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Download The Phantom of the Opera (Oxford World's Classics) epub

by David Coward,Gaston Leroux

A mysterious Phantom haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House where he has fallen passionately in love with the beautiful singer Christine Daaé. When the Phantom is finally unmasked, will Christine see beyond his hideous disfigurement? Christine's plight, the fate of Erik, and the redemptive power of love stand at the heart of this remarkable novel. The twists and turns of Leroux's thrilling story have captivated readers since its very first appearance in 1910. It is a terrific story that combines mystery, crime, adventure, detection, and tortured love. This sparkling new translation--by the prize-winning editor and translator David Coward--is as full-blooded and sensational as the original. Coward's introduction tells the fascinating story of the novel's genesis, considers Leroux's life and career, describes the serialized fiction genre of which he was the last great exponent, and makes a case for the book as a work of considerable literary craft. Coward's thorough notes further illuminate the narrative and an appendix on the construction of the Paris Opera helps set the novel in its architectural context.About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Download The Phantom of the Opera (Oxford World's Classics) epub
ISBN: 0199694575
ISBN13: 978-0199694570
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Fantasy
Author: David Coward,Gaston Leroux
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 24, 2012)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1159 kb
FB2 size: 1829 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 651
Other Formats: azw rtf docx lrf

This is the REAL Phantom of the Opera story by Gaston Leroux, to which Andrew Lloyd Weber was true. Any version-movie, play, cartoon, etc-previous to Lloyd-Weber's musical is not the true story, but a very loose adaptation. The REAL story is far more edge-of-your-seat and amazingly thrilling and dramatic than these pretenders. Gaston Leroux's Phantom is not a pathetic, hunch-backed, limping, weak-willed pervert. Leroux's Phantom-named ERIK- is part-Batman, part-James Bond, part-Beast (as in Beauty and the Beast), and a "dark twin" -if you will- to the Elephant Man (the true historical figure Joseph Merrick who was severely disfigured by a combination of neurofibromatosis type I and Proteus syndrome). In fact, Erik's early life story resembles that of the Elephant Man's in that Erik was born with hideous facial disfigurement and was given his first mask by his mother. He runs away to join a band of Gypsies who put on sideshows for their living and thus employs Erik who gives himself the freakshow name of "Living Dead Man". Under the Gypsies care and training, he develops into a highly skilled magician, illusionist, and ventriloquist. He gains a sort of underground cult-fame for his eccentric skill to combine singing and ventriloquism which produces a beautiful "other-worldly" voice--so intriguing is his skill that Shah of Persia demands to hear it and commissions a visiting fur trader to bring Erik to Persia. Just as was true with the real-life Joseph Merrick, Erik is a brilliant self-educated man. Leroux amplifies his character by turning Erik into a Leonardo di Vinci renaissance man-artist, poet, scholar, architect, scientist; a man who had mastered several languages, played several instruments--all this in addition to his famous, though elusive speaking and singing voice. And if that's not enough? He's a martial artist, too, with a particular talent for the "Punjab Lasso"-his preferred method of assassination. See what I mean about part-James Bond? Under the patronage and auspices of the Shah, Erik is commissioned to design a palace. The plot thickens at this point--so deliciously so that it's a dizzying, spine-tingling adventure that will not disappoint. In fact, this book is TWO amazing stories in one novel: BEFORE Erik's escape to the Paris Opera House and AFTER he designs, then builds the most intricately sophisticated secret lair underneath the Opera House, the mastery of which the world would never see again after his death. It is this AFTER that builds up to his infamous abduction of the soprano Christine Daae and the dramatic story that follows. If the AFTER appeals to the romantics out there, it's the BEFORE story that will thrill adventurers and action-story aficionados. To say more than this would be a spoiler alert. But GET THE BOOK! Definitely!
As a huge fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version, I wanted to read the original novel. The two are similar, but there are some major differences. The Phantom of Leroux's novel is darker and more twisted, mentally and physically. The novel explains the Phantom's backround and his exploits in Persia, which is hinted at in the musical. He is by far more mad in the novel, his insanity overwhelming his actions. His face is not deformed just on one side: his whole face is described as a mask of death, so horrible that no one can bear to look at it. Both the novel and the musical are psychological; through the story, you come to better understand society's view of the physically and mentally handicapped or deformed.

In both the musical and the novel, I think most people's sympathies will be with the Phantom, rather than with Christine and Raoul. The Phantom is a fascinating, three-dimensional character who is one of the greatest antiheroes ever created. Christine and Raoul are not the most interesting of the novel's characters, but by the end of the novel, Christine matures, and comes to a realization of how terrible the Phantom's life has been. Towards the end of the novel and musical, she shows him an emotional, overwhelming act of compassion that climaxes the story. Raoul never gained my sympathy in either the novel or the musical, but he is much worse in the novel. He is a flat character who is shallow, foppish, and childish, completely lacking in compassion or understanding for the Phantom. He, unlike Christine, is a static character who never seems to mature and change for the good.

The Literary Classics Collection edition for the Kindle is excellently formatted, with a linked table of contents, along with biographical information about Gaston Leroux. The footnotes are also linked, and are sometimes very helpful in reading the story. This edition also includes many extra materials, such as a section about plays and movies inspired by the novel and questions about the material.

While the musical will always be my favorite of the two, the novel is excellent and a classic of dark Gothic horror and romance. This is a story I'm sure I will read many times.