From the Mailbag: Leroux's Novel


Today's question from the mailbag:

"Tell us more: Are you going to review Leroux's book?"

I don't know if I actually have a clear answer to that!

Way back when I first started what would eventually become the Phantom Library, all the way back in 2007, I did review Leroux's book. It was the first thing I did, so I could make sure I had a recent reading of it under my belt and it would be fresh in my mind as I went on to review things based on it. It was Leonard Wolf's translation, which is no longer considered one of the better ones, but I had a good time with it.

But at this point, there have been zillions (or some slightly less extensively exaggerated number) of reviews of Leroux's novel by folks in the community who are better qualified than I am - scholars of period French literature, people who have spent time researching and working with the original text, linguists who speak better French than I do (which isn't hard, considering most of my French is from opera diction classes and being a liaison for a Montreal business office). So I've held off on doing anything with Leroux's novel as I've been updating the library, simply because I'm not sure if the same kind of review I do for the other materials is either useful, interesting, or needed here.

Similarly, I've considered doing a section on the different translations of Leroux's novel, but there are people out there already doing that better than I am. I've thought about just hosting the novel itself, since it's in public domain, but what am I bringing to the table that the Internet Archive isn't?

So, for the moment, I don't have a firm plan, just some ideas that I haven't decided yet are worth pursuing. If y'all have some opinions on what you'd like to see, I'd love to hear them!

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