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The Mysteries of Paris by Eugene Sue

(internationally bestselling 1842-1857 serial, Penguin Classics)

The Mysteries of Paris (Penguin Classics) by Eugene Sue>

The first new translation in over a century of the brilliant epic novel that helped inspire Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.

1800s Paris. Eugène Sue (1804-1857) was one of the most popular French fiction authors of the 19th Century (see . He was one of several authors who established the genre of the serial novel with his very popular and widely imitated The Mysteries of Paris, which was published in a newspaper from 1842 to 1843. Sue's serial influenced many authors around the world, including the French Emile Zola, Victor Hugo, and Francois Vidocq, who wrote in a genre called City Mysteries (a precursor of hardboiled, genre, and penny dreadful popular fiction in no particular order).

Sensational, engrossing, and heartbreaking, The Mysteries of Paris is doubtless one of the most entertaining and influential works to emerge from the nineteenth century. It was one of France’s first serial novels, and for sixteen months, Parisians rushed in droves to the newsstands each week for the latest installment. Eugène Sue’s intricate melodrama unfolds around a Paris where, despite the gulf between them, the fortunes of the rich and poor are inextricably tangled. The suspenseful story of Rodolphe, a magnetic hero of noble heart and shadowy origins, was spun out over 150 issues—garnering wild popularity, influencing political change, and inspiring a raft of successors, including Les Misérables and The Count of Monte Cristo. At long last, this lively translation makes the riveting drama of Sue’s classic available to a new century of readers.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Modern Reviews

•   "Sue’s The Mysteries of Paris not only influenced Les Miserables, it also gave rise to a subgenre of Gothicky novels about the dark underside of big cities, including London, New Orleans and Philadelphia (George Lippard’s notorious The Quaker City). Aristocrats with secrets, a prostitute with a heart of gold, criminals nicknamed the Schoolmaster and the She-Wolf, an evil lawyer, thwarted love, blackmail and conspiracy—this is a sprawling novel that packs in everything and then adds more—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
•   “One might not think that a gargantuan Parisian novel, published in 150 newspaper episodes in the middle of the 19th century, would fill anyone's 21st-century bill as an absolute ripsnorter - but Eugène Sue's The Mysteries of Paris does exactly that… Few books are more earnest, and few read so fresh, so gloriously now. Part of that freshness comes down to the laurel-winning translation by Carolyn Betensky and Jonathan Loesberg… Even a bibliographic-centric Schoolmaster will not find for you a better novel in this annum, or most others—The Philadelphia Inquirer
•   Sue remains a literary hero to both dissidents and boulevardiers. Despite his relative obscurity outside France, this new translation of what is undoubtedly his crowning literary achievement should go some way to introducing the great serialist to the English-speaking world—The Times Literary Supplement