_Count of Monte Cristo_ (was Re: Best of 2001)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Jan 17 00:47:41 EST 2002

On Thu, 17 Jan 2002 13:21:39 +0800 (WST), Paul Andinach wrote:

>> And since I'm vaguely on the topic, does anyone else love _The Count
>> of Monte Cristo_?
>Oh, yes.

Me too.

>> I'm afraid of the movie, but I do want to see it.
>Same here.
Ditto.  I mean, if people can make such a hash of abridging the novel into a
shorter novel, think of the infernal possibilities inherent in turning the
novel into a movie.

>And while we're on the topic, I'd like to stress, for anyone reading
>this who hasn't yet read _The Count of Monte Cristo_, the vital
>importance of getting a good, *unabridged* translation. (The same is
>true of any other novel by Dumas, as well.) My current copy is the
>Penguin Classics edition, translated by Robin Buss. It's has a
>terrible cover, but the text is good.

I was introduced to the book through an abridged version we had as assigned
reading in high school English, sophomore year.  I wasn't aware at the time
that it was abridged; it's about 450 pages long.  I keep meaning to get the
unabridged version, but since I've already read the thing, it's low on my
list of priorities.  I liked it enough that I still own that copy of the

>This leads to adaptations like the Moby Books Illustrated Classic
>edition of _The Count of Monte Cristo_, which -
>- for reference, the Penguin edition mentioned above is around 1000
>pages long, of which roughly 20% is the story of Edmond's imprisonment
>and escape, and roughly 80% is the story of the Count's vengeance -
>- which is about 100 pages long, of which roughly 90% is the story of
>Edmond's imprisonment and escape, and the whole story of the Count's
>vengeance is crammed into two chapters at the end.  *sigh*

My copy retains roughly the percentages of the unabridged version.  It's the
Bantam Classic edition translated and abridged by Lowell Bair.  If I read
French, I could tell you how good a translation it is, but I don't, so I
can't.  It does compare very well to the abridged copy of _The Man in the
Iron Mask_ I ill-advisedly bought a few years ago, and have never finished
because it is incomprehensible.

I always prefer unabridged versions (especially for audiotaped books) but
I'm not going to shun a *good* abridgement if I can't get anything else.  I
figure I'm already missing out on the original experience by being an
unregenerate monolinguist, so it's just a matter of getting the best
approximation I can find.  Right now I am undecided on what to do about _The
Gulag Archipelago_, which I want to read, but of which my library only has
the last three volumes.  I would read the abridgement, but they don't even
have that.

Melissa Proffitt
(READ BUJOLD, Paul, READ ALL OF THEM!  You know you want to... :)
(and the next one is coming out in April or May, you can be caught up just
in time for the new release....)
(ooooOOOOOOooooo, READ.....)
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