Les Mis Rables

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The classic novel—and hit Broadway show—about escaped ...

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The classic novel—and hit Broadway show—about escaped convict Jean Valjean

has been adapted with easy-to-read text, large type, and short chapters. This

engaging adaptation of the timeless tale is ideal for reluctant readers and

kids not yet ready to tackle the original.

Trying to forget his past and live an honest life, escaped convict Jean Valjean risks his freedom to take care of a motherless young girl during a period of political unrest in Paris.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (40 pp.; Sept. 1997; 0-531- 30055-2): A storybook retelling of Hugo's classic of the lonely bellringer and his hopeless love for the beautiful gypsy girl, Esmerelda, whom he rescues from hanging and the evil archdeacon Dom Frollo and reunites with her mother. While remaining relatively faithful to the original, this version from Wynne- Jones (The Maestro, 1996, etc.) is always competent, but never compelling. Slavin creates lovely illustrations, but his pale washes leave even the most festive scenes sedate. The volume lacks power or emotion; adults seeking an alternative—any alternative—to the Disney film may find that this one hardly competes for the hearts and minds of the target audience.
From Barnes & Noble
A rousing adventure story peopled with heartbreaking, unforgettable characters and a powerful allegory about the good and evil lying beneath the surfaces of human beauty, ugliness, and superior intellect.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781177761277
  • Publisher: Nabu Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2010
  • Language: French
  • Pages: 434
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
"If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away," the larger-than-life Victor Hugo once confessed. Indeed, this 19th-century French master's works -- from the epic drama Les Misérables to the classic unrequited love story The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- have spanned the ages, their themes of morality and redemption ever applicable to our times.


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

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Les Miserables by Victor Hugo French Edition Part 1 Fantime Thi

    Les Miserables by Victor Hugo French Edition Part 1 Fantime

    This is the first book of the famous work by Victor Hugo. It opens with M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenue Myriel, Bishop of D., a town in the mountains of France. The bishop (éveque) is a very kind man. He’s moved to the town with his sister, Madame Magloire, and their maid, Mademoiselle Baptistine.

    He’s in charge of a hospital, but his house is bigger than the hospital, so he trades his house with the hospital. He never closes his door, so that everyone has access to God’s place. At one point, the cathedral is robbed of all its treasure and he decides, against all opinions, to go to where the bandit Cravatte lives and has a “Te Deum” at the small parish where the thieves live. The local priests argues that they’re not worthy of having such a big ceremony by the bishop. But M. Myriel tells them that God will provide.

    As the ceremony is going to start, M. Cravatte leaves a package with all the stolen treasures from the cathedral, and the Te Deum is held. The bishop returns to his town having extended his influence in the country and with the stolen treasures.

    We are then introduced to Jean Valjean, whose life was a miserable existence. He grew up very poor, his parents died when he was a young lad, and he’s forced to provide for his sister and her seven children. One terrible winter night, Jean Valjean steals from a store in town and he’s sentenced to the galleries to do manual work. He tries to escape and his five year sentence is extended to nineteen.

    Jean Valjean is finally set free, but he can’t find work or shelter because of his passport - that tells everyone he’s a dangerous criminal. As he enters the town of D. he’s refused shelter at the two local inns. Finally, he ends up at Bishop Myriel’s house where he’s fed and sheltered. As he spends his first night in nineteen years in a bed, he can’t sleep and after fighting with his conscience, he decides to steal all the silver at the bishop’s house.

    Valjean is caught by the local police, but upon returning to the bishop’s place, the bishop tells the police that the silver was a gift. M. Myriel tells Valjean that he’s bought his soul for God.

    As Valjean leaves the bishop place, he steals from a child some 40 sous, and he then realizes that he needs to change - after all the bishop has bought his soul for God.

    The book ends with four students and their girlfriends: Tholomyes -and Fantime, Listolier - and Dahlia, Fameuil - and Zéphine, and finally, Blachevelle and Favourite. After caroling, dancing, singing, dining and making love, the four students decide to give their girlfriends a “surprise.” It consists of a fabulous dinner at Bombarda, a restaurant at the Champs Ellysées. After finishing the diner, the boys give the girls a letter in which they say good-bye.

    All the girls, except Fantine, laugh it off. But Fantine is very hurt: both because she was truly in love, and because she’s pregnant.

    Victor Hugo uses his work as a platform to give the reader a critique: a critique of the times - Napoleon, the return of the royals (Louis XVIII), and a critique of the revolution and the poor state of the poor people. This copy of the work is an abridged version in French and only covers the first book. It was a pleasure to read in French....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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