Leroux is not so gothic thriller in style as earlier translations has been. POTO is often mentioned along with Dracula, Wurthering Heights and Frankenstein, but these were written in another century after all (Dracula though being closer).

I agree with Ribière there. That's my pet peeve with many of the introductions to the Teixera de Mattos translation in various editions...everyone treats the novel as if it were a straightforward Gothic horror novel, which it's not. There is certainly a Gothic horror influence, but I wouldn't go so far as saying that Le Fantôme de l'Opéra is a Gothic novel. It's more fin-de-siècle pre-surrealist than Gothic. People often read the Gothicness into it after watching adaptations like the Lon Chaney film and the Lloyd Webber musical, which ARE heavily Gothic.

operafantomet wrote:One thing she had tried to emphasize in her own translation was the idea of the opera house itself being one of the main characters. I like that view on the story, and I think I agree. It's easy to cut or skip details on how the Palais Garnier appeared, but then you also cut stuff about one of the leads...

Yeah, I totally agree with that...cf. Isabelle Husson-Casta's comments in her various academic commentaries on the book ("Le fantôme, c'est l'Opéra lui-même"). Ethan Freeman and Susan Kay have made similar observations. Hence why I don't really personally like it when they stick the Phantom in non-existent or different opera houses, because the story is so heavily based on one particular building and its idiosyncracies (another reason for me to despise Joel Schumacher's Opéra Populaire... Neutral ).

operafantomet wrote:Leroux's main (general) description early in the book was apparently lifted from a 19th century thesis about European opera houses (!), but he also has lots of independent descriptions which are spot-on.

Leroux lifted loads. The passage in question she says comes from something from 1896, I'll have to check that. But I already can find two or three other passages that he lifted straight out of documents and newspapers, plus of course the Little Lotte story turned out to be a Scandinavian poem (although Ribière didn't seem aware of that...we decided not to tell her, hehe). I've also found a couple of lines that he's blatantly borrowed from Balzac too (who incidentally was one of his favourite authors). One other example Ribière cited was the sentence "C’était l’heure tranquille où les machinistes vont boire", which is pretty much a straight lift out of poem by none other than Victor Hugo (see line 21 of this poem), except he's cheekily replaced "lions" by "machinists"!

Speaking of humour, I'm very glad she brought up the point that Leroux's Phantom is also very comic and often hilarious. Interestingly, she thinks that one of the reasons readers identify with Erik is because of his slapstick comedy. I have to say it does make him endearing. Leroux's comedy often undercuts the lyricism, though, so the book never takes itself too seriously and is certainly not as serious as something like ALW's version, which I would argue does have its humour too, albeit not as much and not as obvious.

Re lifting, another very good point she made is that Leroux's style in the book is very much based on pastiche. I suppose in that respect he shares a lot with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Hence relevant passages willr be done in the style of Conan Doyle, Hugo, Poe, Balzac, Stendhal etc etc. Interestingly, Ribière said she tried to keep that style of pastiche in her translation.

operafantomet wrote:She also nuanced the idea of a love triangle a bit, describing it instead as two strong love stories entwining; the impossible love story makes it possible for the other to happen. Not sure where the difference is, but I found the Erik/Christine story to be a tad more fleshed out in this translation, and I liked it.

According to what I noted down (yay for finding a use for that Palais Garnier notebook! Hehe! Smile ), she said she preferred to think of the story as less of a love triangle, and more like two parallel stories where one relationship fails in order to allow the other one to succeed. I guess it's pretty much the same idea... Neutral

Hilariously, she has no time for Raoul in the novel, whom she calls one-dimensional and "just a pretty boy". She's right. Raoul is actually better characterised in other versions, IMHO.

operafantomet wrote:An interesting aspect which I haven't noticed before (and haven't checked if it's true either, so I choose to believe her) is that all operas Leroux mentions are foreshadowings of stuff that will happen in the POTO novel. I don't think this has been commented on before?

I'm sure it has. I mean, Phantom pretty much IS Faust with an extra twist. And if you look at what Christine actually sings on stage before she gets kidnapped/vanished, it's pretty relevant to the situation. Jerrold Hogle also notes that the use of Otello during the unmasking scene is important, not only because of the connotations of jealousy and rage, but also because it emphasises the point about the Phantom being an outsider, an Autre.

Lastly, she thought the role of Christine was interesting. As she saw it, Erik empowers Christine, which she found rather modern. She fleshed this out a bit, but silly me didn't write down details... Do any of you remember more of this, Scorp and Josephine?


Yes, actually. Basically she was saying that Erik being the 'Voice' was significant insofar as breath = life, and this also has sexual connotations. It's basically linked to the 'I am the mask you wear/It's me they hear' idea. All makes sense as Erik seems to give life in the book to so many things, e.g. he revives dead Daddy Daaé at Perros. As an aside, note that after Christine's triumph as Marguerite she tells him she is dead after having given her soul. It's only when Erik empowers her that she's truly alive, at least as long as while she's under her spell. I find this all very ironic given that Erik is basically portrayed as death incarnate. I actually have written in detail about this in an article that will be published next year in a journal called Spicilège in France (shamelessly plugging self Razz ). It's currently being translated into French by someone...wanted to get it out in English first, but oh well.

There were some other points she made about Leroux's interest in anarchists who were quite prominent at the time, which I also agree entirely with because you see the effect of that in Leroux's other works. She also said that it wasn't her own pet project but Penguin actually approached her. Why? Well, what would increase sales in the book next year? That's right, LND. Suppose it has to be good for something. Rolling Eyes

Really bad blurry pic (sorry) of her talking at the launch: http://pk.gd/KtR

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Phantomlove on Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:02 pm

Thanks for your reports Scorp and Operafantomet. It seems to have been a great thing to go to. I'm hoping to get this translation for Christmas and look forward to the annotated version too.

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:47 am

Phantomlove wrote:Thanks for your reports Scorp and Operafantomet. It seems to have been a great thing to go to. I'm hoping to get this translation for Christmas and look forward to the annotated version too.
Very happy I could make it. I was originally to see POTO with Josephine, but we decided the opportunity was too tempting to not change our plans. It was surprisingly few people there, maybe 15-17 in total, but very interesting to hear the translator's own thoughts on the novel and her work. She seemed to be rather fond of Leroux, and that was nice to hear. Especially since it was way out of her interest field in the beginning (she deals with very new French literature).

But the guy introducing her was odd! He said that that just didn't made sense, like at ALL!

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Phantomlove on Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:34 pm

I have to admit I would have thought you had been crazy if you'd missed a unique opportunity like that, even if it had been for seeing the show afro . Nice to hear about someone who really likes Leroux as opposed to those two arrogant English gentlemen connected with the show ("it's a confused book", "he is all over the shop with it", "a jolly good plot and rather badly written" comes to mind), it's not like they would have a great show if it wasn't for Leroux.

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  IamErik771 on Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:54 pm

Ooh, what an awesome opportunity! I'm glad the three of you got to attend, and also grateful that you're letting us all know about what the translator said at the event. I agree with many of her perspectives and will be very interested to read her translation. (And yeah, I'll likely wait for the annotated version as well. Very Happy)

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  ML6 on Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:18 am

I am very tempted to get this new translation. I have the other versions. Is it honestly more fleshed out? I'm not looking for different words being used, is what I'm trying to say. Smile

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:09 pm

Isabelle Husson-Casta, the French academic who's written 2 books on Le Fantôme and numerous articles, has just told me that she's actually contributed partially to Ribière's annotated edition that's due out some time this year.  


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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Phantom Shadowwalker on Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:49 am

Wow! Now I really want this translation! And damn, I told Mom to wait till *next* year for the annotated version. Now I'm wishing I hadn't!

Anyway, thanks, Scorp, Operaphantomette and Josephin for the report-back! Awesome! What an awesome event! I wish I could have been there! I really like her take on the novel, and I can't wait to read it!

Scorp. When your article's published, will it be available in electronic form? I'd love to read it!

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:12 pm

Phantomlove wrote:Scorp. When your article's published, will it be available in electronic form? I'd love to read it!
.

Replacing my original reply to this post with a new one; the answer is probably sooner than I had expected. The article in question is already scheduled for publication in France at the end of this year/beginning of next, but it was drawn to my attention recently that there's so little criticism of Phantom in English that having it published in the UK might be worthwhile...in which case it will almost definitely be available electronically seeing as most journals are digitised these days. I need to get cracking on writing something new, as there's so much material I've got since I wrote that piece.

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:57 pm

ML6 wrote:I am very tempted to get this new translation. I have the other versions. Is it honestly more fleshed out? I'm not looking for different words being used, is what I'm trying to say. Smile
Can't someone else comment on this? I feel I'm nagging on about how much I liked this translation? Someone else MUST have read it by now?

But yes, I found the story more fleshed out. There are pieces of various chapters I've never read before (i have two different English translations), for example the part describing Carlotta's voice and background, which I posted previously. There are also stuff about the other characters which I swear I haven't read before, although I would have to browse though the book to remember what it was.

But please - someone else? Opinions?

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:58 pm

Scorp wrote:Isabelle Husson-Casta, the French academic who's written 2 books on Le Fantôme and numerous articles, has just told me that she's actually contributed partially to Ribière's annotated edition that's due out some time this year.

[Snip - I'm scared of who's reading this thread!]

Good thing I didn't quote you! *whistles innocently*

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  ML6 on Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:07 am

operafantomet wrote:
ML6 wrote:I am very tempted to get this new translation. I have the other versions. Is it honestly more fleshed out? I'm not looking for different words being used, is what I'm trying to say. Smile
Can't someone else comment on this? I feel I'm nagging on about how much I liked this translation? Someone else MUST have read it by now?

But yes, I found the story more fleshed out. There are pieces of various chapters I've never read before (i have two different English translations), for example the part describing Carlotta's voice and background, which I posted previously. There are also stuff about the other characters which I swear I haven't read before, although I would have to browse though the book to remember what it was.

But please - someone else? Opinions?

Okay lady, I'm going to get it (closer to my B-Day). Smile

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  Scorp on Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:43 am

ML6 wrote:
operafantomet wrote:
ML6 wrote:I am very tempted to get this new translation. I have the other versions. Is it honestly more fleshed out? I'm not looking for different words being used, is what I'm trying to say. Smile
Can't someone else comment on this? I feel I'm nagging on about how much I liked this translation? Someone else MUST have read it by now?

But yes, I found the story more fleshed out. There are pieces of various chapters I've never read before (i have two different English translations), for example the part describing Carlotta's voice and background, which I posted previously. There are also stuff about the other characters which I swear I haven't read before, although I would have to browse though the book to remember what it was.

But please - someone else? Opinions?

Okay lady, I'm going to get it (closer to my B-Day). Smile

At this point, it's probably worth waiting for the annotated edition to come out (not least because I get a mention or two. Razz ).

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:54 am

So owning both books is a bad idea, is that what you're saying? Smile

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  ML6 on Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:59 pm

Oh, god d*mn, so I gotta wait for this other one to come out just to see Scorp's name mentioned? Very well. I'll wait for that one.

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  ghostwritten on Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:58 pm

Wow - thanks, you guys, for posting reviews. I'm buying this now, since I had no idea a new English translation was even available and I have all the others.

It's currently only available from other sellers on Amazon - does that mean the annotated version is already in the works?

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Re: The new Penguin translation by Mireille Ribière

Post  operafantomet on Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:23 pm

ghostwritten wrote:Wow - thanks, you guys, for posting reviews. I'm buying this now, since I had no idea a new English translation was even available and I have all the others.

It's currently only available from other sellers on Amazon - does that mean the annotated version is already in the works?
It's about to be finished these days, isn't it? But I think it'll be published later his year. I hope Ribeille's translation will eventually replace the other ones. I knew they were bad, but I never realized just HOW bad they were... The new one is a gem, she's captured the essence of the story very well.

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