Hi! Sorry for the long gap between posts, it’s been a busy few days and will be for the next week or so! Because of this, I’ve decided to just do a casual, easy, chatty post about one of my favourite books ever: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo! I included the photo above because I just love the way it’s designed.
I own six English translations of Les Mis. Not that I’m satisfied, I would still love to collect more editions of the novel.
The first edition I received was the Penguin Classics version, aka the translation by Norman Denny. I received this copy as a bribe from my sister so that she could borrow my favourite skirt for a party and I read it over and over, not even realising there were other translations out there.
Then I believe I bought the Hapgood translation, which is my favourite translation for style of language and characterisation, and I’d say my favourite translation overall.
The other translations I own are:
- Lee Fahnestock and Norman McAfee (1987)
- Julie Rose (2007)
- Christine Donougher (2013)
- Charles E. Wilbour (1862)
Out of the above, I’d say Julie Rose’s translation is the easiest to read – but at a cost of losing a lot of the beautiful language of Hapgood and a lot of updated modern language in its place. Donougher does much the same, although it is to a lesser extent. Wilbour’s translation is, in my opinion, rather heavy going, probably because it was appealing to a long-ago generation when published, and Fahnestock and McAfee’s is a nice, engaging version.