Five years ago, someone on reddit said there are “very few” translations of The Three Musketeers into English.
There are at least nine, counting distinct translations still in print; arguably as many as sixteen, counting one edited translation, an abridged edition, a likely abridged translation that’s out of print, and four unabridged but out-of-print translations.
- 1846 – Anonymous
- 1846 – Park Benjamin (out of print)
- 1846 – William Barrow
- 1853 – William Robson
- 1893 – H.L. Williams (abridged)
- 1894 – A. Curtis Bond (out of print)
- 1903 – Alfred Allinson (out of print)
- 1950 – Lord Sudley (out of print)
- 1950 – Jacques Le Clercq
- 1952 – Isabel Ely Lord (abridged?)
- 1984 – Lowell Bair
- 1991 – Barrow edited by David Coward
- 2006 – Richard Pevear
- 2006 – Eleanor Hochman
- 2014 – Will Hobson
- 2018 – Lawrence Ellsworth
Nineteenth-century translations were bowdlerized; that is, they left out things that weren’t considered suited to Victorian readers’ tastes. The twenty-first-century translators of The Three Musketeers are putting that stuff back in, like Robin Buss did with The Count of Monte Cristo.
The popular translation these days seems to be the one by Pevear, best known for the translation he and his wife did of Anna Karenina, which led to many other translations of Russian works.
But the most intriguing one is the one by Ellsworth. That’s not even his name. His name is Lawrence Schick, and he only became a translator in the first place because he’s obsessed with historical storytelling for various types of role-playing games, and started reading Dumas in French, and then decided the existing English versions weren’t good enough—or complete enough. He dug up a lost sequel and has embarked on a project to translate a million and a half words of Dumas’ fiction. Hats off to you, Lawrence!
For details on all sixteen translations, including cover images, ISBNs, pagecounts, links to relevant articles, and extracts for comparison, visit my Three Musketeers posts at We Love Translations. Here’s a link to the first of the two:
» What’s the best translation of The Three Musketeers (Part 1)