Count of Monte Cristo - Censorship

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Count of Monte Cristo - Censorship

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 19, 6:52 pm

EP has published two editions of Count of Monte Cristo. The 5 volume reprint of the 1887 first English edition by Routledge (translated by Joseph Blamire) and the current 4 volume set in a single volume reprint of the Heritage Press edition in 1941 under the watchful eye of George Macy. No mention is made of the translator. It has been brought to my attention that the current English editions may be censored to protect Victorian sensibilities and that only the modem Penguin edition is uncensored. In the past I recall comparing Eugene Sue’s Victorian English edition of Mysteries of Paris with the modern Penguin translation and shocked to see how severely the English edition had been bowdlerized.

So what about the Count? Do you have insights on the EP translation? Here is a commentary on the Penguin translation:

“Why Robin Buss' translation for Penguin Classics? That's a reasonable question since Alexandre Dumas has been dead long enough for his works to enter the public domain. Several translations of his major novels are not only available in cheaper editions (such as Barnes & Noble Classics), but for free on Project Gutenberg.

These are inferior and, in the case of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, censored translations. Most of them date back to the Victorian period, and render Dumas' evergreen French into English prose that feels old-fashioned and stilted today. Furthermore, because these are translations from the Victorian period, the translators filtered Dumas through their own moral sensibilities to give us Bowdlerized versions of a novel that ran on sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll a century before rock 'n roll was something you could do without a machine gun.

Robin Buss' unabridged translation comes directly from the original French and renders Dumas into fresh, readable modern English. Material previously omitted by Victorian-era translators such as Franz' hashish-fueled sexual fantasies and the strongly implied lesbian relationship between Eugenie and Louise remain intact and uncensored. As another reviewer pointed out, Buss will provide footnotes to explain subtleties that aren't easily translated from French to English, such as insults delivered by using the formal you (vous) rather than the informal/friendly/intimate you (tu).

A detailed appendix provides valuable historical and cultural context that aids the reader in understanding Dumas' masterpiece, and includes a primer on the rise, fall, return, and final downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte that is crucial to making sense of the politics driving the novel's plot.

If you cannot read Dumas in his native French, and you want a definitive English version, Robin Buss's unabridged and uncensored modern English translation is essential reading. No other translation will suffice.”

toukokuu 19, 7:43 pm

I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read the “Count,” but what you describe is true of almost all French literature that was translated during the Victorian era. Until recently, the most commonly read English translations of “20,000 Leagues” excised one-fourth of the original French edition, often because of homosexual innuendos.

My fear is that we are now entering another “Victorian” era in which classics are being altered to meet “political correctness” standards. Even James Bond novels are being “updated” to soften his treatment of women and foreigners.

toukokuu 19, 7:59 pm

>1 HugoDumas: I have the 4-volume set in a single EP volume reprint, with the illustrations of Lynd Ward. The English translation used for this Easton Press publication appears to be based on the anonymous 1846 Chapman & Hall version -- not the 1955 updated Collins version that omits the Chapter known as "The Past," which is, fortunately, included in this volume. This edition also includes the Count's references to his love of hashish (see Chapter 31, for example, in which the Count as Sinbad calls it "the ambrosia that Hebe served at the table of Jupiter.") But yes, if someone were to publish a nice leather-bound with the Robin Buss translation I would buy it immediately. "The Count" is one of my favorite novels.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 19, 9:41 pm

>3 Betelgeuse: Chapman and Hall are the culprits who severely censored Sue’s Mystery of Paris. I see that Penguin has a nice HC cloth edition of the Buss translation. Penguin makes nice HC editions which look fine on your bookshelf. Read their beautiful Middlemarch last year which has extensive footnotes.

The Count is my #2 favorite book and I have read both the single volume and 5 volume editions by EP. So for #3 read I will probably go with Buss.

Just compared EP versus Buss translation Chapter 31. Sadly EP is heavily censored.

toukokuu 19, 9:56 pm

>4 HugoDumas: are the bindings on the Penguin HCs sewn or glued?

toukokuu 19, 11:03 pm

>4 HugoDumas: The next time I want to re-read Count I will pick up the Penguin Buss. I would love it if EP or Folio Society did a Buss version.

toukokuu 19, 11:20 pm

>5 RRCBS: “The text block is glued (not sewn) but the pages are acid-free and they include coloured endpapers, head & tail bands, and a bound-in ribbon bookmark. The cover designs featured geometric patterns, intended to be symbolic of the nature of the texts as timeless pieces of literature.”

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