The Count of Monte Cristo

Publication

The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in the Journal des Débats in eighteen parts. Serialization ran from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846. The first edition in book form was published in Paris by Pétion in 18 volumes with the first two issued in 1844 and the remaining sixteen in 1845.[6] Most of the Belgian pirated editions, the first Paris edition and many others up to the Lécrivain et Toubon illustrated edition of 1860 feature a misspelling of the title with “Christo” used instead of “Cristo”. The first edition to feature the correct spelling was the L'echo Des Feuilletons illustrated edition, Paris 1846. This edition featured plates by Gavarni and Tony Johannot and was said to be “revised” and “corrected”, although only the chapter structure appears to have been altered with an additional chapter entitled La Maison des Allées de Meilhan having been created by splitting Le Départ into two.[7]

English translations

The first appearance of The Count of Monte Cristo in English was the first part of a serialization by W. Francis Ainsworth in volume VII of Ainsworth's Magazine published in 1845, although this was an abridged summary of the first part of the novel only and was entitled The Prisoner of If. Ainsworth translated the remaining chapters of the novel, again in abridged form, and issued these in volumes VIII and IX of the magazine in 1845 and 1846 respectively.[8] Another abridged serialisation appeared in The London Journal between 1846 and 1847.

The first single volume translation in English was an abridged edition with woodcuts published by Geo Pierce in January 1846 entitled The Prisoner of If or The Revenge of Monte Christo.[9]

In April 1846, volume three of the Parlour Novelist, Belfast, Ireland: Simms and M'Intyre, London: W S Orr and Company, featured the first part of an unabridged translation of the novel by Emma Hardy. The remaining two parts would be issued as the Count of Monte Christo volumes I and II in volumes 8 and 9 of the Parlour Novelist respectively.[10]

The most common English translation is an anonymous one originally published in 1846 by Chapman and Hall. This was originally released in ten weekly installments from March 1846 with six pages of letterpress and two illustrations by M Valentin.[11] The translation was released in book form with all twenty illustrations in two volumes in May 1846, a month after the release of the first part of the above-mentioned translation by Emma Hardy.[12] The translation follows the revised French edition of 1846, with the correct spelling of "Cristo" and the extra chapter The House on the Allées de Meilhan.

Most English editions of the novel follow the anonymous translation. In 1889 two of the major American publishers Little Brown and T.Y Crowell updated the translation, correcting mistakes and revising the text to reflect the original serialised version. This resulted in the removal of the chapter The House on the Allées de Meilhan, with the text restored to the end of the chapter called The Departure.[13][14]

In 1955 Collins published an updated version of the anonymous translation which cut several passages including a whole chapter entitled The Past and renamed others.[15] This abridgement was republished by many Collins imprints and other publishers including the Modern Library, Vintage, the 1998 Oxford World's Classics edition (later editions restored the text) and the 2009 Everyman's Library edition.

In 1996 Penguin Classics published a new translation by Robin Buss. Buss's translation updated the language, making the text more accessible to modern readers, and restored content that was modified in the 1846 translation because of Victorian English social restrictions (for example, references to Eugénie's lesbian traits and behaviour) to reflect Dumas' original version.

In addition to the above there have also been many abridged translations such as an 1892 edition published by F.M Lupton, translated by Henry L. Williams (this translation was also released by M.J Ivers in 1892 with Williams using the pseudonym of Professor William Thiese).[16] A more recent abridgement is the translation by Lowell Blair for Bantam Classics in 1956.


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