Bug-Jargal / Edition 1

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Overview

Victor Hugo’s Bug-Jargal (1826) is one of the most important works of nineteenth-century colonial fiction, and quite possibly the most sustained novelistic treatment of the Haitian Revolution by a major European author. This Broadview edition makes Hugo’s novel available in a completely new English translation, the first in over one hundred years. Set in 1791, during the first months of a slave revolt that would eventually lead to the creation of the black republic of Haiti in 1804, Bug-Jargal is a stirring tale of interracial friendship and rivalry, a provocative account of the ties that bind a young Frenchman to one of the rebel leaders and the tragic misunderstandings that threaten to sever those ties completely.
This Broadview edition contains a critical introduction and a broad selection of appendices, including Hugo’s never-before-translated 1820 short story "Bug-Jargal," contemporary reviews of the novel, documents pertaining to the young Hugo’s poetics and politics, and selections from his source materials about the Haitian Revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This superb edition of Bug-Jargal, which includes a wealth of contextualizing documentation, makes Hugo's early representations of race and revolution fully accessible to a contemporary English-language audience. Bongie's critical introduction, translations of both the 1826 novel and the original 1820 short story, and incorporation of contemporary reviews, literary sources, and historical materials reinvigorate Hugo's work and enable the reader to engage with it from a fresh, postcolonial perspective." - Kathryn M. Grossman, Pennsylvania State University
"Victor Hugo's early novel of the Haitian Revolution has taken on a new significance in our postcolonial age preoccupied with race, subaltern resistance, and hybridity. Chris Bongie provides a richly contextualized version that will appeal to historians, literary scholars, and general readers alike. It combines meticulous documentation and a provocative argument about the conservative young poet's ambivalent rendering of this ‘struggle of giants,’ which was written at a turning point in his political development." - David Geggus, University of Florida
"Chris Bongie gives a highly readable and accurate translation of the novel, its 1820 short-story version, and of the supporting documents. He also devotes much of the introduction and notes to demonstrating how Hugo had pieced together portions of the novel from historical sources. [The translation and choice of documents] indicate the Broadview edition's scholarly and pedagogical uses." - Nineteenth-Century French Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551114460
  • Publisher: Broadview Press
  • Publication date: 7/26/2004
  • Series: Broadview Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo

Chris Bongie is a Professor of English at Queen’s University, Kingston. He is the author of Exotic Memories: Literature, Colonialism, and the Fin de Siècle and Islands and Exiles: The Creole Identities of Post/Colonial Literature, both from Stanford University Press.

Biography

Novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist, politician, and leader of the French Romantic movement from 1830 on, Victor-Marie Hugo was born in Besançon, France, on February 26, 1802. Hugo's early childhood was turbulent: His father, Joseph-Léopold, traveled as a general in Napoléon Bonaparte's army, forcing the family to move frequently. Weary of this upheaval, Hugo's mother, Sophie, separated from her husband and settled in Paris. Victor's brilliance declared itself early in the form of illustrations, plays, and nationally recognized verse. Against his mother's wishes, the passionate young man fell in love and secretly became engaged to Adèle Foucher in 1819. Following the death of his mother, and self-supporting thanks to a royal pension granted for his first book of odes, Hugo wed Adèle in 1822.

In the 1820s and 1830s, Victor Hugo came into his own as a writer and figurehead of the new Romanticism, a movement that sought to liberate literature from its stultifying classical influences. His 1827 preface to the play Cromwell proclaimed a new aesthetic inspired by Shakespeare, based on the shock effects of juxtaposing the grotesque with the sublime. The great success of Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) confirmed Hugo's primacy among the Romantics.

By 1830 the Hugos had four children. Exhausted from her pregnancies and her husband's insatiable sexual demands, Adèle began to sleep alone, and soon fell in love with Hugo's best friend, the critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve. They began an affair. The Hugos stayed together as friends, and in 1833 Hugo met the actress Juliette Drouet, who would remain his primary mistress until her death 50 years later.

Personal tragedy pursued Hugo relentlessly. His jealous brother Eugène went permanently insane following Victor's wedding to Adèle. His daughter, Léopoldine, together with her unborn child and her devoted husband, died at 19 in a boating accident on the Seine. Hugo never fully recovered from this loss.

Political ups and downs ensued as well, following the shift of Hugo's early royalist sympathies toward liberalism during the late 1820s. He first held political office in 1843, and as he became more engaged in France's social troubles, he was elected to the Constitutional Assembly following the February Revolution of 1848. After Napoléon III's coup d'état in 1851, Hugo's open opposition created hostilities that ended in his flight abroad from the new government.

Declining at least two offers of amnesty -- which would have meant curtailing his opposition to the Empire -- Hugo remained in exile in the Channel Islands for 19 years, until the fall of Napoléon III in 1870. Meanwhile, the seclusion of the islands enabled Hugo to write some of his most famous verse as well as Les Misérables (1862). When he returned to Paris, the country hailed him as a hero. Hugo then weathered, within a brief period, the siege of Paris, the institutionalization of his daughter Adèle for insanity, and the death of his two sons. Despite this personal anguish, the aging author remained committed to political change. He became an internationally revered figure who helped to preserve and shape the Third Republic and democracy in France. Hugo's death on May 22, 1885, generated intense national mourning; more than two million people joined his funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he was buried.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Good To Know

Hugo was seen by his fans as a grand, larger-than-life character -- and rumors spread that he could eat half an ox in one sitting, fast for three days, and then work without stopping for a week.

Hugo owned a pet cat named Gavroche -- the name of one of the primary characters in Les Misérables.

The longest sentence ever written in literature is in Les Misérables; depending on the translation, it consists of about 800 words.

When Hugo published Les Misérables, he was on holiday. After not hearing anything about its reception for a few days, Hugo sent a telegram to his publisher, reading, simply:

"?"

The complete reply from the publisher:

"!"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Victor-Marie Hugo
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 26, 1802
    2. Place of Birth:
      Besançon, France
    1. Date of Death:
      May 22, 1885
    2. Place of Death:
      Paris, France

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Victor Hugo: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Bug-Jargal
Appendix A: "Bug-Jargal" (1820)
Appendix B: "The Saint Domingue Revolt" (1845)
Appendix C: Politics and Poetics
1. Review of Walter Scott's Quentin Durward (1823)
2. Preface to Nouvelles Odes (1824)
Appendix D: Contemporary Reviews
1. From Le Globe (Journal littéraire) (1826)
2. From Le Drapeau blanc (1826)
3. From Le Mercure du dix-neuvième siècle (1826)
4. From C.A. Chauvet, "Des romans de M. Victor Hugo," Revue encyclopédique (1831)
5. From Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, "Les Romans de Victor Hugo," Journal des débats (1832)
Appendix E: Historical and Cultural Sources
1. From Bryan Edwards, An Historical Survey of the French Colony in the Island of St. Domingo (1797)
2. From Pamphile de Lacroix, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de la Révolution de Saint-Domingue (1819)
3. From Henri Grégoire, De la littérature des nègres (1808)
Appendix F: Literary Sources
1. From Jean-Baptiste Picquenard, Adonis, ou Le bon nègre (1798)
2. From Jean-Baptiste Picquenard, Zoflora; or The Generous Negro Girl (1804)
Select Bibliography

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