Translations of Les Misérables

Victor Hugo (1862):

Il répéta : Vive la République ! traversa la salle d’un pas ferme, et alla se placer devant les fusils debout près d’Enjolras.
— Faites-en deux d’un coup, dit-il.
Et, se tournant vers Enjolras avec douceur, il lui dit :
— Permets-tu ?
Enjolras lui serra la main en souriant.
Ce sourire n’était pas achevé que la détonation éclata.
Enjolras, traversé de huit coups de feu, resta adossé au mur comme si les balles l’y eussent cloué. Seulement il pencha la tête.
Grantaire, foudroyé, s’abattit à ses pieds.
Quelques instants après, les soldats délogeaient les derniers insurgés réfugiés au haut de la maison. Ils tiraillaient à travers un treillis de bois dans le grenier. On se battait dans les combles. On jetait des corps par les fenêtres, quelques-uns vivants. Deux voltigeurs, qui essayaient de relever l’omnibus fracassé, étaient tués de deux coups de carabine tirés des mansardes. Un homme en blouse en était précipité, un coup de bayonnette dans le ventre, et râlait à terre. Un soldat et un insurgé glissaient ensemble sur le talus de tuiles du toit, et ne voulaient pas se lâcher, et tombaient, se tenant embrassés d’un embrassement féroce. Lutte pareille dans la cave. Cris, coups de feu, piétinement farouche. Puis le silence. La barricade était prise.
Les soldats commencèrent la fouille des maisons d’alentour et la poursuite des fuyards.

Charles Wilbour (first English translation- 1862):

He repeated, “Vive la République!” crossed the room with a firm step and took his place before the muskets beside Enjolras.
“Two at one shot,” said he.
And, turning toward Enjolras gently, he said to him:
“Will you permit it?”
Enjolras grasped his hand with a smile.
This smile was not finished when the report was heard.
Enjolras, pierced by eight balls, remained backed against the wall as if the balls had nailed him there. Only he bowed his head.
Grantaire, stricken down, fell at his feet.
A few moments afterward the soldiers dislodged the last insurgents who had taken refuge in the top of the house. They fired through a wooden lattice into the garret. They fought in the attics. They threw the bodies out of the windows, some living. Two voltigeurs, who were trying to raise the shattered omnibus, were killed by two shots from a carbine fired from the dormer windows. A man in a blouse was pitched out headlong with a bayonet thrust in his belly, and his death-rattle was finished upon the ground. A soldier and an insurgent slipped together on the slope of the tiled roof, and would not let go of each other, and fell, clasped in a wild embrace. Similar struggles in the cellar. Cries, shots, savage stamping. Then silence. The barricade was taken.
The soldiers commenced the search of the houses round about and the pursuit of the fugitives.

Lascelles Wraxall (1862- first British translation):

He repeated, “Long live the Republic!” crossed the room with a firm step, and placed himself before the muskets by Enjolras’ side.
“Kill us both at once,” he said.
And turning gently to Enjolras, he asked him,–
“Do you permit it?”
Enjolras pressed his hand with a smile, and the smile had not passed away ere the detonation took place. Enjolras traversed by eight bullets, remained leaning against the wall, as if nailed to it; he merely hung his head; Grantaire was lying stark dead at his feet. A few minutes later the soldiers dislodged the last insurgents who had taken refuge at the top of the house, and were firing through a partition in the garret. They fought desperately, and threw bodies out of windows, some still alive. Two voltigeurs, who were trying to raise the smashed omnibus, were killed by two shots from the attics; a man in a blouse rushed out of them, with a bayonet thrust in his stomach, and lay on the ground expiring. A private and insurgent slipped together down the tiles of the roof, and as they would not loosen their hold fell into the street, holding each other in a ferocious embrace. There was a similar struggle in the cellar; cries, shots and a fierce clashing; then a silence. The barricade was captured, and the soldiers began searching the adjacent houses and pursuing the fugitives.

Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee (1987- based on the Wilbour translation with its language modernized):

He repeated, “Vive la République!” crossed the room firmly, and took his place in front of the muskets beside Enjolras.
“Two at one shot,” he said.
And, turning toward Enjolras gently, he said to him, “Will you permit it?”
Enjolras shook his hand with a smile.
The smile was not finished before the report was heard.
Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained backed up against the wall as if the bullets had nailed him there. Except that his head was tilted.
Grantaire, struck down, collapsed at his feet.
A few moments later, the soldiers dislodged the last of the insurgents who had taken refuge in the top floors. They fired through a wooden lattice into the garret. They fought in the attic. They hurled the bodies out the windows, some still living. Two voltigeurs, who were trying to raise the shattered omnibus, were killed by two shots from a carbine fired from the dormer windows. A man in a workman’s shirt was pitched out headlong, with a bayonet wound in his stomach, and his death throes ended on the ground. A soldier and an insurgent slipped together on the slope of the tiled roof and would not let go of each other, and fell, clasped in a wild embrace. Similar struggle in the cellar. Cries, shots, savage stamping. Then silence. The barricade was taken.
The soldiers commenced the search of the houses in the vicinity and the pursuit of the fugitives.

Isabel Hapgood (1887):

He repeated: “Long live the Republic!” crossed the room with a firm stride and placed himself in front of the guns beside Enjolras.
“Finish both of us at one blow,” said he.
And turning gently to Enjolras, he said to him:
“Do you permit it?”
Enjolras pressed his hand with a smile.
This smile was not ended when the report resounded.
Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained leaning against the wall, as though the balls had nailed him there. Only, his head was bowed.
Grantaire fell at his feet, as though struck by a thunderbolt.
A few moments later, the soldiers dislodged the last remaining insurgents, who had taken refuge at the top of the house. They fired into the attic through a wooden lattice. They fought under the very roof. They flung bodies, some of them still alive, out through the windows. Two light-infantrymen, who tried to lift the shattered omnibus, were slain by two shots fired from the attic. A man in a blouse was flung down from it, with a bayonet wound in the abdomen, and breathed his last on the ground. A soldier and an insurgent slipped together on the sloping slates of the roof, and, as they would not release each other, they fell, clasped in a ferocious embrace. A similar conflict went on in the cellar. Shouts, shots, a fierce trampling. Then silence. The barricade was captured.
The soldiers began to search the houses round about, and to pursue the fugitives.

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rlw029

My name is Rachael Wachter and I am a sophomore neuroscience major. I am interested in translation studies because I want to learn how the brain and our behavior is affected by differences in language and culture.

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