Best translation of Count of Monte Cristo?
February 14, 2010 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Best translation of the Count of Monte Cristo? I'm reading for fun, not deep meaning or themes. So "best" here means most readable/fun, not closest to the original.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit I didn't know it was originally in French, and accidentally purchased the Bantam Classics version, which is both translated and abridged. I'm pretty anti-abridgment, so I'm posting this before I even give it a chance. But again, I'm just reading for fun, so if someone tells me that the full book is a slog, and this is most readable, I can stick with it. Assuming that's not the case, though, which should I get instead?
posted by kingjoeshmoe to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I personally really enjoyed the Penguin Classics edition, found here. However, it is the only version I've ever read, so I don't really have any comparison to go by.

But it's my favorite book ever. :)
posted by firei at 5:59 AM on February 14, 2010

I've read the translation by Robin Buss that is published by Penguin. It's complete and unexpurgated, and I found it to be a fast, fun read.

Stick with an unabridged version--one of the pleasures of the book is its narrative digressions and asides.
posted by Prospero at 6:03 AM on February 14, 2010

I was going to suggest the Oxford edition, however after reading up on it I see the Penguin Classics edition is a newer translation from 1996 and restores some material. So I would suggest going with it.

This is possibly my favorite book; yeah it's long but it so much fun the time just passes.
posted by beowulf573 at 6:47 AM on February 14, 2010

Nthing the Robin Buss translation. When I read the Count a number of years back, I started with whatever older version is available through Project Gutenberg. After about a hundred pages or so I switched over to the Buss and it was instantly obvious how much better it was.

It really is an amazing book. Well worth the thousand or so pages for the unabridged version.
posted by Aznable at 8:35 AM on February 14, 2010

Chiming in with Robin Buss translation.
posted by mulligan at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2010

I picked up the Buss translation specifically because it was the only uncut English version, but it's super readable. He very much gets that Dumas was writing an exciting potboiler.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:06 PM on February 14, 2010

Wow. How often do you get 100% unanimity on a metafilter question? Robin Buss it is. Thanks all. For the first and last time, I'm marking all answers best.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 12:41 PM on February 14, 2010

Peeking in to say 'wow!' I loved this book when I first read it in high school, but picked up a copy a few years ago and couldn't finish it. I thought it was just me, and never considered that I might have picked up a stodgy translation.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:43 PM on February 14, 2010

Cool. It's probably my favorite book, but I've only been reading the 1846 translation. I don't think I knew that it had an updated one. The cool thing is that it looks like the Buss translation is available for the Kindle, so I think I'll get that. Thanks for asking the question :)
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:29 PM on February 14, 2010

Awesome, this is one of my favorite reads... I love reading this over and over. I just got the book off my shelf to find it is indeed the recommended version!
posted by Jazz Hands at 1:43 PM on February 14, 2010

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