Les Miserables: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Overview

The first new Penguin Classics translation in forty years of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece—published in a stunning Graphic Deluxe edition

The subject of the world’s longest-running musical and the recent Academy Award–nominated and BAFTA-winning film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables is a genuine literary treasure. Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism, and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past ...

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Les Miserables

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Overview

The first new Penguin Classics translation in forty years of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece—published in a stunning Graphic Deluxe edition

The subject of the world’s longest-running musical and the recent Academy Award–nominated and BAFTA-winning film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables is a genuine literary treasure. Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism, and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him, and has been a perennial favorite since it first appeared nearly 150 years ago. This exciting new translation with Jillian Tamaki’s brilliant cover art will be a gift both to readers who have already fallen for its timeless story and to new readers discovering it for the first time.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Donougher's translation is a magnificent achievement. It reads easily, sometimes racily, and Hugo's narrative power is never let down...[an] almost flawless translation, which brings the full flavour of one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century to new readers in the twenty-first.”
—William Doyle, Times Literary Supplement

"The year's most interesting publication from Penguin Classics was actually [...] a new translation by Christine Donougher of the novel we all know as Les Misérables. You may think that 1,300 pages is a huge investment of time when the story is so familiar, but no adaptation can convey the addictive pleasure afforded by Victor Hugo's narrative voice: by turns chatty, crotchety, buoyant and savagely ironical, it's made to seem so contemporary and fresh in Donougher's rendering that the book has all the resonance of the most topical state-of-the-nation novel."
Telegraph

"Christine Donougher's seamless and very modern translation of Les Misérables has an astonishing effect in that it reminds readers that Hugo was going further than any Dickensian lament about social conditions ... [Les Mis] touches the soul."
Herald Scotland

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143107569
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/24/2015
  • Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Series
  • Edition description: Deluxe
  • Pages: 1456
  • Sales rank: 387,188

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo

VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885) was one of the most revered French writers of the nineteenth century.
CHRISTINE DONOUGHER is a freelance translator from French and Italian and a recipient of the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize.
ROBERT TOMBS is a professor of history at St John’s College, Cambridge, England.
JILLIAN TAMAKI is an illustrator and comic artist and teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

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

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