Gaston LeRoux – The Phantom Of The Opera
Posted by demonik on September 1, 2007
Gaston LeRoux – The Phantom Of The Opera (W. H. Allen, 1985)
The story of the Phantom of the Opera, a half-crazed musician hiding in the labyrinth of the famous Paris Opera House and creating a number of strange and mysterious events to further the career of a beautiful young singer, is today regarded as one of the most famous of all horror stories: widely mentioned in the same breath as Frankenstein and Dracula. Yet the fame of this novel, first written by the French journalist turned novelist Gaston Leroux, in 1911, is based almost entirely on the various film versions which have been made over the years. Remarkable performances by two actors, Lon Chaney and Claude Rains, helped to make the Phantom an immortal figure. The original book, however, has been largely ignored, rarely in print, and the first edition (in either French or English) is now a collector’s item.
To mark the 75th Anniversary of the story, this new edition of the book is appearing complete with a Foreword by leading horror expert Peter Haining. In this extensive essay, he traces the history of the Phantom of the Opera — its basis in fact, the poor reception of the novel, but its astonishing success in the cinema. He also describes the larger-than-life character of Gaston Leroux and notes how the figure of the Phantom has become so familiar that it is even used by the media when describing terrible theatre tragedies. The book is also enlivened by some sketches and illustrations.
This edition of the classic horror story also has a special Appendix in which the Phantom is linked with that great detective of the same period — Sherlock Holmes. The speculation concerning these two makes this volume a must for all Sherlockians.