Reading the Classics: Which Translation?

The 1987 Signet Edition with translation by Fahnestock & MacAfee

So, I’ve created a category to track all of my classic literature reads this year.  That’s my project this year. I’m on a mission to read as many of them as I can. I’ve bought new and used copies of so many great titles. I don’t know if I’ll ever read another crime novel again. Just kidding. I still love to read a good crime novel but I’m enjoying the classics now. I’ve decided to tackle Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and I’m reading the definitive and unabridged Signet Edition published in 1987. The length of the book is 1469 pages long (without the Afterword) and it would be the longest book I’ve ever read. Just if you’re wondering, the last big book I read was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke which was 782 pages long. Very good reading! Edited to add: No, I read Stephen King’s The Stand, which was 1200 pages. Not so good reading.

I went looking up the best translators and found that many people enjoy Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee based off the C.E. Wilbour translation. I’ve heard Wilbour’s translation is stilted and hard to follow but true to the original text. You almost have to find a copy where there’s a balance  between readability while keeping close to the original story. It’s tricky work and readers have their favorites. Julie Rose came up  but someone described her translation as the MTV version.  I’ve discussed this topic-translations- before and can no longer find it so I’ve searched out opinions on what’s the best translation for some of these earlier books. In a reader poll for Hugo’s book, Norman Denny’s translation came out on top.   

As for my preference, I want a novel I can. easily read and follow that doesn’t sacrifice and butcher the original story. Back to Les Miserables – I am looking forward to this story changing my life. That’s what readers are saying everywhere. To read Les Miserables to akin to having a life experience. So stay tuned…or not. I’ll be reading or trying to read this on my vacation. Until next time…

Reading the Classics: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (Everyman Library)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton I’ve seen the film version of The Age of Innocence (1920) and read the book and enjoyed both equally well with the book edging out the movie.  Set in 1870,  the book is about New York high society. Rich people with influence on the social mores of the time. The Age of Innocence won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1921 making Edith Wharton the first woman to win it. That’s why I decided to read it. My enjoyment of this story is similar to my enjoyment of Jane Austen’s works: the portrayal of the moral and social attitudes of high society; these kind of stories are utterly fascinating to me. Edith Wharton shows how happiness and desire are sacrificed for duty and convention.

“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!”

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BBC America TV series: Killing Eve

A cat and mouse chase between two women.

That’s the most basic plot for this new series called Killing Eve. 

Sandra Oh stars in this series and she’s good. She plays a brilliant MI5 agent.

Jodie Comer is new to me and she’s amazing. She plays an assassin.

This series is binge-worthy and it’s already aired in April but it’s on demand. I’m watching some episodes tonight and saving the rest for my mini-vacation this weekend. I love a series that apologizes for nothing and gives you an all out twisty and fascinating crime drama. I should also point out that the series is penned by Phoebe Waller-Bridge who also wrote another excellent series, Fleabag (another series I enjoyed but it’s not for everybody). Here is an article from Variety of her discussing Killing Eve. When I read who was behind Killing Eve, that explained so much.

This is an 8 episode series that renewed for a second season before the first season even started. I’ve watched two episodes and the word of mouth on this series is legit. Rotten Tomatoes 97% certified fresh and audience score is 90%. As with everything in life, your take on this series will probably be different from mine. I like this series even though it does have flaws. So, that’s what’s been on my mind this week. Check out the trailer after the break.

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