2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de l’Opéra In Translation: A Critique

Meghan R. Walker
Dr. Betty McLane-Iles, Faculty Mentor

Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra is perhaps one of the most-adapted stories in the modern canon.  Unfortunately, the most widely available English translation of Leroux’s novel is incomplete and often quite incorrect.  This 1911 translation by Alexander de Mattos, now within the public domain, contains significant abridgements and a myriad of translation errors.  Despite this, de Mattos’ text remained the sole English translation of Phantom until 1990 and a completely unabridged translation would not appear until 2012.  However, even this 2012 translation by David Coward fails to convey a few important aspects of Leroux’s text.  This paper compares the de Mattos and Coward translations of The Phantom of the Opera against the original French and shows where both fall flat in conveying key components of the novel, particularly in terms of characterization and cultural context.

Keywords: Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux, Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, David Coward, French, Literature, Translation, Critique

Topic(s):French Capstone

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 309-4
Location: MC 210
Time: 2:15

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