Les Miserables

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Overview

In this story of the trials of the peasant Jean Valjean - a man unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective Javert - Hugo achieves the sort of rare imaginative resonance that allows a work of art to transcend its genre.

Trying to forget his past and live an honest life, escaped convict Jean Valjean risks his freedom to take care of a ...

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Les Miserables (abridged) (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

In this story of the trials of the peasant Jean Valjean - a man unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective Javert - Hugo achieves the sort of rare imaginative resonance that allows a work of art to transcend its genre.

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

From the Publisher
“Rich and gorgeous. This is the [translation] to read… and if you are flying, just carry it under your arm as you board, or better still, rebook your holiday and go by train, slowly, page by page.”
—Jeanette Winterson, The Times (London)

“[A] magnificent story… marvelously captured in this new unabridged translation by Julie Rose.”
The Denver Post

“A new translation by Julie Rose of Hugo’s behemoth classic that is as racy and current and utterly arresting as it should be.”
Buffalo News (editor’s choice)

“Vibrant and readable, idiomatic and well suited to a long narrative, [Julie Rose’s new translation of Les Miserables] is closer to the captivating tone Hugo would have struck for his own contemporaries.”
—Diane Johnson

“A lively, dramatic, and wonderfully readable translation of one of the greatest 19th-century novels.”
—Alison Lurie

“Some of us may have read Les Miserables back in the day, but… between Gopnik and Rose, you’ll get two introductions that will offer you all the pleasures of your college instruction with none of the pain.”
The Agony Column (trashotron.com)

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: 9782253096337
  • Publisher: Livre de Poche
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Language: French
  • Pages: 982
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo

An accomplished writer, editor, and well-known speaker and Bible teacher, JIM REIMANN updated and revised such classics as My Utmost for His Highest and Streams in the Desert. His versions of these books were both #1 bestsellers and represent sales of more than 2.5 million copies in eight languages. Reimann has served as Chairman of the Christian Booksellers Association, and he and his wife, Pam, make their home in Atlanta, Georgia. The Reimanns also own Streams Tours, through which they offer teaching tours of Israel, Greece, and Turkey.

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

Read an Excerpt

So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilisation, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age--the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night--are not yet solved; as long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless. Hauteville House, 1862.


1815, M. Charles Franois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D----. He was a man of seventy-five, and had occupied the bishopric of D---- since 1806. Although it in no manner concerns, even in the remotest degree, what we have to relate, it may not be useless, were it only for the sake of exactness in all things, to notice here the reports and gossip which had arisen on his account from the time of his arrival in the diocese.

Be it true or false, what is said about men often has as much influence upon their lives, and especially upon their destinies, as what they do.

M. Myriel was the son of a counsellor of the Parlement of Aix; of the rank given to the legal profession. His father, intending him to inherit his place, had contracted a marriage for him at the early age of eighteen or twenty, according to a widespread custom among parliamentary families. Charles Myriel, notwithstanding this marriage, had, it was said, been an object of much attention. His person was admirably moulded; although of slight figure, he was elegant andgraceful; all the earlier part of his life had been devoted to the world and to its pleasures. The revolution came, events crowded upon each other; the parliamentary families, decimated, hunted, and pursued, were soon dispersed. M. Charles Myriel, on the first outbreak of the revolution, emigrated to Italy. His wife died there of a lung complaint with which she had been long threatened. They had no children. What followed in the fate of M. Myriel? The decay of the old French society, the fall of his own family, the tragic sights of '93, still more fearful, perhaps, to the exiles who beheld them from afar, magnified by fright--did these arouse in him ideas of renunciation and of solitude? Was he, in the midst of one of the reveries or emotions which then consumed his life, suddenly attacked by one of those mysterious and terrible blows which sometimes overwhelm, by smiting to the heart, the man whom public disasters could not shake, by aiming at life or fortune? No one could have answered; all that was known was that when he returned from Italy he was a priest.

In 1804, M. Myriel was cure of B----(Brignolles). He was then an old man, and lived in the deepest seclusion.

Near the time of the coronation, a trifling matter of business belonging to his curacy--what it was, is not now known precisely--took him to Paris.

Among other personages of authority he went to Cardinal Fesch on behalf of his parishioners.

One day, when the emperor had come to visit his uncle, the worthy cure, who was waiting in the ante-room, happened to be on the way of his Majesty. Napoleon noticing that the old man looked at him with a certain curiousness, turned around and said brusquely:

'Who is this goodman who looks at me?'
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 342 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(182)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(46)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(45)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 346 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    READ THE UNABRIDGED VERSION!

    The unabridged version is what you should read. That's what the author Victor Hugo wanted us to read. He did not write 1463 pages for people to butcher it up to an abridged version. And with the abridged version you don't fully get the affect of the book. I know people don't have a very good attention span these days but it's so worth it to read the unabridged version. The abridged version takes alot of important parts out. If you are in a hurry and need a quick read for school or something like that get the spark notes or cliff notes. Please show the author respect by reading the unbutchered version. I'm dissappointed in BN for publishing the abridged version. Les Miserables is one of the most greatest books on the world. Don't let the size of the book discourage you. When you look at it like this some of us read 1000 some pages a month when we add up all the books we've read.

    50 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    A True Classic

    I've read both the unabridged version and this abridged version. This version summarizes parts of the book where Hugo gets a bit long winded and spends several pages just to make one point that could easily be made by one paragraph. I prefer this version. <BR/><BR/>Hugo's Jean Valjean will have you sharing his feelings as society both praises and condemns him. Society praises his accomplishments yet can condemn him for past mistakes and for which overrule anything he did or could have done to better himself and those around him. While reading this novel I often wonder how close to the truth this treatment was. I suspect, very close.

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    How can I describe it?

    I loved this book. It is skillfully written and truly a classic. I would recommend reading the full version, not the abridged because there is a lot that you miss. A wonderful book full of action and love. It is now my favorite book ever!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    This is the best book I have ever read

    This is my favorite book of all time. It is filled with great characters that one would sincerily care about, and has an unforgettable, yet sometimes misunderstood hero. I VERY highly recommend this book to all!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A True Classic Masterpiece & a must read.

    Les Miserables is my new all-time favorite books. I love the richness of the story, the grandness and generosity of the sentiments, and the deep human insight. I find this old translation to be just lovely. I can open it to many a page and just read, like lovely poetry, for the beauty of the language. But it is most worthwhile for the depth of humanity that Hugo shows thru his precious character. Such Jean Valjean who stole my heart.

    As I mentioned in my headline the book is a must read. It would be a crime to miss this wonderful - you are among the miserable of the earth in a very different sense if you don't take the time to read it.

    Another wonderful element is the sense of history that you get from it. The Napoleonic wars still inspired passion. It's great to see the battle of Waterloo recounted from the French side. There a forty or fifty page chapter that is worth reading for the history alone - all triggered as an aside to explain why Valjean was convicted a second time despite his good works, because, in court, he referred in passing to Napoleon as "the Emperor." It brings history alive in a way that history books alone do not at times. And I usally look for those since I am a huge history buff. For anyone else who luvs to jog back into history pick up this book. It's definately worth the read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Les miserables

    French version. Wish it would say that in description!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Abridged???

    I keep missing parts of the book. This is no good for someone who already loves great literature and is trying to re-read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    "Not like the play." You're joking, right? You do rea

    &quot;Not like the play.&quot;
    You're joking, right? You do realize the play was based off the novel (which was written approximately a hundred and fifty years ago) and not the other way around? Les Miserables is quite possibly the most brilliant work of all classic literature. Personally, I prefer the unabridged version, but I can understand why people would want the abridged, as Hugo does tend to get a bit long-winded... I was told once that authors back then were paid by the page or the word.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Amazing!

    I bought this after enjoying the movie, unaware of its size. It took me a month to complete. Excepting this fact, and a few confusing tidbits here and there, this book is astounding. Hugo's writing is amazing, and I grew attached to every single one of the characters. It is most definently worth the time and money. And its not too terribly hard to understand- I was 12 when I read it and understood it fine. You have no excuse to not buy it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 1999

    Absolutely outstanding

    Despite a large number of typos in the 1996 B&N unabridged edition, every word in it marks two masters--Hugo as editor, and Wilbour as translator. Don't lose out by choosing an abridged edition! All 1222 pages of the 1996 ed. are worth reading--twice.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Barnes & Noble really should not sell a classics edition of

    Barnes &amp; Noble really should not sell a classics edition of an abridged novel. If they want their classics books to be authoritative, they need to be unabridged. Nobody should read an abridged book, and nobody should be accepting of having other people make the decision for them of what is important and not.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2012

    Why are people saying this is in French? Barnes & Noble (who

    Why are people saying this is in French? Barnes &amp; Noble (who publishes this edition) does not publish in French.

    I'll throw in a 5 star because it's a great book. I would recommend the unabridged but if 1463 pages is a bit daunting to you, at least pick up this version.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Help?

    I need to know whether this has any typos.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    Victor Hugo is to France what Abraham Lincoln is to the United S

    Victor Hugo is to France what Abraham Lincoln is to the United States, What Mohandas Ghandi is to India. Les Miserables is not a work of Fiction in the simple sense - It is a vision from the mind of the great French Visionary, a tale from the mind of a man made a hero by his own humanity. It may sound cliche, I know - but this book has the ability to change your life...that is, assuming your willing to let that happen.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Amazing

    Read it a few years ago and fell in love w the characters. The situations and the tragities moved me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Revisa

    Qwerty

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    Probably the best book I ever read

    No other story summarises so many human aspects as this one: forgiveness, sacrifice, passion, love, greed and deception. A masterpiece of literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Nook

    So cwazy

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2013

    The books are always better than the movie and they're are no s

    The books are always better than the movie and they're are no scenes you've seen coming and you have to think this book deserves a five

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    Free classics

    For what you pay, it's great

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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