The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera

4.7 1094
by Gaston Leroux

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The actors, singers, and patrons of the Paris Opera House say that a ghost haunts the labyrinthine chambers beneath its stage. While there are those who laugh off such superstitions, they always do so nervously, in the bright light of day. Nearly everyone connected with the Opera House in any way has felt the phantom's vague, troubling presence. But beautiful,…  See more details below


The actors, singers, and patrons of the Paris Opera House say that a ghost haunts the labyrinthine chambers beneath its stage. While there are those who laugh off such superstitions, they always do so nervously, in the bright light of day. Nearly everyone connected with the Opera House in any way has felt the phantom's vague, troubling presence. But beautiful, talented young singer Christine Daae will soon experience a terror far more acute than any vague feeling of unease. For she is about to learn the secret of why the man who has made the tunnels beneath Paris his private domain must forever hide his face behind a mask.

Part horror story, part historical romance, and part detective thriller, the timeless tale of a masked, disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opera House is familiar to millions of readers, as well as to movie and theatre-goers. At the heart of the story's long-standing popularity lies its questioning of a universal theme: the relationship between outward appearance and the beauty of darkness of the human soul.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Ingenious . . . breathless suspense.”—The Nation
Children's Literature
The phantom of the Opera was written in 1910 by Gaston Leroux who was inspired to tell the story of a disfigured masked musical genius who lived beneath the Paris Opera House and tried to win the love of a beautiful opera singer through his own love of music. Author Donnelly has adapted this classic story for young readers through the use of dialogue and nineteen distinct chapters that move the story along. The beginning chapter is entitled "Is It the Ghost?" It introduces the mysterious figure whom witnesses say inhabits the Opera House. In this case, six young girls of the ballet are frightened by a phantom that appears in black evening clothes and then disappears as soon as he is seen. In the second chapter entitled "The New Opera Star," the reader is introduced to Christine Daae, the girl who will become the Phantom's object of love. In the audience that night, another man named Raoul is captivated by Christine's voice. He goes to her dressing room to meet her, but Christine is exhausted from singing and sends him away. Raoul listens at the door and hears a man speaking. He had just been in there and had seen no one. In the following chapters, the mystery continues. Raoul is determined to find out to whom Christine has been speaking and why she seems to be so drained after singing her heart out on stage. The story continues, filled with secrets, mysterious appearances and disappearances. Raoul will not be satisfied until he saves Christine from the spell the Phantom of the Opera has woven around her. Christine is drawn to this man who lives beneath the Opera House and inspires her to sing as she has never done before. The men battle for the heart and soul of beautiful Christine. Thisis an easy-to-read version of a classic love story that has been made into movies and plays. Included are clear, sharp, black and white illustrations. 2005, ABDO Publishing Company, Ages 10 to 12.
—Della A. Yannuzzi

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Modern Library Classics Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.19(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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Is It the Ghost? It was the evening on which MM. Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giving a last gala performance to mark their retirement. Suddenly the dressing-room of La Sorelli, one of the principal dancers, was invaded by half-a-dozen young ladies of the ballet, who had come up from the stage after “dancing” Polyeucte. They rushed in amid great confusion, some giving vent to forced and unnatural laughter, others to cries of terror. Sorelli, who wished to be alone for a moment to “run through” the speech which she was to make to the resigning managers, looked around angrily at the mad and tumultuous crowd. It was little Jammes—the girl with the tip-tilted nose, the forget-me-not eyes, the rose-red cheeks and the lily-white neck and shoulders—who gave the explanation in a trembling voice:

“It’s the ghost!” And she locked the door.

Sorelli’s dressing-room was fitted up with official, commonplace elegance. A pier-glass, a sofa, a dressing-table and a cupboard or two provided the necessary furniture. On the walls hung a few engravings, relics of the mother, who had known the glories of the old Opera in the Rue le Peletier; portraits of Vestris, Gardel, Dupont, Bigottini. But the room seemed a palace to the brats of the corps de ballet, who were lodged in common dressing-rooms where they spent their time singing, quarreling, smacking the dressers and hair-dressers and buying one another glasses of cassis, beer, or even rhum, until the callboy’s bell rang.

Sorelli was very suspicious. She shuddered when she heard little Jammes speak of the ghost, called her a “silly little fool” and then, as she was the first to believe in ghosts in general, and the Opera ghost in particular, at once asked for details:

“Have you seen him?”

“As plainly as I see you now!” said little Jammes, whose legs were giving way beneath her, and she dropped with a moan into a chair.

Thereupon little Giry—the girl with eyes black as sloes, hair black as ink, a swarthy complexion and a poor little skin stretched over poor little bones—little Giry added:

“If that’s the ghost, he’s very ugly!”

“Oh, yes!” cried the chorus of ballet-girls.

And they all began to talk together. The ghost had appeared to them in the shape of a gentleman in dress-clothes, who had suddenly stood before them in the passage, without their knowing where he came from. He seemed to have come straight through the wall.

“Pooh!” said one of them, who had more or less kept her head. “You see the ghost everywhere!”

And it was true. For several months, there had been nothing discussed at the Opera but this ghost in dress-clothes who stalked about the building, from top to bottom, like a shadow, who spoke to nobody, to whom nobody dared speak and who vanished as soon as he was seen, no one knowing how or where. As became a real ghost, he made no noise in walking. People began by laughing and making fun of this specter dressed like a man of fashion or an undertaker; but the ghost legend soon swelled to enormous proportions among the corps de ballet. All the girls pretended to have met this supernatural being more or less often. And those who laughed the loudest were not the most at ease. When he did not show himself, he betrayed his presence or his passing by accident, comic or serious, for which the general superstition held him responsible. Had any one met with a fall, or suffered a practical joke at the hands of one of the other girls, or lost a powderpuff, it was at once the fault of the ghost, of the Opera ghost.

After all, who had seen him? You meet so many men in dress-clothes at the Opera who are not ghosts. But this dress-suit had a peculiarity of its own. It covered a skeleton. At least, so the ballet-girls said. And, of course, it had a death’s head.

Was all this serious? The truth is that the idea of the skeleton came from the description of the ghost given by Joseph Buquet, the chief scene-shifter, who had really seen the ghost. He had run up against the ghost on the little staircase, by the footlights, which leads to “the cellars.” He had seen him for a second—for the ghost had fled—and to any one who cared to listen to him he said:

“He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame. His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull. His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a drumhead, is not white, but a nasty yellow. His nose is so little worth talking about that you can’t see it side-face; and the absence of that nose is a horrible thing to look at. All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears.”

This chief scene-shifter was a serious, sober, steady man, very slow at imagining things. His words were received with interest and amazement; and soon there were other people to say that they too had met a man in dress-clothes with a death’s head on his shoulders. Sensible men who had wind of the story began by saying that Joseph Buquet had been the victim of a joke played by one of his assistants. And then, one after the other, there came a series of incidents so curious and so inexplicable that the very shrewdest people began to feel uneasy.

For instance, a fireman is a brave fellow! He fears nothing, least of all fire! Well, the fireman in question, who had gone to make a round of inspection in the cellars and who, it seems, had ventured a little farther than usual, suddenly reappeared on the stage, pale, scared, trembling, with his eyes starting out of his head, and practically fainted in the arms of the proud mother of little Jammes.* And why? Because he had seen coming toward him, at the level of his head, but without a body attached to it, a head of fire! And, as I said, a fireman is not afraid of fire.

The fireman’s name was Pampin.

The corps de ballet was flung into consternation. At first sight, this fiery head in no way corresponded with Joseph Buquet’s description of the ghost. But the young ladies soon persuaded themselves that the ghost had several heads, which he changed about as he pleased. And, of course, they at once imagined that they were in the greatest danger. Once a fireman did not hesitate to faint, leaders and front-row and back-row girls alike had plenty of excuses for the fright that made them quicken their pace when passing some dark corner or ill-lighted corridor. Sorelli herself, on the day after the adventure of the fireman, placed a horse-shoe on the table in front of the stage-door-keeper’s box, which every one who entered the Opera otherwise than as a spectator must touch before setting foot on the first tread of the staircase. This horse-shoe was not invented by me—any more than any other part of this story, alas!—and may still be seen on the table in the passage outside the stage-door-keeper’s box, when you enter the Opera through the court known as the Cour de l’Administration.

To return to the evening in question.

“It’s the ghost!” little Jammes had cried.

An agonizing silence now reigned in the dressing-room. Nothing was heard but the hard breathing of the girls. At last, Jammes, flinging herself upon the farthest corner of the wall, with every mark of real terror on her face, whispered:


*I have the anecdote, which is quite authentic, from M. Pedro Gailhard himself, the late manager of the Opera.

Everybody seemed to hear a rustling outside the door. There was no sound of footsteps. It was like light silk sliding over the panel. Then it stopped.

Sorelli tried to show more pluck than the others. She went up to the door and, in a quavering voice, asked:

“Who’s there?”

But nobody answered. Then feeling all eyes upon her, watching her last movement, she made an effort to show courage, and said very loudly:

“Is there any one behind the door?”

“Oh, yes, yes! Of course there is!” cried that little dried plum of a Meg Giry, heroically holding Sorelli back by her gauze skirt. “Whatever you do, don’t open the door! Oh, Lord, don’t open the door!”

But Sorelli, armed with a dagger that never left her, turned the key and drew back the door, while the ballet-girls retreated to the inner dressing-room and Meg Giry sighed:

“Mother! Mother!”

Sorelli looked into the passage bravely. It was empty; a gas-flame, in its glass prison, cast a red and suspicious light into the surrounding darkness, without succeeding in dispelling it. And the dancer slammed the door again, with a deep sigh.

“No,” she said, “there is no one there.”

“Still, we saw him!” Jammes declared, returning with timid little steps to her place beside Sorelli. “He must be somewhere prowling about. I shan’t go back to dress. We had better all go down to the foyer together, at once, for the ‘speech,’ and we will come up again together.”

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The Phantom of the Opera (new unabridged uncut edition) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1094 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought Gaston Leroux proved himself an amazing author in this suspenseful novel. I enjoyed this book and could not put it down once i got into it. In fact, it only took me about two days. He did a great job combining suspense, mystery, and romance all into one book so both guys and girls can enjoy. There was never a slow moving part; it was always action pact in an edge of your seat type of anticipation. He did a good job using the literary element of symbolism as a base of the story. He did a good job portraying each character and giving them the perfect personalities for their roles. I was also impressed with how well thought through the story line was and how detailed he was of the characters and the opera house itself. Like i said i really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any one who loves suspenseful and or romantic novels that are action packed and full of unexspected turns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel “The Phantom of the Opera’ written by Gaston Leroux is one of the most unique books I have ever read. It tells the story of the infamous Opera Ghost who lives beneath the Parisian Opera House. To most, he is just a legend but to others- unfortunate and doomed others-he is a real human being named Erik. However, he soon falls in love with the beautiful Christine Daae and seeks to aid her in her pursuit of glory and perfection. However, Christine’s lover Raoul soon catches on to what is happening and, because of his love for Christine, aims to do something about this meddlesome and dangerous Phantom. One of the biggest themes of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is that of appearances and how they deceive. The Phantom is hideous and his entire reputation is based on the fact that he is hideous. No one truly knows who he is and judges him on his disfigured face. However, when wearing his mask or when he is not even seen, he is not judged. Christine, in fact believes that he is someone that she can relate to and, quite possibly, love. Likewise, the rich and attractive benefactors of the Opera House are respected by everyone and loved by many. However, on the inside, these people are just as hideous as the Phantom. They judge the Phantom and are ultimately the reason for his demise. Throughout the entire story, we, the audience, transform from judging based on the myths and descriptions of the Phantom to knowing who he is and why he is that way. Thus, in addition to receiving a gripping yarn, we also learn a valuable lesson. Like I have said, this is a curious and unique book. It most certainly deserves a place in history with a truly fascinating story and main character. However, in my opinion, the book is not very well written. It seems to stumble along and relies and how intriguing the story. In the end, the writing style was not enough to greatly hinder my enjoyment of the book but it kept from being the truly great book that it could have been. Apart from the writing style, the book is really terrific. The story is fascinating and engaging from start to finish. The characters of the Phantom, Raoul and Christine Daae and their respective relationships are just so fascinating that they makes the entire book worth reading. One character, especially, stands out among the others. In my opinion, the mysterious “Persian” is even more interesting than Erik the Phantom. He is a mysterious man from Erik’s past who is quite sympathetic against Erik but has to work with Raoul against him. To reveal any more would be a crime. While ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ may be a ‘great’ book, it is actually not all that good. It will never be used as a literary example of how books should be written. Gaston Leroux’s novel is just good, pulpy fun and sometimes that’s all you want in a book. For me, it was just enough.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
This gothic novel does a wonderful job with crossing genre lines. It mixes elements of romance, horror and mystery into a fantastic piece of fiction. We, the reader, travel from the very roof of the Paris Opera House down to the lair of the "Angel of Music" beneath that same house of music. The Phantom of the Opera contains an underground lake, a torture chamber and a graveyard. And yet this novel is fundamentally a love story. A heartbreaking one at that!

This novel by Gaston Leroux has been adapted to the stage and film many times. It is considered to be a French classic of literature. It is very deserving.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've seen the musical and sang the music and still the Phantom seems to haunt me. Now that I've read Gaston Leroux's popular novel, I can say that he was an ingenious man to have created such a story of drama, terror, love, passion, envy, jealousy, romance, adventure, suspense, obsession and magic! The character of Erik is painted with sorrow, pain and a denied passion towards the world 'kind of like the Erik in the play'. If you are a person who loves the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast then you will love the Phantom of the Opera! Guaranteed!
Meredith_Secaur More than 1 year ago
The Phantom of the Opera is, quite plainly, a wonderful book. Being a great fan of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, I decided at long last to read the original novel to get a better grasp of the characters and storyline. I finished it only a few days, and let me tell you: I was not disappointed. Gaston Leroux artfully mixes fact with fiction to create a tale that is original, exciting, at times funny, emotional, romantic, and heart-breaking. The plot is simple: The Opera Ghost or Phantom, Erik, lives in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House, a recluse because of his deformity. He secretly tutors the Palais' new Soprano, the young Swedish girl Christine Daae. He falls in love with her, only to have his affections thwarted by the entrance of Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, who had known Christine from her childhood. Many authors I've read often go off on a tangent, creating whole chapters in which nothing happens which even remotely has to do with the story and leaves you wondering "What was I reading?". Leroux's writing style is fairly straightforward, and his simple descriptions leaves much for the reader to imagine for themselves, making it an easier and more personal read than some writers, such as Charles Dickens. Though the plot and characters are written quite simply, excluding perhaps the Phantom himself, the book is compelling and entertaining, and not perhaps as dark as other French Gothic novels. I must admit there were several scenes in the book, particularly between Erik and Christine, that made me cry, and I'm not usually driven to tears when I read. The Phantom of the Opera is a fantastic story that deserves to be read over and over again, and I would highly recommend it to all my friends.
ham727 More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few years ago and have been a huge Phantom fan ever since! It is by far my favorite story of all time...and I have read alot of books!

This story draws you in and makes you feel for the characters. For some, it even brings upon the moral dilemma of asking I want the "bad guy" to win? It is truly a love story, but with a twist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book. I urge anyone who hasn't already, to read it - even if you think you already know The Phantom of the Opera story, because there hasn't been any film or book out there that is the exact same version as this one. This book is written like no other I've ever read and it really leaves you asking the question, 'did Erik really exist?'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After seeing the movie (nothing compared to this book by the way) i really wanted to read how it all started The moment i read the first chapter i was hooked This book is full of romance, thrills, and, of course, the mysteries of the Opera Ghost A must read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm So In love with Erik! He's a pure genious and should not be judged on looks! Erik is kind and gentle deep down, all he wants is love, but Christine can't see past his face, that face which sentenced him to a life time of sloitude. Basically, Christine Is pretty freaking crazy not to choose the phantom, in my opinion :P
ProfessionalBookNerd More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I read it, like many before me, because I've loved the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical since childhood. I remember my mother reading the book and telling me interesting parts of it, and so I decided to read it myself a little over a year ago. It is such a beautiful story, and Leroux wrote it in such an interesting way. This book is categorized as fiction, but because of the way Leroux writes it (and because I don't know my French history) I want to believe it's real. Leroux writes that he believes the Phantom (Eric) was real. Interspersed with the story, he interjects his own opinion, and occasionally includes real(?) interviews with the characters from history. As a straight work of fiction, this is an amazing, beautiful tale of love, perseverance, the limits of the human existence, horror, suspense, sorrow... This really has everything I want in a story. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, The Phantom of the Opera made me laugh, cry, gasp, sigh, and grip the book with white knuckles. And the little bits here and there that make you want to believe it was all real... well, they make you want to go to Paris to see the opera house.

And not surprisingly, the soundtrack to Weber's musical makes really good background music while reading this. Grab a tissue at the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've grown up with The Phantom of the Opera, but never really got into it until the 2004 movie came out. After learning there was a book, I bought it at the closest bookstore. As soon as I read the first word, I could not put the book down. The Phantom of the Opera is about an insane musical genius haunting the catacombs of the Paris Opera House. Christine Daae, a new chorus girl, catches Erik's (phantom) eye and for the first time, knows what it's like to love. He comes to her as an Angel of Music and as he watches her from behind her mirror, he teaches Christine how to bring people to their knees with the splendour of her voice. Erik's already intense and passionate love for the arising star rapidly escalates to obsession when Christine's childhood sweetheart, Raoul de Chagny, comes into the picture. From then on, it is fight between Raoul and Erik over the beautiful Christine. This book is so uniquely written and the descriptions so powerful, it will leave you breathless. I was sobbing in the end and I won't give anything away, but it is truly a moving love story. Erik is frightful man who murders and plays tricks on the Opera attendees, and you can see why Christine is afraid of him, but one cannot help feeling pity for him as he attempts to win Christine's love. There are times when you find him highly likeable and other times when you hate him and are nearly shouting at him that the things he's doing aren't going to win her love. Despite what anyone says, I view Christine as a perfect heroine and a very intelligent woman. I think those who harbor sour feelings for Christine are only jealous. Many people also say that she doesn't love Erik, but if they read and analysed enough, they would find there is a much deeper and more passionate concept to Erik and Christine's relationship. Like Raoul says, the most ardent of love is when you are in love and afraid at the same time. Raoul is the ideal Prince Charming, although he tends to whine a lot. He is the complete opposite of Erik: attractive, charming, suave, and sane while Erik is said to look like death itself, awkward, and the epitome of madness. All in all, this is the best book that will ever exist and I recommend this brilliant piece of work to everyone.
Christinewannabe47 More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book to death! Everything about it is AMAZING! does get a little confusing I'm not going to lie. But the plot, the character development...just....amazing. But, I like the opera/musical better. Sorry Gaston, but I do. But, I still love this book and it will forever be in my library!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most thrilling, amazing, and moving books ever written. I first saw the play and thought it was amazing. The costumes and the music were great. Right from the start, I was hooked. I then watched the movie. I thought that it was a big dissapointment. The Phantom had a strange voice and was not right. I then read the book. I LOVED IT! I seriously could not put it down. It was done in a week. It was the most moving stories ever. The book made you feel compassion towards all the characters. You could really get inside each character. Gaston Leroux did an ecelent job giving all sides of the situation. This is a very good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Suspicion forms the words on each page. Excitement forms the paragraphs. Weaved dramatically throughout the story are different viewpoints, complex characters, physical appearance, and the inner appearance. The true genius of the author is displayed in his ability to keep the reader from having a solid opinion of any of the characters until the reader has read every line from cover to cover. In one word, The Phantom of the Opera is Masterful.
SheenaMarie More than 1 year ago
better than the movie, just a great classic piece to read. :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this novel in the 9th grade after seeing the play on broadway. after the play i was hooked so i went out and decided to buy the was great and haunts you as you travel through the book. it is one of the best novels that i have read in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm the biggest Phantom of the Opera Lover ever and I have to say that the first time I read this book, I could not put it down. My hands were shaking, I was so excited to read it. This is truly the best romance novel of our time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent piece of literature which enables the reader to stretch his/her mind into a realistic alternate universe. Some parts are kind of slow, but towards the ending of this novel, Gaston Leroux captures the reader's mind and sucks it into the world of the phantom.I highly recommed this book because it won't waste your time and it is a well-known story that has been told for many years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is a great piece of work and people will enjoy it. It is one of those books only certain people like but is incredible! You'll enjoy it too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just as magical as the show. The book goes deep into the familar characters we know and change our perspective of them. The part that was very different from the book is the Phantom's obsession with Christine and how she could not love him in return. The story goes deep into the results of the character's actions and the chemestries between them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though many dislike Leroux's writing style, I think it is absolutely amazing. I like the third-person point of view because it sets boundaries and leaves us to wonder about the character's direct thoughts. I know many people prefer the modern adaptations of the Phantom, but let's not forget that Leroux is the inventor of the classic tale. If you have ever seen one of the movies, I guarantee you that you will enjoy reading the original novel. This book is the best book I have ever read, and probably the best that I ever will read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Christine Daae is a shy young soprano who is loved by a mysterious 'ghost' who resides in the opera. This 'Phantom' is really Erik, a disfigured man who wears a mask to hide his ugly face. He gives her lessons under the guise as the angel of music. The Phantom falls in love with the beautiful girl. Around the same time, however, Raoul, a childhood friend of Christine arrives, and pledges his love for her. Daae loves him too, but is scared of how the phantom will react. The two scared lovers plan to escape, but Christine is kidnapped by the Phantom and taken to his underground lair. She must decide whether to marry him, and save Raoul and the people in the opera, or to have the opera house blown up by gun powder under the building. She chooses to marry Erik and save her true love. The Phantom, overwhelmed by his love for her lets her go and live happily with Raoul. Amazing, well developed characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Erik, the Phantom, has a rough life because he is deprived of the main thing humans need in order to survive love. With out love people grow up miserable and they will do anything to get anyones attention. Erik plotted, killed, and lied to win Christines love. In the end even though Erik wanted to keep Christine as his wife he set her free to marry Raoul. I would have chosen the Phantom if I were her. Even though he lives in darkness he needed someone to show him the light.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Even though I had a hard time reading through the book (it's not well written to what I had thought), I was engrossed in the horror and adventure and magic in this story. As a lover of the musical, I was shocked to see how much the book and musical really differed. I had so much empathy for Erik that I cried. Not a literary classic, but it is a must read for lovers of the musical to see the difference that is between the two. Well done.
Anonymous 9 months ago
America. Mansfield park. I need him dead.