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The Phantom of the Opera
Illustrated by Taylor Dolan
Introduced by Simon Callow
Translated by David Coward
The vaults of the Paris Opéra hide a hideous secret, and it’s revealed with theatrical flourish in this lavish new Folio edition.
‘Leroux is the poet laureate of backstage’
- Simon Callow
Mysterious goings-on at the Paris opera house are brushed aside by its new owners, but the old-timers know that the resident ghost is more than an urban legend. One of the greatest gothic horror novels ever written, Gaston Leroux’s atmospheric adventure still chills first-time readers, then lures them back time and time again. Long eclipsed by the huge popularity of its musical adaptation, the book once again takes centre stage in this lavish new edition that drips with macabre imagery and theatrical allusion.
This edition uses the 2012 Oxford World’s Classics translation by David Coward
Bound in screen-printed cloth
Set in Poliphilus with Amarante as display
7 colour illustrations, including 2 double-page spreads, and 27 black & white chapter openings
Printed page edges
10˝ x 6¾˝
The mysterious resident of the Paris Opéra
Deep beneath the Paris opera house, another world exists: vast production sets, dressing rooms, workshops and stables. But venture further underground, beyond the labyrinth of long-forgotten storerooms and dimly lit corridors, and eventually you will come across the vast lair of the mysterious Opéra ghost. Hiding his hideous face behind a mask, he lurks out of sight but is ever-present. That is, until his unrequited love for the beautiful singer Christine Daaé ignites both his passion and his rage, and he uses every cruelty at his disposal to steal Christine’s heart from the dashing Viscount Raoul de Chagny.
Set almost entirely inside the celebrated cavernous Opéra Garnier, this macabre adventure races between the public and private spaces of this world within a world – a parallel universe of good and bad, visible and concealed, smoke and mirrors. While the opulent foyer and auditorium radiate glitz and glamour, behind the scenes it is an eerie and disorientating place, populated with pallid stage hands and elderly workers who never leave their subterranean world, the contrast between above and below both stark and ominous.
From newspaper cutting to international phenomenon
In May 1896, Gaston Leroux heard about a concierge who was killed by a falling chandelier during a performance at the Opéra Garnier. Reported as a freak accident, many believed that it confirmed the existence of a fabled ghost, and the seed of a story was planted. Already a successful journalist and author, Leroux put his detective stories aside to create a gothic tale with a ghoulish protagonist, and locked himself away until it was complete. Although it wasn’t an immediate bestseller, The Phantom of the Opera was widely translated and serialised as soon as it was published, a hit long before being sought out by Universal Studios.
An incredible collection of talent in this essential edition
David Coward’s 2012 translation is the latest and the very best, based on the complete unabridged text and incorporating all of Leroux’s trademark stylistic flourishes. And who better to introduce a novel steeped in the world of theatre than Simon Callow? His vast knowledge and experience of acting, writing and directing informs his deeply researched piece that reveals the fascinating history of the Palais Garnier as well as biographic detail on the eccentric workaholic Leroux. Not to mention Callow’s inside knowledge, gleaned from playing one of the Opéra’s new co-directors in the film adaptation of the novel.
The looming disaster, which the foulest monster who ever walked the earth had planned as a way of defending his hiding place, would be his revenge for unrequited love
Each of the novel’s 27 chapters is adorned with an individually designed decoration by Taylor Dolan. The saturated colours and poster-like period style of her arresting full-colour illustrations and binding design are inspired by a childhood spent in and around the theatre, and her artwork for the endpapers show a weird cast of minor characters parading at the Opéra’s masked ball. All of Dolan’s originals for the stunning artwork were screenprinted by hand for reproduction in this exquisitely produced edition.
About Gaston Leroux
About David Coward
About Simon Callow
About Taylor Dolan
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