The Lady of the Camellias

Translated by Liesl Schillinger

Penguin Classics
ISBN: 9780143107026


La Dame aux Camélias is the basis for one of the best known operas in the entire operatic repertoire: Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.

Having known the opera and watched the Opéra de Paris' production of it at Opéra Bastille, I knew the story roughly before I read the novel, so I didn’t expect any surprise, nor did I anticipate being moved by it. After all, most stories in operas are quite quite weak, and the magic of operas are held more by the charm of singers, the spectacles, and the music.

But surprised I was. As I read through the novel, I was moved by the novel without any concrete reasons I could think of. In fact, I didn’t even like how it began—an unnamed narrator spending a lot of time describing the auction of the recently deceased Parisian courtesan Marguerite Gautier, which serves as the frame story for the main love story between Marguerite Gautier and Armand Duval—yet I was moved by the end of it, and I’ve yet to discover why I was so moved by it.


 Novel    Fiction  
Copyright © Peter Y. Chuang 2019

Peter Y. Chuang


Peter Y. Chuang is a novelist, short story writer, and a music critic. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s probably listening to classical music or tinkering with his computers. He uses Linux (current distro of choice: Arch Linux). Read more about his Linux stuff.