Les Miserables, Tome I: Fantine - With CD

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Overview

Les Misérables is primarily a great humanitarian work that encourages compassion and hope in the face of adversity and injustice. A historical novel of great scope, it provides a detailed vision of nineteenth-century French politics and society.

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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Les Miserables

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Overview

Les Misérables is primarily a great humanitarian work that encourages compassion and hope in the face of adversity and injustice. A historical novel of great scope, it provides a detailed vision of nineteenth-century French politics and society.

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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What People Are Saying

V. S. Pritchett
Hugo's genius was for the creation of simple and recognisable myth. The huge success of Les Miserables as a didactic work on behalf of the poor and oppressed is due to its poetic and myth-enlarged view of human nature... Hugo himself called this novel 'a religious work'; and it has indeed the necessary air of having been written by God in one of his more accessible and saleable moods.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9782011556905
  • Publisher: Hachette
  • Publication date: 1/28/2010
  • Language: French
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo (1802-85), novelist, poet, playwright, and French national icon, is best known for two of today’s most popular world classics: Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, as well as other works, including The Toilers of the Sea and The Man Who Laughs. Hugo was elected to the Académie Française in 1841. As a statesman, he was named a Peer of France in 1845. He served in France’s National Assemblies in the Second Republic formed after the 1848 revolution, and in 1851 went into self-imposed exile upon the ascendance of Napoleon III, who restored France’s government to authoritarian rule. Hugo returned to France in 1870 after the proclamation of the Third Republic.

Julie Rose’s acclaimed translations include Alexandre Dumas’s The Knight of Maison-Rouge and Racine’s Phèdre, as well as works by Paul Virilio, Jacques Rancière, Chantal Thomas, and many others. She is a recipient of the PEN medallion for translation and the New South Wales Premier’s Translation Prize.

Adam Gopnik is the author of Paris to the Moon and Through the Children’s Gate, and editor of the Library of America anthology Americans in Paris. He writes on various subjects for The New Yorker and has recently written introductions to works by Maupassant, Balzac, Proust, and Alain-Fournier.

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

I. Monsieur Myriel

In 1815, Monsieur Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel was bishop of Digne.1 He was an elderly man of about seventy-five and he had occupied the seat of Digne since 1806.

There is something we might mention that has no bearing whatsoever on the tale we have to tell—not even on the background. Yet it may well serve some purpose, if only in the interests of precision, to jot down here the rumors and gossip that had circulated about him the moment he first popped up in the diocese. True or false, what is said about people often has as much bearing on their lives and especially on their destinies as what they do. Monsieur Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Aix parliament, a member of the noblesse de robe.2 They reckoned his father had put him down to inherit his position and so had married him off very early in the piece when he was only eighteen or twenty, as they used to do quite a lot in parliamentary families. Charles Myriel, married or no, had, they said, set tongues wagging. He was a good-looking young man, if on the short side, elegant, charming, and witty; he had given the best years of his life thus far to worldly pursuits and love affairs. Then the Revolution came along, events spiraled, parliamentary families were wiped out, chased away, hunted, scattered. Monsieur Charles Myriel emigrated to Italy soon after the Revolution broke out. His wife died there of the chest infection she’d had for ages. They had no children. What happened next in the destiny of Monsieur Myriel? The collapse of the old society in France, the fall of his own family, the tragic scenes of ’93,3 which were, perhaps, even more frightening for émigrés4 watching them from afar with the magnifying power of dread—did these things cause notions of renunciation and solitude to germinate in his mind? Was he, in the middle of the distractions and amorous diversions that filled his life, suddenly hit by one of those mysterious and terrible jolts that sometimes come and strike at the heart, bowling over the man public calamities couldn’t shake, threatening as these did only his existence and his fortune? No one could say; all that was known was that, when he came back from Italy, he was a priest.

In 1804,5 Monsieur Myriel was the curé of Brignolles.6 He was already old and lived like a real recluse in profound seclusion.

Around the time of the coronation, a small parish matter—who can remember what now?—took him to Paris. Among other powerful persons, he called on Cardinal Fesch,7 Napoléon’s uncle, to petition him on his parishioners’ behalf. One day when the emperor was visiting his uncle, the worthy curé, who was waiting in the anteroom, found himself in His Majesty’s path. Napoléon, seeing the old boy give him the once-over with a certain curiosity, wheeled round and said brusquely: “Who is this little man staring at me?”

“Your Majesty,” said Monsieur Myriel, “you see a little man, and I see a great man. Both of us may benefit.”

That very night, the emperor asked the cardinal what the curé’s name was and some time after that Monsieur Myriel was stunned to learn that he’d been named bishop of Digne.

But, when all’s said and done, what was true in the tales told about the first phase of Monsieur Myriel’s life? No one could tell. Few families had known the Myriel family before the Revolution.

Monsieur Myriel had to endure the fate of every newcomer in a small town, where there are always plenty of mouths blathering and not many brains working. He had to endure it even though he was the bishop, and because he was the bishop. But, after all, the talk in which his name cropped up was perhaps nothing more than talk; hot air, babble, words, less than words, pap, as the colorful language of the Midi8 puts it.

Whatever the case, after nine years as the resident bishop of Digne, all the usual gossip that initially consumes small towns and small people had died and sunk without a trace. No one would have dared bring it up, no one would have dared remember what it was.

Monsieur Myriel arrived in Digne accompanied by an old spinster, Mademoiselle Baptistine, who was his sister and ten years his junior.

They had only one servant, a woman the same age as Mademoiselle Baptistine, called Madame Magloire. Having been the servant of Monsieur le curé, she now went by the double title of personal maid to Mademoiselle and housekeeper to Monseigneur.9

Mademoiselle Baptistine was a tall, pale, thin, sweet person, the personification of that ideal expressed by the word respectable; for it seems a woman must be a mother to be esteemed. She had never been pretty, but her entire life, which had been merely a succession of holy works, had ended up laying a sort of whiteness and brightness over her; as she aged, she had gained what you could describe as the beauty of goodness. What had been skinniness in her youth had become transparency with maturity; and this diaphanous quality revealed the angel within. She was more of a spirit than a virgin. She seemed a mere shadow with scarcely enough of a body to have a gender; just a bit of matter bearing a light, with great big eyes always lowered to the ground, an excuse for a spirit to remain on earth.

Madame Magloire was a little old lady, white skinned, plump, round, busy, always wheezing, first because of always bustling about and second because of her asthma.

When he first arrived, Monsieur Myriel was set up in his episcopal palace with all the honors required by imperial decree, which ranked bishops immediately after field marshals.10 The mayor and the president of the local council were the first to visit him, and on his side, he made his first visits to the general and the chief of police.

Once he had moved in, the town waited to see their bishop on the job.

II. Monsieur Myriel Becomes Monseigneur Bienvenu

The episcopal palace of Digne was next door to the hospital. The episcopal palace was a vast and handsome town house built in stone at the beginning of the previous century by Monseigneur Henri Puget, doctor of theology of the faculty of Paris and abbé of Simore,1 who had been bishop of Digne in 1712. The palace was truly a mansion fit for a lord. Everything about it was on the grand scale, the bishop’s apartments, the drawing rooms, the bedrooms, the main courtyard, which was huge, with covered arcades in the old Florentine style, and the gardens planted with magnificent trees. It was in the dining room, which was a long and superb gallery on the ground floor opening onto the grounds, that Monseigneur Henri Puget had, on July 29, 1714, ceremoniously fed the ecclesiastical dignitaries, Charles Brûlart de Genlis, archbishop prince of Embrun, Antoine de Mesgrigny, Capuchin bishop of Grasse, Philippe de Vendôme, grand prior of France, abbé of Saint-Honoré de Lérins, François de Berton de Crillon, bishop baron of Vence, César de Sabran de Forcalquier, lord bishop and lord of Glandève, and Jean Soanen, priest of the oratory, preacher in ordinary to the king, lord bishop of Senez.2 The portraits of these seven reverend fathers embellished the dining room and the memorable date of July 29, 1714, was engraved there in gold lettering on a white marble panel.

The hospital was a low, narrow, single-story house with a small garden.

Three days after his arrival, the bishop visited the hospital. When his visit was over, he politely begged the director to accompany him back to his place.

“Monsieur le directeur, how many sick people do you have in your hospital at the moment?”

“Twenty-six, Monseigneur.”

“That’s what I counted,” said the bishop.

“The beds are all jammed together,” the director went on.

“That’s what I noticed.”

“The living areas are just bedrooms, and they’re difficult to air.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Then again, when there’s a ray of sun, the garden’s too small for the convalescents.”

“That’s what I said to myself.”

“As for epidemics, we’ve had typhus this year, and two years ago we had miliary fever—up to a hundred were down with it at any one time. We don’t know what to do.”

“The thought did strike me.”

“What can we do, Monseigneur?” said the director. “You have to resign yourself to it.”

This conversation took place in the dining-room gallery on the ground floor. The bishop fell silent for a moment, then suddenly turned to the hospital director.

“Monsieur,” he said, “how many beds do you think you could get in this room alone?”

“Monseigneur’s dining room?” cried the astonished director.

The bishop sized up the room, giving the impression he was taking measurements and making calculations by eye alone.

“It could easily hold twenty beds!” he mumbled, as though talking to himself. Then he spoke more loudly. “Look, my dear director, I’ll tell you what. There has obviously been a mistake. There are twenty-six of you in five or six small rooms. There are three of us here and we’ve got enough room for sixty. There’s been a mistake, I’m telling you. You’ve got my place and I’ve got yours. Give me back my house. This is your rightful home, here.”

The next day, the twenty-six poor were moved into the bishop’s palace and the bishop was at the hospital.

Monsieur Myriel had no property, his family having lost everything in the Revolution. His sister got an annuity of five hundred francs, which was enough for her personal expenses, living at the presbytery. Monsieur Myriel received a salary of fifteen thousand francs from the government as bishop. The very day he moved into the hospital, Monsieur Myriel decided once and for all to put this sum to use as follows. We transcribe here the note written in his hand.

household expenditure

For the small seminary 1500 livres

Mission congregation 100 livres

For the Lazarists of Montdidier 100 livres

Seminary of foreign missions in Paris 200 livres

Congregation of the Saint-Esprit 150 livres

Religious institutions in the Holy Land 100 livres

Societies of maternal charity 300 livres

For the one at Arles 50 livres

For the betterment of prisons 400 livres

For the relief and release of prisoners 500 livres

For the release of fathers of families imprisoned for debt 1000 livres

Salary supplement for poor schoolteachers in the diocese 2000 livres

Upper Alps public granary 100 livres

Ladies’ Association of Digne, Manosque, and Sisteron,3 for the free education of poor girls 1500 livres

For the poor 6000 livres

My personal expenses 1000 livres

total 15000 livres

The whole time Monsieur Myriel held the see of Digne, he made almost no change in this arrangement—what he called, as we shall see, “taking care of his household expenses.”

Mademoiselle Baptistine accepted the arrangement with absolute submission. For this devout spinster, Myriel was both her brother and her bishop, the friend she grew up with and her superior according to ecclesiastical authority. Quite simply, she loved him and revered him. When he spoke, she listened, and when he took action, she was right behind him. Only the servant, Madame Magloire, grumbled a bit. As you will have noticed, the bishop kept only a thousand livres for himself which, added to Mademoiselle Baptistine’s pension, meant fifteen hundred francs a year. The two old women and the old man all lived on those fifteen hundred francs.

And when some village curé came to Digne, the bishop still managed to find a way of entertaining him, thanks to the assiduous scrimping and saving of Madame Magloire and Mademoiselle Baptistine’s clever management.

One day, when the bishop had been in Digne for about three months, he said, “With all that, things are pretty tight!”

“They certainly are!” cried Madame Magloire. “Monseigneur hasn’t even claimed the money the département owes him for the upkeep of his carriage in town and his rounds in the diocese. In the old days, that was standard for bishops.”

“You’re right, Madame Magloire!” the bishop agreed. And he put in his claim.

A short while later, after considering this application, the department council voted him an annual stipend of three thousand francs, under the heading, Bishop’s Allowance for Carriage Upkeep, Postal Costs, and Travel Expenses Incurred in Pastoral Rounds.

The local bourgeoisie was up in arms over this and an imperial senator,4 who had been a member of the Council of Five Hundred5 promoting the Eighteenth Brumaire and was now provided with a magnificent senatorial seat near Digne township, wrote a cranky little private letter to the minister of public worship, Monsieur Bigot de Préameneu.6 We produce here a genuine extract of a few lines:

“Carriage upkeep? Whatever for, in a town with less than four thousand people? Travel expenses incurred in pastoral rounds? To start with, what’s the good of them anyway? And then, how the hell does he do the rounds by post chaise in such mountainous terrain? There are no roads. One has to proceed on horseback. Even the bridge over the Durance at Château-Arnoux7 can barely take a bullock-drawn cart. All these priests are the same. Greedy and tight. This one played the good apostle when he first turned up. Now he acts like all the rest. He must have a carriage and a post chaise. He must have luxury, the same as the old bishops. Oh, these bloody clergy! Monsieur le comte, things will only come good when the emperor has delivered us from these pious swine. Down with the pope! [Things were not good with Rome at that point.]8 As for me, I’m for Caesar alone.” And so on and so forth.

Madame Magloire, on the other hand, was delighted.

“Hooray!” she said to Mademoiselle Baptistine. “Monseigneur put the others first but he’s wound up having to think of himself, finally. He’s fixed up all his charities. Here’s three thousand livres for us. At last!”

The same night, the bishop wrote a note, which he handed to his sister. It went like this:

carriage upkeep and travel expenses

Beef broth for the sick in the hospital 1500 livres

For the society of maternal charity of Aix 250 livres

For the society of maternal charity of Draguignan 250 livres

For abandoned children 500 livres

For orphans 500 livres

total 3000 livres

And that was Monsieur Myriel’s budget.

As for the cost of episcopal services, redemptions, dispensations, baptisms, sermons, consecrations of churches and chapels, marriages and so on, the bishop took from the rich all the more greedily for giving it all to the poor.

It wasn’t long before offerings of money poured in. The haves and the have-nots all knocked on Monsieur Myriel’s door, some coming in search of the alms that the others had just left. In less than a year, the bishop became treasurer of all works of charity and cashier to all those in distress. Large sums passed through his hands, but nothing could make him change his style of life in the slightest or get him to embellish his spartan existence by the faintest touch of the superfluous.

Far from it. As there is always more misery at the bottom of the ladder than there is fraternity at the top, everything was given away, so to speak, before it was received, like water on thirsty soil. A lot of good it did him to be given money, he never had any. And so, he robbed himself.

The custom being for bishops to put their full baptismal names at the head of their mandates and pastoral letters, the poor people of the area had chosen, out of a sort of affectionate instinct, the one among all the bishop’s various names that made the most sense to them, and so they called him Monseigneur Bienvenu—Welcome. We’ll do likewise whenever the occasion arises. Besides, the nickname tickled him.

“I like that name,” he said. “Bienvenu pulls Monseigneur into line.”

We are not saying that the portrait of the man we offer here is accurate; we will restrict ourselves to the claim that it is a passing likeness.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 287 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    Would It Be Possible To Love A Book More?

    This book is truly a masterpiece. The reader is absolutely drawn in by the characters. I adore books that make me cry because I know that then, I am definately involved. For this book, I bawled! I have to warn you that I have read a couple of different abridged versions and some of them cut out really crucial parts. Play it safe, pick up the unabridged version! You'll love it!

    38 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2011

    Buy at your own risk!

    I love this book, but I was not at all satisfied with the Nook version. It worked fine at first, but then it would freeze up on me. I would constantly get error messages saying the Activity Reader has stopped working, and then I would have to force close it. Then to top it all off, the last part of the book is missing! Not worth wasting your $ ... even if it's only a dollar.

    32 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2008

    Over-rated

    I'm not sure how this excruciatingly long-winded book managed to achieve classic status. The characters are completely flat, from the relentlessly selfless Bishop of Digne to the reformed Jean Valjean who, though he sometimes doubts himself, always winds up being utterly generous and humble, to Thenardier, the caricature of bottomless greed, and Javert the relentless inspector who instead of pursuing murderers, rapists and con-artists, inexplicably spends ten years obsessing over the capture of a guy who stole a loaf of bread and wouldn't give a kid back a coin that he'd dropped. <BR/>For all its flowery prose, this book doesn't manage to bring much of anything to life. We're told that Jean Valjean has this timeless love for adopted little Cosette, but we never get to see that love develop. We never see any tender and inspirational moments between them. The author just insists that it's an amazing love and we are supposed to take his word for it. Likewise the romance between Cosette and Marius. Not much of anything happens between them. There is never a moment when they are together and we feel like we're seeing two people discover the elements of love buried beneath their outward surfaces. Here everything is surface. VH insists that their love is great; we watch them pining away for each other; but really we wonder why exactly they're pining.<BR/>As for the famous digressions in the book, they aren't the problem. Okay--four chapters on the sewers of Paris and the poetics of excrement were a bit much, but the real problem is that Hugo endlessly repeats himself. It seems like he doesn't think the reader is smart enough to appreciate the sense of what he's saying unless he repeats it three or four or five times. At one point, I put the book down in disgust because he posed the same philosophical question (with slight rewording each time) over and over again till it filled up most of a page. If you read this book, be prepared to mutter under your breath "All right, I get it already...could you move on please" quite frequently.<BR/>I've read some reviews that cite this book as a good lesson in the history of the French Revolution. It's not actually about THE French Revolution, just an uprising in Paris more than forty years later, though echoes of the Revolution and its aftermath are everywhere. Unfortunately for the modern non-French reader, Hugo pretty much assumes you already know everything about the Revolution, the Restoration, the reign of Napoleon and lots of more obscure tidbits of French history. He doesn't often explain, but only rhapsodizes on bygone days so that, if you aren't already steeped in French history, you often have to resort to an online encyclopedia to find out what it is he's actually talking about.<BR/>Speaking of not being a French reader, will someone please tell the idiot translators of these kinds of books that they need to translate everything into English. There are untranslated French and Latin phrases sprinkled throughout every chapter. I realize they may not have an exact equivalent in English, but I could at least get a sense of them if they were translated. Leaving them in French or Latin just leaves me with a bunch of words I have to translate myself.

    20 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    Good Book but Glitchy File

    The story of Les Mis is absolutely wonderful. I was drawn to reading the book after seeing the 25th Anniversary production of the musical at the O2 in London (also highly recommended). I like that in the unabridged version, you get more details about the story, but you also get extensive social commentary from Hugo on the world he sees around him. It adds another dimension to the book. That having been said, this particular file works great until you get to 700 out of the 1250 pages. From that point on it continually freezes everytime you try to turn a page. It also frequently kicks you to an entirely different page which may be numerous pages back from where you are currently reading or several chapters ahead.

    17 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Try a different version!!!

    The very ending of the book is missing. It starts freezing towards the end. Loved the story and so upset I couldn't finish it.

    16 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Don't buy this for the NOOK! It's the translation by Fahnestock

    Don't buy this for the NOOK! It's the translation by Fahnestock (as
    advertised). It's the Hapgood translation.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    Do Not Buy THIS Version

    I have spent nearly two hours with customer service because my nook freezes up whenever I try to something unusual like highlight a portion, look up a word, or turn the page. Also got the Activity Reader Error. Final engineering report: we will refund your money. I will purchase another version, but still unabridged as the story is wonderful.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Great Translation - But Abridged

    The misleading title "complete with all 5 volumes" had me thinking this was an unabridged version. It is NOT. Though I enjoy the translation, I wanted to read the WHOLE book.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2011

    Great book, but why pay?

    This is truly a classic. But why pay even $0.99 when you can get it for free at Project Gutenberg????

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    Les Miserables is without a doubt the greatest novel ever writte

    Les Miserables is without a doubt the greatest novel ever written. With 1463 pages, the unabridged version published by Signet Classics is the translation you simply must read. Based off of the classic C.E. Wilbur translation, the voice of Victor Hugo is clear and consistent throughout the novel, and yet the adaptation of the language by MacAfee and Fahnestock makes the story easy to understand and appreciate. While some translations and abridged versions seem to steal away the personalities of the characters and the author, this complete translation makes you feel like you personally know Jean Valjean, Javert, Enjolras, and Victor Hugo.
    Les Miserables isn't like a lot of the classical books that you are forced to read in school, with tragically simple and unsurprising plot lines and blan characters. No, in Les Miserables, there is a surprise in every chapter, and the characters are original and refreshing. (Take Cosette for example: she is not just some boring, preppy 1800's girl. She laughs and jokes with Jean Valjean, and has a bit of a snooty side, very modern and exciting.)
    Victor Hugo included in the novel several poems, songs, and philosophical discussions, which are enlightening and inspiring. In a scene near the beginning of the novel, Bishop Myriel of Digne has a debate with a member of the National Convention, who tells the Bishop why the French Revolution happened, why it had to happen, and why it was a good thing. In no other book is the fight against tyranny expressed as well, save perhaps the works of Thomas Paine.
    And if poetry and philosophy and redemption aren't your thing, there are still the Friends of the ABC. Lead by the brave, Bad-A, Enjolras, this group of quirky students, workers, and misfits take to the streets of Paris in June of 1832, and build a barricade to fight off and over-through the rule of Louis-Philippe. Bravery, action, and explosions fill the later parts of the novel. And yes, even the most manly of men will cry, as our heroes sacrifice their lives for the cause of freedom.
    With its amazing characters, intense plot, and moving words, Les Miserables, written in French by Victor Hugo, and translated into English by C.E. Wilbur, Norman MacAfee, and Lee Fahnestock, is what a novel is supposed to be. You will be spellbound. Though a daunting read, you will not be able to put down what is the greatest novel ever written.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    Crucial parts are unreadable. Don't buy this

    The novel has several poems, songs,and other passages that are essential to the story. In this edition, these passages are truncated on the right side of the page. No matter how small you shrink the font, you can't see the whole line, and the lines don't wrap. Don't buy this edition if you care about the story.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Emotional

    I have read many books before but this one just touched my heart in a diffrent way. It made me think diffrently and Victor Hugo did a very good job! It will make you see a diffrent way of life. I hav only read the free sample but it was just as fasinating.

    P.S- invest in a box of tissues!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    X

    I WENT TO SEE THE THE MOVIE IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SAD BUT SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!z

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    One of the Greatest Classics Ever

    The movie is good, the play is good, the movie based on the play is good, but none of them can hold a candle to the book. It is brilliant and life altering. It is one of my favorite books ever. I have read it many times.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Great book but edition

    Les Miserables is among the greatest book ever written. However, this ebook edition has too many faults to be forgiven. There are several pages that are presented in French with no translation. The last 20 or so pages of the book are missing. The ebook itself bogs down about midway through. Pages become VERY slow to turn. Barnes and Noble should stop selling this edition. The book deserves a five star rating but there are too many problems with this ebook edition.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    Good Story, but cannot open Sample

    Although I am somewhat familiar with this story through theater, I wanted to see how much more the book went in detail, etc., but the sample will not open. BUY WITH CAUTION.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Unabridged

    This is the unabridged

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Les Miserables

    Although this isnt the right one, i still love the story. I saw a nonmusical version of the movie and it was good so i cant wait to see the new one soon. My dad espesially... you shouldve seen his face when he found out its been released X-mas day. XD

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    This version, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee, i

    This version, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee, is my favorite, and is NOT available on Nook. I bought the one that was shown with the paperback version, thinking it was the same, and it is NOT. I am so angry right now! Talk about misleading &amp; false advertising, Barnes &amp; Noble! Please don't ever do this to your customers again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    won of the best books ever! as long as you keep in mind when it

    won of the best books ever! as long as you keep in mind when it was written and the state literature was in at the time. absoulutly his masterpiece. very long book though and at times he went so far of the subject at times that it got frustrating but i was still satisfied with the book. though it it extremely long and quit intimidating at times, i had really no problem reading it. it took me about 2 weeks to read it. i really loved the characters of Jean Valjean, Eponime, Fantine and Javert.....these characters i was absolutly absorbed by i was with them every step of the way and when they all died i felt like i had lived their entire lifetimes. Marius and Cosette were my least favorite characters i felt they were put too high on a pedestool and inspite all they went throughout their lives together and separately they somhow managed to mantain their innocence which i find very hard to believe (which is why i put up on top - as long as you keep in mind the times it was written and the state of Lit. then) i found Cosette boring and Marius surprising cruel. and when he wasn't he always seemed aloof. however without them there is no novel such as this. so i could live with them. the rest of the characters i was indifferent too but again without them the heroes of the book wouldn't be so heroic.
    everyone complains about the addingof Waterloo, the Sewers and other &quot;Books within a book&quot; that deviates from the points that Victor Hugo is trying to make. i too found them distrating. however you find out later how inportant it is too the novel in explaining why a certain character(s) do somthing or in their thinking. think of them as tools you can use if you wish to elp you understand the book. if you skip them, i don't think that it will deminish from you enjoyment of this novel at all. read them after you read the story. i might help you understand it a little better. it is up to the individule reader i think. if for anything you can read those long passages on it own merit. they make good little books all by themselves. Think of them like they were DVD extras if you want. it also goes for his long rants of philosophy you can treat them like the other sub-passages of the book. but this is a little more important and some of them are more inportant to the direct reading of the book and pivitol of the plot. overall i think this is an excellent novel for summer reading. enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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