Phantom 1st editions, take five! [x] [x] [x] [x] (aka welcome to my continued exploration of the catacombs of eBay).

A little known fact about André Castaigne’s illustrations for the 1st American Edition of Phantom is that his artwork appeared in the 1st Canadian edition, as well! I didn’t know this until I found this first Canadian edition of Phantom on eBay. The imprint is under McLeod & Allen in Toronto, but the text is still copyright 1911 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, as are the illustrations, which were commissioned by Bobbs-Merrill.

Some of the pages are a bit loose, but the illustrations are all in good condition, and the rare frontis illustration featuring the painting of Erik as Red Death is intact (people would often remove this plate from the book and frame it, which is why it is frequently absent from 1st American editions).

anonymous asked:

Huh, if Christine sang like a rusty hinge, what intrigued Erik to take her on as a student? Also, as a personal opinion based on what you know of Phantom of the Opera, do you think he fell in love with her before, or after he began teaching her?

Hi Anon. Great question. My guess is that Erik saw something like a diamond in the rough in Christine. We know that she had genius, which was apparent while her father was still alive, but his death dimmed her light and only a little flicker of her brilliance was still visible. Erik likely saw this inner fire and realized that Christine had tremendous potential. He perceived the beauty inside of her that few other people appreciated at that time, and he recognized that he could uncover that beauty so the rest of the world could see it, too. Not only that, but he realized that he could tap into her genius, and by melding it with his own, he could create an instrument that would transcend mortal sounds and play divine music.

In a much less altruistic way, I think that Erik was probably also attracted to Christine’s kindness, her purity, and her naiveté. She was sweet and generous to the Opera workers and the little ballet girls, she had a reputation for being virtuous in a profession where it was common for women to become mistresses, and (most importantly) she was a credulous soul who still firmly believed in spirits and angels. This trifecta of Christine being kind, unattached, and gullible made her a perfect target for Erik’s machinations. He recognized that he could win her heart and that he wouldn’t have to contend with another suitor, all while beguiling her into believing that he was a disembodied voice.

As to when Erik actually fell in love with Christine, I think that it was quite late in the novel. He was initially attracted to her, and then became infatuated and obsessed with her, but that is not love. I think that the first time Erik really realized that he loved Christine was when she showed him the meaning of love, and agreed to sacrifice herself to save Raoul, the Daroga, and Erik as well (as I’ve written before, I believe that Erik was trying to provoke Christine into killing him, and everyone else, so that he wouldn’t have to do it himself). The love he felt for her grew when she allowed him to kiss her, and it ultimately overwhelmed him. At that point, he realized that not only did he love her, but he loved her too much to force her to stay with him. It is because of his love for her that he freed Christine, gave Raoul and her his blessing, and allowed them to leave. Christine’s actions fundamentally changed Erik; from her, he learned the true meaning of love and sacrifice, and following her example, he finally did the right thing and let her go, even though he knew it would mean his death.


As you are probably aware, Gaston Leroux used a literary technique called “faction” (fact+fiction) to write Le Fantôme de l'Opéra. This gave his novel a faux-journalistic style and a veneer of authenticity (to be clear, Phantom is a work of fiction; Leroux used certain people and events to inspire his story, but the characters he created were not real).

As part of this journalistic style, Leroux “borrowed” from many sources contemporary to his story (i.e. he plagiarized them – don’t try this at home, kiddies!).

I discovered one of these sources last evening while I was researching a passage in the Gaulois publication of Phantom. The book is Le Nouvel Opéra: Monument - Artistes, by X.Y.Z. (i.e. “Anonymous”), published in Paris by Michel Lévy Frères in 1875. It was written to commemorate the inauguration of the new Opera House designed by Charles Garnier.

This book was the source of the biography of Christina Nilsson that Leroux used to create his backstory for Christine Daaé. Leroux used X.Y.Z.’s description of Nilsson’s early life, and rewrote it to fit his story. There are enough similarities between X.Y.Z.’s and Leroux’s texts for me to say with a good degree of certainty that this was the book Leroux used to create Christine’s history.

This book is also the source of the review of Christine Daaé’s performance as Ophelia and The Queen of the Night at the Duchess of Zurich’s estate that appears at the beginning of the “Enchanted Violin” chapter. And the “great critic X.Y.Z.” that Leroux mentions as having written this review of Christine Daaé was none other than the man who wrote this book.

Further, this book lists the full name of the critic who gave Christine Daaé such a favorable review after her gala performance as Marguerite. The critic, whom Leroux calls P. de St-V., was M. Paul de Saint-Victor, a noted author and critic of the day, who wrote a review of Christine Nilsson’s performance as Marguerite.

True to his “factional” writing style, Leroux wrote some of this review himself, but he took the sentence below nearly verbatim from this book:

Compare X.Y.Z.’s quote of M. de Saint-Victor’s review of Christine Nilsson:

Qui ne lui a pas entendu chanter le trio final de l'opéra de Faust, ne connaît pas le Faust « l'exaltation de la voix ne saurait aller au delà ».

To Leroux’s reworked quote of M. de Saint-Victor’s review of Christine Daaé:

Qui n'a pas entendu Christine chanter le trio final de Faust ne connaît pas Faust: l'exaltation de la voix et l'ivresse sacrée d'une âme pure ne saureient aller au delà!

So what can ultimately be taken from this information? For one, if there was any lingering doubt that Christine Daaé was based on Christina Nilsson, I think that this sets this to rest. But more than that, I hope that this information casts light on Leroux’s “factional” writing techniques, and shows that while Leroux incorporated the likeness of certain people and events into his novel, the story that he told was ultimately a work of fiction.

Today is a Phanniversary of sorts … perhaps the ultimate Phanniversary.

On 22 September, 1909, the Parisian daily newspaper, Le Gaulois, ran the advertisement pictured above, announcing the serialization of Gaston Leroux’s novel, Le Fantôme de l'Opéra.

Leroux’s novel premiered on 23 September, 1909, and ran for 15 weeks. It was segmented into 68 sections, each section covering roughly half a chapter’s worth of content.

To celebrate 105 years of The Phantom of the Opera in print, over the next 15 weeks I will be posting all 68 sections of the Gaulois publication of Phantom to my blog. These posts will correspond with the original dates of publication.

Here is a link to Le Gaulois for 22 September, 1909. The advert for Phantom is in the middle of the page.

And in case you are wondering what the text of the advertisement above says, here is the translation (and yes, the Gaulois has correctly predicted the emergence of phangirls ;P):

Weary of purely psychological novels, the public awoke one day with a great desire to hear stories. Straightaway, these stories were served up – tales of bandits and policemen – assuredly quite amusing, but which soon grew tedious in their turn, yet without appeasing the public’s thirst for mystery and magic.

This is why the Gaulois has requested from one of the public’s most rightly beloved authors, M. Gaston Leroux, a novel which, while departing from the genre dear to the Conan Doyles of the Old and New World, is still replete with the delectable inquietude that will give a thrill to the beguiled reader. More than once, this irresistible anguish will conjure in the minds of some of our female readers the dreadful, terrifying, ghostly, and sorrowfully human image, despite all of the illusion that surrounds it, of The Phantom of the Opera.

We need not introduce our readers to M. Gaston Leroux, whom it is generally agreed is in possession of the most astonishing suppleness of imagination of which one can conceive, but we would indeed like to say that The Phantom of the Opera is worthy of achieving even greater success in the Gaulois than that which was attained in the Illustration by The Mystery of the Yellow Room and The Perfume of the Lady in Black, by the same author.

Tomorrow, this Thursday, in the “Gaulois,” read:

The Phantom of the Opera by M. Gaston Leroux

Raoul Week QOTD (from “The New Marguerite”):

In which Gaston Leroux describes the adorable, precious bb, Raoul de Chagny.

(I encourage you to gaze at the utterly Raoul-y picture of Aaron Taylor-Johnson as you read this.)

« La timidité de ce marin, je serais presque tenté de dire, son innocence, était remarquable. Il semblait être sorti la veille de la main des femmes. De fait, choyé par ses deux sœurs et par sa vieille tante, il avait gardé de cette éducation purement féminine des manières presque candides, empreintes d’un charme que rien, jusqu’alors, n’avait pu ternir. À cette époque, il avait un peu plus de vingt et un ans et en paraissait dix-huit. Il avait une petite moustache blonde, de beaux yeux bleus et un teint de fille. »

“The sailor’s shyness, I would almost be tempted to say his innocence, was remarkable. He seemed to have only recently left the care of women. Indeed, pampered as he was by his two sisters and by his old aunt, he had retained from that purely female education manners that were almost naive, imprinted with a charm that nothing hitherto had been able to tarnish. At that time, he was a little older than twenty-one years and he looked eighteen. He had a petite blonde mustache, lovely blue eyes, and a girlish complexion.”


Happy Holidays to my POTO Secret Santa giftee, sweetmusicsthrone!

This is gift #2. Gift #1 is here.

These are scans from my copy of the 1911 1st Canadian edition of The Phantom of the Opera, which used de Mattos’ translation and André Castaigne’s artwork. An amusing note about Castaigne’s illustrations is that it is unusual to find 1st editions of Phantom with the frontis illustration still intact – people would often cut the page out of the book and frame it! That is a compliment to Castaigne’s genius, though in a somewhat roundabout way. ;)

Have a lovely holiday and a happy New Year! :D

  • Narrator:Erik abducted Christine immediately after dropping the chandelier.
  • Daroga:Erik may or may not have dropped the chandelier, and then later abducted Christine.
  • Narrator:Erik kept Christine prisoner for about two weeks.
  • Daroga:Erik kept Christine prisoner for about 24 hours.
  • Me:WHICH IS IT?????

anonymous asked:

Hey! I'm a newer phan, and I saw you post something earlier about Erik's redemption. This is probably a silly question, but can you explain that to me? I don't get how Erik's redeemed if he's still unhappy and referred to as a monster after he lets Christine go.

Hi Anon. Thanks for your question. By Erik’s redemption, I mean his transformation from Beast to Man. Phantom is, among other things, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Unlike other versions of the story, however, Erik’s transformation doesn’t happen as a result of a curse being undone; rather, it comes when he sacrifices his life for Christine’s happiness. This transition happens slowly over the course of weeks, as he wastes away as a result of his broken heart. His death completes this metamorphosis, so when he visits the Persian during “The End of the Phantom’s Love Story,” the Daroga still refers to him as a monster. Tellingly, however, in the Epilogue Leroux’s narrator does not refer to Erik as a monster. In fact, he says, “I did not recognize him by the ugliness of his head, for all men are ugly when they have been dead for so long.” In death, Erik finally achieved what he had desired in life – to be like other men. No more, and no less. Just a man.

The tragedy of Erik’s story is that he could not achieve this transformation during his life. There is good reason, however, why The Phantom of the Opera ends when and in the way that it does. Leroux gave us Erik’s transformation from Beast to Man, but he did it in such a way that he did not sacrifice Erik’s power or mystery. From a literary standpoint, this is ingenious, and from a character standpoint, it is necessary. In many ways, Erik is better off dying of love in a heroic act of self-sacrifice than he is trying, and failing, to make a domestic life with Christine as his “living wife.”


Welcome to the 30th installment of 15 Weeks of Phantom, where I post all 68 installments of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, as they were first printed in Le Gaulois newspaper 105 yeas ago.

In today’s installment, we have Part II of Chapter 12, “Il faut oublier le nom de « la voix d’homme »” (“You Must Forget the Name of ‘the Man’s Voice’”).

This section was first printed on Sunday, 7 November, 1909.

For anyone following along in David Coward’s translation, the text starts in Chapter 11 at, “She had spoken forcefully. She held out her hand to Raoul, as if the gesture would make her words more solemn,” and goes to, “Raoul said the word with so much love and such despair that Christine could not stifle a sob.” Note, however, that a large part of this section in the Gaulois was cut in the 1st Edition. See below.

There are some differences between the standard 1st Edition text and the Gaulois text. In this section, these include (highlighted in red above):

1) Chapter 12 in the Gaulois text is Chapter 11 in the 1st Edition.

2) In the Gaulois, Raoul has an additional expression of “hélas!” (“alas!”) in this phrase.

3) In the Gaulois, “cette fois” (“this time”) is repeated twice in this sentence.

4) The following segment in the Gaulois text was omitted from the 1st Edition. This segment also continues into the next section of the chapter. In this segment, Christine professes her love for Raoul, but tells him that she cannot marry him because it would bring shame upon them both. It is unfortunate that Leroux chose to omit this section from his 1st Edition, since it helps to clarify Christine’s feelings for Raoul, as well as her reasons for being unwilling to marry him.

Raoul spoke this “perhaps” with such love and despair that Christine was unable to hold back a sob; but the strength of her will quickly subdued her emotion, and she had the courage to question the young man without dwelling on her sorrow.

“Why have you asked me his name, since you know it?”

“To know that I was not dreaming! To know that I had really heard it!… … And now, Christine, you have nothing more to tell me!… Goodbye!…”

The young man bid farewell to Mama Valérius, who did not speak a word to detain him, since he had ceased to indulge her ward; then, more coldly still, he bowed before Christine, who did not return his farewell gesture, and “straight as an arrow,” but feebly, to the point where he thought he would faint as he took the third step that led him from Christine, he pushed open the chamber door and entered the sitting room.

The young woman’s hand, gentle upon his shoulder, stopped him there. They were alone, standing between the portraits of Professor Valérius and Daddy Daaé. Christine gestured toward them and said:

“If I swear to you, before them, that I love you, Raoul, will you believe me?”

“I will believe you, Christine,” assured the young man, who only asked to be consoled.

“Well, understand then, standing before them, Raoul, understand that if I have pitied Erik, it is because I love you!”

“Good Heavens!” breathed the Vicomte … and he sat down.

Needless to say, he wished to hear more, and the conversation was beginning to please him.

“Speak, Christine,” he begged… “Speak!… You have brought me back to life, for as I said farewell, I thought that I was going to die…”

She sat beside him, so close that he felt the movement of her gentle breath. He looked at her, unable to sate his gaze with this angel who loved him; but she did not look at him. And she spoke without seeing Raoul, or rather without looking in his direction. She saw him at first as a child, when he had collected her scarf from the sea, and she told him that from that day forward she had loved him, because he was courageous like a man; and then she reminded him of when he would sit by her side and listen to Daddy Daaé’s tales, and she loved him even more then because he was gentle like a girl; and then later, when he had returned, she had hated him, because he hadn’t dared to speak the words that her heart, unknowingly, was waiting to hear, and this was even further proof that she loved him. She had never stopped loving him with the most pure love, for as far back as she could remember.

Raoul, who was crying softly, took Christine’s hand and could not refrain from asking her why she had behaved in such an icy fashion with him when he had thrown himself at her feet in her dressing room, and why she had always attempted to rebuff him when he tried to meet with her.

She replied in a calm and serious voice:

“Because, rightly, I did not want to be compelled to tell you, my dear, what I am telling you today. It was my intention that you would always be unaware of the love that I have confessed to you.”

“And the reason for this?” implored Raoul anxiously.

“The reason was that I did not want to distract you from your duties, Raoul, and because I loved you enough to not want you to feel remorse. I live between these two images,” she added, gesturing to the portraits of her dear departed; “the day that I am no longer worthy of looking upon them, my dear, I shall die.”

“Christine, you shall be my wife!”

Raoul uttered these words while looking at the two witnesses who regarded him from their frames with exaggerated and stylized smiles. The young woman said to him calmly:

“I knew that you would be ready to commit such folly. And this is again why I have hidden from you the tenderness of my feelings, Raoul!”

"Where do you see folly in this?” protested the Vicomte naively. “Where is the folly in marrying you if I love you? And would you think me wise to marry someone that I didn’t love?”

“It is folly, my dear,” Christine persisted harshly, “it is folly for us to ‘get married at your age,’ you, the heir to the de Chagnys, and me, an actress and the daughter of a village fiddler, and this in spite of your family. I will never allow it! People would say that you had lost your mind, or that I had caused you to lose it, which would be worse!”

As harsh as the singer’s response had been, it had at least been tempered by the words, “at your age.” Raoul saw in this certain hope.

“I shall wait!” he cried, “I shall wait for as long as you wish, so that everyone shall know that my resolve is unshakable and that my heart is in agreement with my head.”

“Your brother will never consent to such a union!”

5) Minor differences in punctuation.

Click here to see the entire edition of Le Gaulois from 7 November, 1909. This link brings you to page 3 of the newspaper — Le Fantôme is at the bottom of the page. Click on the big green arrow buttons towards the top of the webpage to turn the pages of the newspaper, and click on the magnifying glass icon at the top left to zoom.


Welcome to the 19th installment of 15 Weeks of Phantom, where I post all 68 installments of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, as they were first printed in Le Gaulois newspaper 105 yeas ago.

In today’s installment, we have Part III of Chapter 8, “Où MM. Firmin Richard et Armand Moncharmin ont l’audace de faire représenter « Faust » dans une salle « maudite » et de l’effroyable événement qui en résulta” (“Where MM. Firmin Richard and Armand Moncharmin Have the Audacity to Have ‘Faust’ Performed in a ‘Cursed’ House and the Horrifying Event Which Thereby Ensued”).

This section was first printed on Friday, 22 October, 1909.

For anyone following along in David Coward’s translation, the text starts in Chapter 8 at, “Moncharmin, ever a man for a joke, said, ‘Actually, quite a good house for a theatre which has a curse on it!'” and goes to Chapter 8, “But a few, who seemed slightly better informed, agreed that 'they’d kick up a storm’ at the start of the ballad of the King of Thule, and hurried off to the subscribers’ door to tell La Carlotta.“ Please note, though, that a large portion of this section was omitted from Leroux’s 1st Edition.

There are some significant differences between the standard 1st Edition text and the Gaulois text. In this section, these include (highlighted in red above):

1) This section in the Gaulois was sadly cut from the 1st Edition:

The Persian was a living enigma who was starting to irritate Paris. He spoke to no one. He never smiled. He seemed to love music since he attended all of the musical productions, and yet he was not enthusiastic, he did not applaud, and he did not become impassioned.

Here is how M. A.D…, a former journalist who had been the Opéra’s secretary, spoke of the Persian*: "For many years, he has been sneaking his way through our Parisian lives, always alone, always silent, but loving and seeking out the crowds, bearing in broad daylight and by lamplight a stone-faced countenance and a slightly hesitant gait, appearing at every performance with his perpetual costume, a Persian hat and a great, black houppelande coat, in the sleeves of which he continuously wrings his unceasingly nervous hands.”

That evening, like every evening, our Persian was thus dressed in Persian attire; but the new Ambassador of Persia himself was dressed in the latest Parisian fashion, and there was nothing surprising about this, since he had come directly from London.

The seat occupied by the Persian was located right below the Ambassador’s box. At the close of the curtain, the Persian rose and remained standing, turning his back to the box. But certainly he would soon turn around, and the Ambassador would see him. What would he do? Would he recognize him? Was there even anyone in Persia who knew the Persian? There were those who said that he was a very important figure; well, they were going to see!

They saw nothing at all. M. Moncharmin relates in his Memoirs that the Persian appeared before the Ambassador of Persia without even acknowledging him and that there was in the demeanor of the former more aloofness and quiet disdain than usual. In this regard, M. Moncharmin writes that the Persian was one of the most handsome men that one could see, “of average height**, with even features, an expressive and masculine face etched with a profound melancholy, with black eyes that are intense and sad, a jet black beard, and an amber colored complexion made golden by the Oriental sun.” M. Moncharmin recounts that when the public’s attention turned to the Persian, one heard in the house the discrete sound of rattling keys. The spectators were wary of the “evil eye.” And he says nothing more about that incident.

When the Managers were once again alone in their box, M. Moncharmin said to M. Richard, still with a light-hearted air: (this is where the 1st Edition picks back up)

*As revealed by Phantom researcher extraordinaire, Scorp (go follow him on Twitter), in his recent article, “No Ordinary Skeleton” (which you all should read), “M. A.D…” was M. Adolphe Dupeuty. He described a real incident which happened at the old Opéra in 1857, in which the Persian Ambassador attended a performance at which the “Persian” (Mohammed Ismaël Khan) was also present. This article was published in “La Vie parisienne à travers le XIXe siècle: Paris de 1800 à 1900 d’après les estampes et les mémoires du temps,” edited by Charles Simond.

In his “factional” style, Leroux “borrowed” heavily from this article in writing his fictional account of the Persian and the Persian Ambassador. The quote from “M. A.D.” was taken verbatim from M. Dupeuty’s article.

** This means that Erik was also of average height, because the Persian later says that he and Erik are the same height. The headcanon of Erik being excessively tall likely comes from Susan Kay’s novel.

2) This sentence was cut from the 1st Edition:

Yes, this was the appointed replacement for the old madwoman, and with her in place, they would see if Box 5 continued to cause a sensation.

3) This paragraph was cut from the 1st Edition:

None of the sounds of the sort that are heard at séances and which, as everyone knows, are generally attributed to interference from the beyond, resounded against or within the partition walls, the ceiling, or the floor; the chair upon which Richard was sitting behaved itself in the most admirable way possible, and the voice, the notorious voice, still remained silent. The Managers were busy noting this, when the door of their box was abruptly flung open by the panic-stricken stage manager.

4) This sentence was cut from the 1st Edition:

They would see to this in a little while.

5) Sadly, this section in the Gaulois was cut from the 1st Edition, and replaced with a brief summary:

At this time, MM. Moncharmin and Richard descended from their box. The wings were already overrun. Having arrived on the stage, they headed immediately to the right, towards La Carlotta’s dressing room, whose windows overlooked the administrative courtyard. They then ran into La Sorelli, who was rushing to see the Comte de Chagny before he returned to his box.

They gestured to her, which she understood, for she straightaway left the Comte and came over to the two Managers who begged her to discretely ask the Comte about what might be the basis of the rumors of a cabal organized against La Carlotta.

While they awaited La Sorelli’s reply, they entered La Carlotta’s dressing room. The room was full of friends and comrades, and above all of the various conversations, one could hear the singer’s voice, which proclaimed a thousand threats against La Daaé.

Of Spanish origin, La Carlotta had retained an accent of a very particular flavor, and when some excessive emotion, like anger, hurried her speech, she expressed herself in such a way that it was difficult for those listening to refrain from smiling. And so despite the gravity of the situation, there were many smiles that evening in La Carlotta’s dressing room.

The two Managers approached the singer, who was in the process of placing upon her magnificent tresses, blacker than the night, another no less magnificent coiffure, paler blonde than the dawn’s first light. It was the wig with two thick plaits worn by the gentle Marguerite. The twinkling of La Carlotta’s jet black eyes stood out even more within this golden frame. She rose when she saw “these gentlemen,” and placing a hand upon her heart, she professed her sincerest feelings to the new management so passionately that certainly MM. Moncharmin and Richard would have been moved to tears if they had been able to understand a word of that astounding gibberish. Finally, she handed them a piece of paper whose writing in red ink had the effect of commanding the interest of the two Managers. They had no difficulty recognizing it.

6) Minor differences in punctuation and capitalization.

Click here to see the entire edition of Le Gaulois from 22 October, 1909. This link brings you to page 3 of the newspaper — Le Fantôme is at the bottom of the page. Click on the big green arrow buttons towards the top of the webpage to turn the pages of the newspaper, and click on the magnifying glass icon at the top left to zoom.

anonymous asked:

What type of space does the Phantom have under the Opera House? The 2004 movie says he lives in the sewers, but I can't imagine Erik's traps (e.g. the maze of mirrors) fitting in the sewers. At the same time, I can't see how Erik could claim a basement (everyone would know where it was) or dig out a space. I don't think the ALW musical says — we just know that the lake is underground.

Hi Anon. Thanks for your question. Leroux explained that Erik lived in the deepest level of the Opera House, beyond the lake, in between the double wall designed to keep groundwater from seeping into the building. Thus he didn’t live in the basement, per se, nor did he live in the sewers. (In reality, the space between this double wall is only about six feet wide, not nearly wide enough to accommodate Erik’s house, so this is yet another example of Leroux’s form of “faction” in his writing, i.e. fact + fiction.)

Here is a post I wrote a while ago about the possible layout and position of Erik’s house within the Opera House.

anonymous asked:

Hi! Which Christine (Leroux!Christine, ALW!Christine, etc) do you like the most and why? Which one is your least favorite?

Hi Anon! Great question. My favorite Christine is Leroux!Christine. She is strong and independent, caring and sympathetic, passionate and brilliant. Leroux could have made her a generic damsel in distress, but instead he chose to make her the hero of his novel who saves everyone through her wits, her force of will, and her kind heart. She is not only my favorite Christine, but also one of my favorite characters in literature.

My least favorite Christine … that’s a tough one. Probably any Christine who is characterized as a flighty, gold digging bimbo who ran off with Evil Raul and left poor, misunderstood Erik to die all alone. :P But even then, I don’t dislike the Christine, I just dislike the author’s misunderstanding of Christine. Say it with me kiddies: Christine didn’t owe Erik anything. She was not Erik’s consolation prize for having a wretched life. She is her own person who makes her own choices. She is not a bad person for leaving with Raoul and following her heart; even Erik recognized that it would be wrong to keep her with him. She went through one of the most dysfunctional relationships in all of literature and survived with her compassion and generosity of spirit intact. She doesn’t deserve condemnation for that, she deserves our massive respect.

anonymous asked:

I've always been curious about this, why is old Raoul so sad in the beginning of the ALW!musical? Is it because Christine has passed away and he wants something to remember her by or place on her grave (like in the 2004 movie) or is it just a mystery? Thank you!

I always take it that Christine died perhaps not so many years before the start of the musical, and that Raoul is still haunted by the ghosts that lingered in their lives after they escaped from the Phantom. He is also an old and infirm man who is at the end of his life.

I take it that he has returned to the Opera auction to collect mementos from his earlier days with Christine (note that he only bids on items that have a connection to Christine), and that he initially came for reasons of nostalgia as well as closure. Seeing the monkey music box probably threw him for a loop, though — unless he had carefully reviewed the programme listing the items for sale, he wouldn’t have expected to see it at the auction.

So Raoul is old, tired, and no doubt desperately misses Christine. And even though he may feel compelled to revisit their past (much of the musical can be seen as an extended flashback from Raoul’s perspective), it can’t be an easy journey.

anonymous asked:

I notice that you often recommend "No Ordinary Skeleton" for people to read about Leroux's inspiration for Phantom. However for a lot of people the content is unavailable as the general public do not have free access to journals (and there doesn't seem to be a readily available version hanging around on another website) and the price per article is very steep. It just seems unfair to treat this as an essential fandom resource when many people are unable to read it.

Hi there. I know that “No Ordinary Skeleton“ is not a free resource (unless you are at a university, in which case you should be able to access it for free). However, I still do consider it to be an essential resource for Phantom phans. It is to my knowledge the only scholarly work that analyzes Leroux’s manuscript for Phantom, and delves into the likely original inspirations for Leroux’s story. The author of the article, Raj Shah, has the dual credentials of being a professional scholar and a long-time Phantom phan, and he has over the years contributed a wealth of information to the Phandom. It does cost something to download Shah’s article if you are not at a university, but I feel that I would be remiss if I did not recommend his research as a reference for phans.

presidentbillclinton asked:

Im a die hard phantom fan, and im wondering if you had an opinion on how abusive Erik was to Christine?

Hi there. Thanks for your question. Leroux!Erik was highly abusive towards Christine. He lied to her and emotionally manipulated her for months, he kidnapped her several times, he was physically aggressive towards her, he tried to kill the person she loved, and he tried to goad her into killing him and everyone else so that he wouldn’t have to (I personally don’t believe that he had much hope of her turning the scorpion, and so he behaved in an utterly beastly way to provoke her into turning the grasshopper). Erik of course had a tragic past, and in many ways was like a child in a grown man’s body, but Leroux was clear that while Erik’s past may explain his actions, it does not justify or excuse them.

sirfaggot asked:

What do you think Erik's mask looked like? In my mind it's always been cloth, black silk if I remember correctly, but now I'm not so sure anymore. It makes sense in my mind though, if you have to wear it all day I'm sure a piece of silk is nicer on your (dead) skin than wood, plaster, papier mache or other hard material.

Yes, Erik’s mask in Leroux (the one he wore for Christine, anyway) was made of black silk, which I always imagined might have been stretched over some sort of frame, or perhaps had some boning in it to make it keep its shape.

Leroux also described that Erik would go out and about wearing a false nose with a mustache looking kind of like Groucho Marx (sorry, not sorry :p) that perhaps resembled this one. Erik wore this getup when he would go shopping in the boutiques of Paris, like when he bought Christine all those baskets and baskets of flowers.

And of course Erik went around maskless at times, like when Joseph Bouquet, M. Gabriel, and some of the members of the corps de ballet saw him.

Erik was also working on some sort of a mask that would make him look like “anybody,” though he didn’t explain how this mask would work. My guess is it would probably combine prosthetic elements and might even have been articulated.

No matter what, though, people would still stare and call Erik “père Trompe-la-Mort” (i.e. someone who’s narrowly escaped from death’s clutches, kinda like death warmed over). Pauvre malheureux Erik.

anonymous asked:

I'm surprised at your view on Christine's choices because I always thought she wanted to be an opera singer.

Christine wanted music in her life, that’s for certain. However, I think her drive to sing was not from a desire to be a star (don’t get me wrong – I’m sure she took pride in her work and enjoyed the applause); it was more to have a connection with her father. Leroux tells us that after her father died, Christine lost the spark that she had once possessed, and that she attended the Conservatory mostly to please Mama Valérius.

I never get the sense that Christine enjoyed the *business* of being an Opera singer in the way that, say, Carlotta did. She was the antithesis of a “diva.” I think she was more interested in experiencing the ecstasy of the song, and feeling the connection that she had once shared with her father. This is why Erik was able to take such advantage of her. Again, I think that becoming an Opera singer was more of a means to an end, the end being the music. And then her singing shifted from being the thing that she shared with her father to the thing that she shared with Erik, but it was never really her own. I am hopeful that at some point in her life, Christine learned to sing not for her father, not for Erik, not for Raoul, but for herself.

anonymous asked:

Hello Caitlin! I'm from the old PotO forum and have one question for you. First, I hope your translation is coming along fine. I read "The Lost Chapter" and enjoyed it. Question: Some phans say the 'Shade' is just another persona of Erik (Ch 21). However, four of the translations are the same, where when Raoul asks if the cloak and hat figure is the Phantom, the Persian says no, he's much worse and has turned the Persian over to the Managers twice (paraphrased). What do you think? Thanks! Diane

Hello! Good to meet you here on Tumblr. A lot of us fans from the old POTO forum days have migrated here, so welcome!

My translation is still ongoing. I wrote a bit of an update here. I’m glad you enjoyed my translation of The Magic Envelope!

As for the Shade, he’s not Erik, however Leroux never indicates definitively who he is. He is most likely a literary device created by Leroux to build the aura of mystery that permeates the Opera’s cellars. Leroux’s narrator tells us in his footnote that he has sworn to the former manager of the Opera, M. Pedro Gailhard, that he will not divulge the identity of this individual. This is likely another example of Leroux’s particular blend of fact and fiction (a literary device called “faction”) that he used to build his narrative — M. Gailhard did exist; this conversation, however, likely did not. According to the Persian, the Shade is not a member of the Opera police, but is “quelqu’un de bien pis” (“someone much worse”); this individual has on several occasions caught the Persian snooping around in the cellars. Erik also reminds the Persian of this during the Persian’s narrative, and states that the Persian has been arrested twice by this individual. Furthermore, according to Leroux’s narrator, one of the Shade’s duties is to keep adventurous Operagoers from venturing into the cellars during performances. One possible clue as to his identity is that Leroux’s narrator writes, “Je parle ici de services d’État, et je ne puis en dire plus long, ma parole.” (“I speak here of matters of national security, and I cannot say more about it, on my word.”) Leroux may have intended for this individual to be a member of the secret police who was there to protect royalty, heads of state, and such.