The landmark novel that inspired Verdis opera La Traviata, in a sparkling new translation
"One of the greatest love stories of all time," according to Henry James, and the inspiration for Verdis opera La Traviata, the Oscar-winning musical Moulin Rouge!, and numerous ballets, stage plays (starring Lillian Gish, Eleonora Duse, Tallulah Bankhead, and Sarah Bernhardt, and films (starring Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Rudolph Valentino, Isabelle Huppert, and Colin Firth), The Lady of the Camellias itself was inspired by the real-life nineteeth-century courtesan Marie Duplessis, the lover of the novels author, Alexander Dumas fils.
Known to all as "the Lady of the Camellias" because she is never seen without her favorite flowers, Marguerite Gautier, the most beautiful, brazen, and expensive courtesan in all of Paris. But despite having many lovers, she has never really loveduntil she meets Armand Duval, young, handsome, and hopelessly in love with her.
"Marguerite and Armand are the kind of bright, self-destructive young things we still read about in magazines, watch on-screen, or brush up against today."
Liesl Schillinger, from the Note on the Translation
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 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.
Alexandre Dumas fils (18241895) was the son of the famous novelist Alexandre Dumas. He published many novels, and after the success of the dramatic version of The Lady of the Camellias, he became equally prolific as a playwright.
Liesl Schillinger is a journalist and literary critic who writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review and spent many years on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. She lives in New York.
Julie Kavanagh is an award-winning biographer whose latest book is about the courtesan Marie Duplessis, who inspired The Lady of the Camellias. She has been London editor of both Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. She lives in London.
“One of the greatest love stories of the world.” —Henry James
“Liesl Schillinger’s translation is notable for the fact that it succeeds in dusting off and invigorating the text without slipping into the contemporary idiom. This story, which sounded a little dated in the previous translations, can now be read with an urgency that seems wholly modern.” —The New York Review of Books
“Wonderful . . . A swiftly moving tempest of a tale . . . Schillinger’s deft translation brings new life to this classic tragedy. . . . Sometimes translation muffles or veils a text, but Schillinger’s version seems to strip this one right down to its fundamental urgency.” —Opera News
“Anyone who has read an outdated English translation of this novel; seen the opera it inspired—La Traviata, by Verdi; or watched the film it inspired—Camille, starring Greta Garbo, might have missed the audacity, obstinacy, sensuality, and recklessness of its characters. . . . Marguerite and Armand are the kind of bright, self-destructive young things we still read about in magazines, watch onscreen, or brush up against today.” —Liesl Schillinger, from the Note on the Translation