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Overview

Gaston Leroux is one of the originators of the detective story, and The Phantom of the Opera is his tour de force, as well as being the basis for the hit Broadway musical. A superb suspense story and a dark tale of obsession, The Phantom of the Opera has thrilled and entertained audiences in adaptations throughout the century.

This new translation—the first completely modern and Americanized translation—unfurls the full impact of this classic thriller for modern readers. It offers a more complete rendering of the terrifying figure who emerges from the depths of the glorious Paris Opera House to take us into the darkest regions of the human heart. After the breathtaking performance of the lovely Christine Daae and her sudden disappearance, the old legend of the “opera ghost” becomes a horrifying reality as the ghost strikes out with increasing frequency and violence—always with the young singer at the center of his powerful obsession. Leroux has created a masterwork of love and murder—and a tragic figure who awakens our deepest and most forbidden fears.

This is the only complete, unabridged modern Americanized translation available. Lowell Bair is the acclaimed translator of such Bantam Classics as Madame Bovary, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Candide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141191508
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 502,654
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.81(h) x 0.84(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gaston Leroux, born in Paris in 1868, was a French journalist, playwright, and detective/thriller writer. Beginning his career as a crime reporter and war correspondent, he lived an adventurous life that took him to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and even into North Africa disguised as an Arab. His high-spirited, often dangerous, escapades and questioning nature provided much of the background and plot material for his sensational mystery and adventure stories, particularly those starring his reporter-sleuth, Joseph Rouletabille. One of his most famous detective novels, The Mystery of the Yellow Room, was published in 1907, and his works have been called “among the finest examples of the detective stories we possess.” But Leroux’s best-known story is The Phantom of the Opera (1911), whose macabre hero has been played in film by classic horror film stars Lon Chaney and Claude Rains. Leroux died in Nice in 1927.

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Excerpted from "The Phantom of the Opera"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Gaston Leroux.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS
PROLOGUE 3
CHAPTER I: IS IT THE GHOST? 5
CHAPTER II: THE NEW MARGARITA 9
CHAPTER III: THE MYSTERIOUS REASON 13
CHAPTER IV: BOX FIVE 16
CHAPTER V: THE ENCHANTED VIOLIN 22
CHAPTER VI: A VISIT TO BOX FIVE 28
CHAPTER VII: FAUST AND WHAT FOLLOWED 29
CHAPTER VIII: THE MYSTERIOUS BROUGHAM 36
CHAPTER IX: AT THE MASKED BALL 39
CHAPTER X: FORGET THE NAME OF THE MAN'S VOICE 43
CHAPTER XI: ABOVE THE TRAP-DOORS 46
CHAPTER XII: APOLLO'S LYRE 49
CHAPTER XIII: A MASTER-STROKE OF THE TRAP-DOOR LOVER 57
CHAPTER XIV: THE SINGULAR ATTITUDE OF A SAFETY-PIN 62
CHAPTER XV: CHRISTINE! CHRISTINE! 64
CHAPTER XVI: MME. GIRY'S ASTOUNDING REVELATIONS AS TO HER PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH THE OPERA GHOST 66
CHAPTER XVII: THE SAFETY-PIN AGAIN 71
CHAPTER XVIII: THE COMMISSARY, THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN 74
CHAPTER XIX: THE VISCOUNT AND THE PERSIAN 77
CHAPTER XX: IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 80
CHAPTER XXI: INTERESTING AND INSTRUCTIVE VICISSITUDES OF A PERSIAN IN THE CELLARS OF THE OPERA 86
CHAPTER XXII: IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER 91
CHAPTER XXIII: THE TORTURES BEGIN 94
CHAPTER XXIV: "BARRELS! ... BARRELS! ... ANY BARRELS TO SELL?" 97
CHAPTER XXV: THE SCORPION OR THE GRASSHOPPER: WHICH? 101
CHAPTER XXVI: THE END OF THE GHOST'S LOVE STORY 104
EPILOGUE 108

Reading Group Guide

1. 1. Some modern critics feel the characters in The Phantom of the Opera are static and shallow, that Christine is too innocent, Raoul too noble, and Erik’s obsession with Christine never fully explained. Do you think Leroux purposely did this, and if so, why?

2. 2. The Phantom of the Opera was published as the romantic movement was slowly turning into the gothic movement. How would you classify it?

3. 3. Leroux wrote The Phantom of the Opera in a time when there was widespread French interest in Freudian psychoanalysis and particularly the libidinal/infantile/mother-seeking unconscious. How does Leroux work this into his novel? Are there characters that fit the infant or mother role?

4. 4. Some critics see the Phantom as simply the unconscious, the Freudian superego. Do you believe this is what Leroux was truly writing about, or did he give his monster more depth?

5. 5. Some see Erik as not shifting his class status, the theme of many gothic novels, but instead shifting his race. What scenes in the text help, or hinder, this assessment? Why would Leroux write of something so controversial?

6. 6. One of Leroux’s major themes in this novel is the changing of one’s class. Consider Christine, the daughter of a fairground fiddle player, now besting the most talented opera singer in Paris and winning the heart of a viscount. What is Leroux saying here? Is it meant to simply be a happy ending?

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