100 Years Ago in Paris...
August 04, 2010
2010 brings several literary anniversaries with it. Most notability and most noticeably is Harper Lee’s immortal classic To Kill a Mockingbird. But while this book turned a mere fifty, another book celebrated the big One-Zero-Zero. This year marks the One Hundredth Anniversary of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. (2011 marks the 100th Anniversary of its English adaptation.)
It was first published in serial format in the newspapers of Paris in 1909 and was published in its entirety one year later. In the century that followed, there have been six film adaptations, one made for television movie and a version done in miniseries format. It also boasts of one animated adaptation of the story (and is regarded to be the most accurate to the book of any production.) But that’s just the small and silver screen – it also has had fourteen direct play and musical versions – along with a ballet. Arguably, the most famous of all these productions is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical – which originally stared Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. The spin-off versions and ‘based-on’ works are numerous, spanning everything from Phantom of the Paradise and Phantoms Don’t Drive Sports Cars to Susan Kay’s Phantom and Jennifer Linforth’s Madrigal.
But for all these adaptations, you’ll be hard pressed to find many who’ve read the actual book. I first read this book when I was in eighth grade and looking for something different to do a book report on – and it now holds a place among my top ten favorite books of all time – which also includes The Secret Garden and The Day the World Came to Town.
The story itself can be a little daunting at first read – telling the story of a disfigured man named Erik hiding in the cellars of the Paris Opera House and his infatuation of a young singer, Christine Daae. But it is also one of those rare novels that have just a little bit of several literary genres– romance, mystery and even a touch of horror.
For those of you looking for a ‘classic’ novel and don’t want to read Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy, this is a book definitely worth checking out.
-EmilyTags: reading, classics, Books