Trying to find an unabridged edition or Les Misérables...

…is seriously like trying to find a proverbial needle in a hay stack.

After recently falling in love with the musical and learning that the musical is like all of 20 pages in the book, I have be trying to track down a complete an unabridged copy of the book.

Who’d of ever thought it would be so hard? The closest I have come to so far is a 1200 page Penguin edition stating it is only an itty bit modified to simplify some of the more complicated events.

Hmpf. You’d think Barnes & Noble wouldn’t take all their readers to be high schoolers being forced to do this book as a course requirement.

Yes, I am a real geek and want to read it as close to as what Victor Hugo wrote as possible (with the obvious exception of the translation - and even then I wouldn’t mind picking up a French edition, cause even though my skill in the language was only so-so, my reading skills where top knotch).

Yes, I am a big nerd.

Anybody else here ever tracked down a complete and unabridge copy?

I got a big Hardback copy from the “Modern Library”. Apparently it is completely unabridged as far as I know.

I had an unabridged “Everyman’s Library” edition, but it was an old one. I don’t know if the current edition being put out (they are now owned by Knopf) is unabridged or not.

Try the new Signet translation, all 1463 pages.

Seriously, start with the abridged. If you find the sixty five pages describing the sewers of Paris that has no relation to the plot facinating in the abridged version, you can go read the eighty two pages dedicated to them in the non-abridged version.

(I am making those numbers up…but I have read Les Miserables. I have a Penguin Classics version that does not appear to be abridged).

Given the choice which would you prefer - the sewers of Paris or Melville’s chapter about white?

Haven’t gotten far enough through Mellville to get to white. I’ve always hated the simple three pages Steinbeck gives to a turtle crossing the road.
Maybe I lack the patience and appreciation for really great literature.

Sadly, it might be all for the best. Ever since reading the bit about the Paris Sewers, I get bugged that every film version of Les Miserable has sewers that are far too clean.

No no no no no, do not start with the abridged. You don’t have to read some of the sewer stuff, sure, but there’s also a lot of plot that you’ll be missing and have no idea it was even there.

Get the unabridged and refer to this for recommendations on which parts to skip.

You can also invest in the Cliff Notes - which not only lets you know which chapters you can safely skip, it gives you a synopsis of the chapter so you don’t feel like you are aggregiously cheating. (plus, Cliff Notes are handy for when you say “I can’t remember, what happened back there?”)

Saint Sparky, reading Les Miserables is absolutely thrilling! I wish that I had it to do all over for the first time. I read it in the summer of 1969 when I was just out of college. It has remained on my top five list for all of these years.

I found the parts about the sewers of Paris fascinating and I am not the only one. There is even a tour of the sewers that is quite popular.

I hope that you find what you are looking for.

Thanks for the hints. I am actually looking forward to reading Les Mis. Heck I read all of Tolkien (including the Similarion) and if I can put up with Tolkien rambling on about the history of chairs and people sitting on their butts for 17 gosh-darn years… then I can put up with anything

Is there a reason you’re interested in the complete historical biography of an otherwise obscure bishop of a diocese in France, the complete description of the method of manufacturing jet jewelry in the 19th Century, and the complete description of every twist, turn and rat dropping in the sewers of Paris?

And no, I’m not exaggerating.

But a lot of abridged versions (all the ones I’ve seen) cut out most of the subplot involving the student insurrection, which is my favorite subplot.

I could see maybe cutting a couple hundred pages of sewer stuff or boring history out of it, but the versions that are 400-some pages are absolutely ridiculous. Better to get the unabridged and skip over anything you don’t want to read.

Maybe you should go with the original: The unabridged, French version.

If you want the cast CD of the musical, the original French is the still the best!

When I have read it in French, my life will be complete. Sadly, all the French I know at the moment comes from listening to far too much French music, such as the original French recording of Les Mis, which I agree is the best.

Do you have the 1988 Paris CD with Robert Marien? That production did so badly that producer Cameron Macintosh has vowed never to do another one of his shows in France, thus pissing off Phantom Phans everywhere (though Marien did release a CD “Broadway Montreal” with “Le fantom de l’opera” and “Le musique de la nuit” on it. Definitely worth getting!).

Just doing a bit of research and notice that there is several different translations out there. Most advice to avoid the early original english translations (anything up to about 20 years ago actually) since they all tend to do a literal translation word-for-word and thus the actual translation comes accross as very difficult to read.

The latter translations are suppose to translate it and do all that correct translations stuff (translating to the intent of the sentence instead of word-for-word).

What translation would one recommend? A translation for a full edition (complete and unabridged), I want everything, from all the obscure factual info at the beginning from the 50 pages on the convent at the most inconvenient moment :smiley: to the COMPLETE discription of the sewers. :smiley:

As you can tell I was one of those people that is a completionist.

Plus one day when my French is stronger I intend to read the complete and unabridged French version.

I’ve heard the Charles Wilbour translation is good. I don’t have access to my copy at the moment (it’s lost in my brother’s room somewhere–serves me right for letting him borrow it!) so I don’t know which translation mine is.

Project Gutenberg has a version available for free download. The web page doesn’t say who the translator is or whether it’s abridged, but the text file is 3.18 meg.

And it’s free.