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Which Editions Of Que Vadis And Les Miserables...

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Undoubtedly the best translation of "Quo Vadis" is that of Jeremiah Curtin, to whom the author Sienkiewicz wrote: "I can only desire that you and no one else should translate all that I write." The modern translations are inelegant and inaccurate.

As to the best translation of "Les Miserables," I have not compared too many versions, but my favorite is that of Isabel F Hapgood.

As far as dictionaries: search this Forum, I recall someone else offered some recommendations.

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Undoubtedly the best translation of "Quo Vadis" is that of Jeremiah Curtin, to whom the author Sienkiewicz wrote: "I can only desire that you and no one else should translate all that I write."  The modern translations are inelegant and inaccurate.

Oh, odd timing! I just checked out Quo Vadis from my library. I have not yet started reading it. This version is translated by W.S. Kuniczak. The best though is by Jeremiah Curtin, hm? In that case, I'll just have to pick that one up. Thanks.

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Which dictionary is the best?

Best for what purposes? What budget?

Your Viewer Profile provides no useful information, so explain a little about who you are, what your goals in life are, and what your intellectual ambitions are. With that as context, others in this forum might be able to make suggestions, if your search of this forum for "dictionary" doesn't pay off.

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For a casual reference dictionary, I suggest American Heritage (mostly because of the useful usage notes). For more serious use, I suggest an old Webster's New Collegiate based on Webster's New International Dictionary 2nd edition (NOT 3rd edition and NOT Webster's New World)

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Which translations (rather than editions) of Que Vadis and Les Miserables are the best?

About the latter, Graham Robb writes in his Victor Hugo biography:

"The best-known English translation (Penguin, 1982) is a Swiss cheese of unavowed omissions and bears out Hugo's comments on translation as a form of censorship. ... Hundreds of bizarre, arresting images are lost in the process." (footnote, p. 382)

There's more discussion here.

There are several translations out there, and I haven't compared them all firsthand. If you have a rare or used bookstore nearby, see if they have an older copy with a different translation. Even then, I'd carefully compare a couple of passages.

I don't know of a really good comparison of the various translations of Hugo's novels, but perhaps someday a Hugo scholar would put one together.

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Thanks to Bill Bucko for recommending the Jeremiah Curtin translation of Quo Vadis. Fortunately that's the one I happened to pick up at a friends-of-the-library book sale a few years back, so now I have yet another reason motivating me to read it.

......

As to dictionaries, here's another vote for the Oxford English Dictionary. That dictionary is without peer if one wants to trace the origin of a word and see how it was used through the centuries. Look up a word and you'll find it used in quotations, sometimes dating back to the 12th century. The OED is a great human achievement. If you have access to it, take a look some time.

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