Mysteries of Paris
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Mysteries of Paris

3.97 (585 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The first new translation in over a century of the the brilliant epic novel that inspired Les Miserables

From July 1842 through October 1843, Parisians rushed to the newspaper each week for the latest installment of Eugene Sue's The Mysteries of Paris, one of France's first serial novels. The suspenseful story of Rodolphe, a magnetic hero of noble heart and shadowy origins, played out over ninety issues, garnering wild popularity and leading many to call it the most widely read novel of the 19th century. Sue's novel created the city mystery genre and inspired a raft of successors, including Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo.

The intricate melodrama of The Mysteries of Paris unfolds around a Paris where the fortunes of the rich and the poor are helplessly tangled, despite the vast gulf between them. In the Cite, a seedy neighborhood where criminals gather, Rodolphe encounters a young prostitute of breathtaking purity who goes by the name Songbird. He saves her from an attack by a ruffian called the Slasher, setting off the dominoes of an epic narrative traversing the ranks of French society. As Rodolphe pursues his own mysterious quest for redemption, a circle of characters from all walks of life forms around him-some following his every move and others gravitating to his boundless generosity. From the nefarious pairing of the Schoolmaster and the Owl, a hardened criminal and an unfathomably cruel street merchant, to Morel, a gem-cutter so virtuous he refuses to steal even the smallest ruby to feed his starving family, the lines between good and evil in Sue's Paris are always clear, but never unyielding. Though the immense literary and historical resonance of Sue's magnum opus has been for years overshadowed by Hugo's achievement, this stunning new translation is a revelation, promising to bring the unmitigated pleasures of Sue's cliffhangers and criminals to a new century of readers. Sensational, steamy, tightly-plotted, pulpy, proto-socialist, heartbreaking, and riveting, The Mysteries of Paris is doubtless one of the most entertaining and influential works to emerge from the 19th century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 1392 pages
  • 145 x 213 x 71mm | 1,040g
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0143107127
  • 9780143107125
  • 233,562

Review quote

"Sue s The Mysteries of Paris not only influenced Les Miserables, it also gave rise to a subgenre of Gothicky novels about the dark underside of big cities, including London, New Orleans and Philadelphia (George Lippard s notorious The Quaker City). Aristocrats with secrets, a prostitute with a heart of gold, criminals nicknamed the Schoolmaster and the She-Wolf, an evil lawyer, thwarted love, blackmail and conspiracy this is a sprawling novel that packs in everything and then adds more."
-Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
One might not think that a gargantuan Parisian novel, published in 150 newspaper episodes in the middle of the 19th century, would fill anyone's 21st-century bill as an absolute ripsnorter - but Eugene Sue'sThe Mysteries of Parisdoes exactly that Few books are more earnest, and few read so fresh, so gloriously now. Part of that freshness comes down to the laurel-winning translation by Carolyn Betensky and Jonathan Loesberg Even a bibliographic-centric Schoolmaster will not find for you a better novel in this annum, or most others.
-The Philadelphia Inquirer

[Sue] remains a literary hero to both dissidents and boulevardiers. Despite his relative obscurity outside France, this new translation of what is undoubtedly his crowning literary achievement should go some way to introducing the great serialist to the English-speaking world.
-The Times Literary Supplement

" "Sue s "The Mysteries of Paris "not only influenced "Les Miserables," it also gave rise to a subgenre of Gothicky novels about the dark underside of big cities, including London, New Orleans and Philadelphia (George Lippard s notorious "The Quaker City"). Aristocrats with secrets, a prostitute with a heart of gold, criminals nicknamed the Schoolmaster and the She-Wolf, an evil lawyer, thwarted love, blackmail and conspiracy this is a sprawling novel that packs in everything and then adds more."
-Michael Dirda, "The Washington Post"
One might not think that a gargantuan Parisian novel, published in 150 newspaper episodes in the middle of the 19th century, would fill anyone's 21st-century bill as an absolute ripsnorter - but Eugene Sue's"The Mysteries of Paris"does exactly that Few books are more earnest, and few read so fresh, so gloriously now. Part of that freshness comes down to the laurel-winning translation by Carolyn Betensky and Jonathan Loesberg Even a bibliographic-centric Schoolmaster will not find for you a better novel in this annum, or most others.
"-The Philadelphia Inquirer"
[Sue] remains a literary hero to both dissidents and boulevardiers. Despite his relative obscurity outside France, this new translation of what is undoubtedly his crowning literary achievement should go some way to introducing the great serialist to the English-speaking world.
-"The Times Literary Supplement"
"
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About Eugene Sue

Eugene Sue was born in 1804 to a doctor in Napoleon's army. Following his disappointing performance as a medical student, he enrolled in the French navy as a surgeon's assistant. Upon his discharge in 1829, he moved to Paris, where he proceeded to write nautical and adventure novels. Sue inherited a large fortune on the death of his father in 1830 but ran through it quickly. He took to the writing of serial novels in newspapers in order to support himself. Sue won election to the National Assembly in 1850 as a Socialist delegate. After speaking out against Louis- Napoleon's coup d'etat, he was briefly imprisoned in 1851 and, after his release, went into exile in Annecy, in the French Alps. He died in Annecy in 1857, just after completing The Mysteries of the People, which was immediately banned by the French government.
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Rating details

585 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 36% (210)
4 36% (211)
3 20% (118)
2 5% (32)
1 2% (14)
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