Les Miserables (Rose Translation)

Les Miserables (Rose Translation)

4.4 165
by Victor Hugo

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In this major new rendition by the acclaimed translator Julie Rose, Victor Hugo’s tour de force, Les Misérables, is revealed in its full unabridged glory. A favorite of readers for nearly 150 years, and the basis for one of the most beloved stage musicals ever, this stirring tale of crime, punishment, justice, and redemption pulses with life and

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In this major new rendition by the acclaimed translator Julie Rose, Victor Hugo’s tour de force, Les Misérables, is revealed in its full unabridged glory. A favorite of readers for nearly 150 years, and the basis for one of the most beloved stage musicals ever, this stirring tale of crime, punishment, justice, and redemption pulses with life and energy. Hugo sweeps readers from the French provinces to the back alleys of Paris, and from the battlefield of Waterloo to the bloody ramparts of Paris during the uprising of 1832.

First published in 1862, this sprawling novel is an extravagant historical epic that is teeming with harrowing adventures and unforgettable characters. In the protagonist, Jean Valjean, a quintessential prisoner of conscience who languished for years in prison for stealing bread to feed his starving family, Les Misérables depicts one of the grand themes in literature–that of the hunted man. Woven into the narrative are the prevalent social issues of Hugo’s day: injustice, authoritarian rule, social inequality, civic unrest. And this new translation brings astonishing vivacity and depth to Hugo’s immortal dramatis personae–the relentless police detective Javert, the saintly bishop Myriel, the tragic prostitute Fantine and her innocent daughter, Cosette, the dashing lover Marius, and many others whom Jean Valjean encounters on his path to sublime sacrifice.

Featuring an Introduction by the award-winning journalist and author Adam Gopnik, this Modern Library edition is an outstanding, authoritative translation of a masterpiece, a literary high-wire act that continues to astonish, stimulate, enlighten, and entertain readers around the world.

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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)

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Random House Publishing Group
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6.42(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.65(d)

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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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Les Miserables 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 165 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As if anyone needed an excuse to read Les Miserables--one of the most fantastic pieces of literature of all time--we now have a wonderfully rendered translation by Julie Rose. Coupled with a wildly intelligent introduction by Adam Gopnik, this is the most complete and informative edition of Hugo's masterpiece to date. With ludicrously complete endnotes, one can read the novel and achieve near total comprehension of the era about which Hugo was writing. We understand through this winning translation and notes why Napoleon was good and evil, why he was such a polarizing figure, why the French Revolution was so important to European and world history. Understanding the world from which Hugo's charaters come helps us relate and identify with them even more. We understand why Enjolras is a zealot, why Javert is dedicated beyond reason to the law, why Fantine felt she had run out of options, to name a very few. Les Miserables, at its core, is a meditation on the human spirit in its idealized form: what Man can achieve through good deeds, dedication, and love of his fellow men. Read and be inspired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The translation of Victor Hugo's Les Misrables by Norman Denny is as close as you can get to an unabridged version. This is not a volume to be read quickly, so if you are on a deadline let this one lie & get one of the shorter translations; but you will be missing the full experience! Hugo's style was to go on in excrutiating detail about the people, places, & institutions in his stories. It is one of the things that make his works timeless; you come away with not just so much entertainment, but an understanding of the place & time that the characters inhabited, & what they thought & felt & why. Norman Denny captures that full experience in his translation, with minimal editorializing or abridging. He includes two appendices that were complete chapters in Hugo's original text, but depart fully from the story line to give background & explanation. You will be tempted at times to skip several pages or whole chapters. Don't! Instead, take a break (stretch, get a cup of coffee, a nap, some conversation, some excercise, or do some work) and come back to it fresh later so you can savor every nuance. It will be worth it when you come to the last chapters & can read not only what happens to the characters, but feel what they feel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LibrarianJP More than 1 year ago
In this epic tale, Hugo has an endless array of characters that are willing to do whatever they have to including sacrificing themselves, to ensure that those they love are happy. The amazing characters are made even more realistic in that Hugo shows that each one of them is human, each one has their own faults, this only makes the novel more inspiring, as it illustrates to us that everyday people, just like us, have the strength to self sacrifice for the greater good. It is a beautiful novel that inspires us to live not for ourselves, but for others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THis is by far my favorite book! It was outstanding.I read the entire book when I was 14 and still is my favorite.I love all of the detailing Victor Hugo does.He is a Great writer and the book is full of adventure ,I just couldn't put the book down!My favorite character has to be Eponine.I definatly recommend this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Les Miserables Les Miserables is one of the best books I¿ve ever read. It contrasts the hard life of Jean Valjean, a convict, to the sheltered and almost star struck life of Cossette, whom Jean Valjean fosters after her mother, Fantine, dies. When placed against the striking background of a Paris in political turmoil, this story strikes a chord in every person who reads it. I give it an A+, 10 out of 10, 5 stars, whatever I can to express how good this book is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
undoubtedly, this novel is an eye-opener! with the revealing plot and the symbolic figures used, Hugo artistically presented a story of a convict with a touch of the political dilemma of the people during his time. the characters of fantine, cosette and javert add up to the effectiveness of the novel and their stories are somehow affecting the the outcome. Valjean's character is outrageously different , his transformation from a convict into an important man of society makes his character interesting despite the struggles he encountered especially with Javert who appeared as a classical villain although his objectives are just a part of his job. the love story of marius and cosette , on the other hand made a little part boring because the flow of story became slow but still it adds flavor to the completeness of the novel!!! truly les miserables is recommendable and 5 stars are enough to fully recognized the essential points that this eye-opener is trying to implant into our minds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a marvelous, detailed, and exciting read. This is quite possibly my favorite book- there aren't any words to describe it more than that... This text must have inspired thousands of books to be written, and is still, in my opinion, one of the best books in history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book wraps you up in a whirlpool of remarkable characters and inspiring events. Way cool. Try this novel if your looking for something that will leave you pining for it ages after it. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ending! Something you could read again and again! (Also because it's so long by the time it's done you forgot how it started.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Les Miserables was amazing. Hugo's motivational inspiration on the actions and events in his actual life time are just amazing, and reflect on his writing, and how he portrays his story, and characters. Not only is the storyline intriguing, and adventurous, but his personal view on life in general, is so true. This is what highschool literature should be based on. Not these idiot teen novels we're forced to be reading. Thankyou Victor. I enjoyed your book very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Escape - to avoid capture, danger, or harm. This simple word is the center of life for Jean Valjean, a master of escape in Victor Hugo's novel, 'Les Miserables'. Les Miserables is not only a captivating novel which cultivates and evokes deep thoughts, but it also retained this reader¿s interest. Les Miserables has an excellent mixture of grief, action, suspense, and eventual happiness to please any avid reader. It allows insight into the human soul and gives hope for the future through Valjean¿s actions. The mood in Les Miserables is a constantly changing one. Tension consumed me as the mood changed and made me feel the imminent doom, reconciliation, and hopelessness released by the characters. A sense of mystery and foreboding is emulated through the dark settings. Most of the action occurs in a dark, dreary place, or at night, so as to give off a feeling of bad happenings. One of the biggest reasons for my love of Les Miserables has to be the story line itself. An ex-convict transforms himself from a bitter, angry person to one who sacrifices himself to better others. Stories like this give me faith in the human race and humanity. The characters are what give Les Miserables its power to fascinate readers. Each character plays a specific part in creating the novel. Fantine, a lonely, hopeless prostitute, represents misfortune. Jean Valjean is the savior for all characters. He is the one who nurses Fantine in her time of need, raises the orphaned Cosette, and saves Marius in his time of peril. Cosette is light of Valjean¿s life. Witnessing Cosette make Valjean happy lightens the mood and give Les Miserables appeal to the emotions. Javert, the police investigator, is the stimulant for most of the action and chasing in the novel. Each character contributes his or her personality to the work as a whole. I would recommend this riveting book to people who enjoy action novels with plenty of conflict and pleasing endings. Extreme detail makes Les Miserables memorable. I remembered the smallest detail because of the wonderful descriptions portrayed by Hugo. Relying heavily on justice and morality, Les Miserables kept me in suspense waiting to discover what misfortune would fall upon the next character. I recommend this book to all ardent readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe Les Miserables deserves four stars. It encompasses the primary historical trends of the nineteenth century. Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables, utilizes some of his personal experiences to create the exciting adventures of Jean Valjean, the protagonist of the novel, provides insight on poignant issues such as universal suffrage, prison reform, free education, and social equality. I recommend reading this novel. Les Miserables not only broadens the mind toward social issues, but the techniques used to form the novel enhanced the theme. The context of this novel was enjoyable because Hugo appropriately used different techniques to intensify the effect of the novel, one of which is symbolism. Three of the main characters symbolize different dilemmas present during the French Revolution, the period in which Les Miserables was written. Jean Valjean symbolizes the degradation of man in the proletariat; once a man has committed a crime, he will always be a convict. Cosette symbolizes atrophy of the child by darkness; women who birth children out of wedlock are belittled. Fantine symbolizes the subjection of women through hunger; women would suffice anything to survive in society. Through Jean Valjean, Hugo implemented satire to provide Les Miserables with moral redemption. In Valjean¿s attempt to redeem his past, he progresses from convict to saint. This ironical situation salvages one¿s view of mankind, that salvation can be acquired and produce a tremendous impact. The satire and moral redemption, in this novel, added immensely to the effect of the theme. It provides a sense of comfort; people make mistakes, but through those mistakes knowledge is gained for them to succeed. Another interesting technique Hugo used consists of a microcosm. He created a world within a world. Valjean possessed his own world that revolved around him and Cosette. Through this microcosm the reader gains a feeling of attachment to Cosette and Valjean. When something happens to either of them it seems as though it has befallen upon a close friend of the reader. Although this novel contains unsurpassable context, it also contains a few minor flaws. The story line for Les Miserables seems to drag out, which makes the book difficult to read. It seems as though the novel may continue forever. If the novel had not tarried along, it may have been easier to comprehend. Unfortunately, I became bored with the novel at times and had to cease reading for a while. Hugo¿s eccentric use of symbolism, satire, a microcosm, and moral redemption, provide a source of exquisite reading material. Hugo used many other techniques to spawn Les Miserables, such as flashbacks, similes and metaphors, irony, monologue, and self-communion. Each technique adds to the exquisiteness of the final product. This novel is distinguished worldwide for its portrayal of France during the French Revolution. Ultimately, Les Miserables subsists of extraordinary context. I highly recommend reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I find 'Les Miserables' to be one of the most incredible novels ever written! 'Les Miserables' is a wonderful novel about redemption and the analysis of one's own heart. The primary focus shadows upon the life of protagonist, Jean Valjean. Valjean, after many years of imprisonment, sets forth on a journey to give himself a new name and place in society. All of his random acts of kindness are a result of the hospitality of a town priest. The seeds of compassion that were sprinkled on Valjean grow into an array of meaningful lessons that the 'real world' will later find enduring. I believe that 'Les Miserables' is an astounding novel. In fact, I had the entire book read in less than one week. I never wanted to put it down. The plotlines are all about common and perceivable issues, but they are displayed in such an intensely rich, dramatic manner that is extremely mind-captivating. Nineteenth Century France is a very culturally and socially rich place to begin with, but the way Victor Hugo writes makes the entire novel sound that much more impeccable. The creative imagery (to some extent) invokes the reader to feel as if they are a part of the novel. I even found myself yelling at the book at the very exciting parts. Yes folks,I was that drawn into the novel! 'Les Miserables' centers around many themes which I feel that the society of today and the society of tomorrow should start examining very closely. To begin, one common theme is: 'Nothing is more worthy to own that compassion, ' which is also a quote from Bette Midler. This theme is consistantly examplified all throughout the novel. Seemingly, compassion is the key element motivating everything in 'Les Miserables.' If not for compassion, the fate of the characters would seem even more detrimental and depressing that what they already appear. Also, much usage of sensory details enhances the tone of the setting. A Parisian cathedral is no longer looked at as another common church, but as an emmaculate building of devoted worship. 'Les Miserables' is also told from many different points of view, adding more complexity and intenseness to this piece of literary art. The novel is divided into five sections, each with its own morality play essence. Whether it be a story from the devoted Jean Valjean, or the saint-like Fantine, none are forgettable. In order to fully enjoy this novel, one would have to possess a lot of empathy, sympathy, and understanding. If the reader does not dive into the novel with these qualities, he or she will surely finish the novel with them. Personally, I was very moved by the entire work as a whole. The drama, emotion, and most of all, the teachings are heartfelt and inspiring. I strongly recommend this novel to everyone! The climactic adrenaline that the reader feels is enough to last a lifetime. However, do not let the number of pages steer you away from something so prestigious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Les Miserables was a truly remarkable book and i loved every part of it. I simply could not put it down once i started. It was a great work of art. And i simply enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
im a seventh grader and im reading this for an honors english class. i will admit it is kinda hard to read but in the end it is all worth while!!!!!
Anonymous 5 months ago
Beautifully written- you feel much closer to the characters in the stage version (such as how the musical doesn't explain Javert's backstory). The book truly makes you think about the workings of society. I'm not going to spoil the plot, so I'll just give a brief summary: Jean Valjean spends nineteen years in prison for theft. He spends the rest of his life searching for redemption, becoming an honest man in the process. FAVORITE CHARACTER: Javert- I relate to this character more than the others, as there have been times when I have felt unstable. Thankfully I got through it. FAVORITE SCENE: The Gorbeau Tenement, because somehow ( hacks?) Valjean trolls several Thenardier, most of Patron-Minette, and the police. OVERALL: 5/5, I highly recommend it.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Name: Glade Simplicity <p> Gender: &#9794 Age 24 <p> Parents: Zeus and Hera <p> A rich guy who is small and looks charming with perfect teeth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She walks in adn asks,"Can i join?" ((Hello to my friend who i know is here!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bakersfield ,Ca .........answer to bre
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Le miserables? Or what?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Christine Donougher&rsquo;s new translation is brilliant. That the novel is a classic, we knew. What Donougher does is make the work seem fluent to our eye and ear and as thrilling to us now as it must have been when it was published in 1862. The relevance of this story to our world cries out to us, and the simplicity of the language makes it accessible even to a schoolchild. The time it must have taken both the translator and the publisher (Penguin Classics) to complete this gorgeously-produced novel is staggering but they have allowed us to marvel at Hugo&rsquo;s work once again. What astonishes me is that by the time Hugo wrote Les Miserables, he was already a widely respected poet and author in France. Hugo began as a poet and was in his late thirties when he wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Twenty years later, Les Miserables was published. Part I was published first, and sold so well that subscribers lined up for the rest of the work. How could Hugo create characters as heartbreakingly complete as the young Gavroche, as recognizable as the teenaged Cosette, or as good as the Bishop of Digne? Hugo created an entire world with this huge novel, and we believe him about the bleak penury and poverty. But how did he know it? Hugo is so supremely sure of his audience that two hundred and fifty pages into the novel he takes fifty pages to lead us on a tour of the old battlefield of Waterloo, recounting for us every strategy of the generals and how their plans went awry. &ldquo;Let us go back now--it is one of the narrator&rsquo;s privileges,&rdquo; he says, knowing we would follow him wherever by this time, we are so anxious to hear about the child Cosette who was left with exploitative foster parents Th&eacute;nardier and is now being sought by the again-fugitive Valjean. It turns out that the Battle of Waterloo is not just discursive after all, but tells us of the first meeting of Pontmercy and Th&eacute;nardier.  Valjean is recaptured and sentenced to a chain-gang. The ingenious method of his escape this time is both breathtaking and heart-warming--he saves a working sailor from the deep--and we find ourselves mad for love of him. As we progress further in this magnificent novel, we begin to mull over why it is so remarkable: what qualities make it a classic? The scope and relevance of the work which we find immediate even today (&ldquo;the poor will ever be with us&rdquo;) and&hellip;Hugo plays us. By his characterizations he captures something in us which wants to believe in goodness, in heroism, in fairness and the right for something better. He involves our every sense, our every emotion. Even the wicked are making sense of their cruel world and therefore can be seen as humorous, or forgivable. We are on the barricades, waving the red flag and singing. What a brave book. In the Production Notes of the latest Oscar-nominated version of the film starring Jackman, Crowe, Hathaway, Redmayne, Carter, and Cohen, all the actors praise the set for making them feel like they were in 19th Century Paris. When the Set Designers were asked where they got their inspiration, they said they had done a little bit of research, but most of what they constructed gave from the descriptions in the novel itself. The book is a self-contained world. We have everything we need to draw each character and know them intimately. Every bow is tied, every thread followed.  I have seen at least three different film versions of Les Miserables and I have to say that Tom Hooper&rsquo;s version stays with me the longest and best, while at the same time recognizing that I will always think of Gerard Depardieux as Jean Valjean. Tom Hooper&rsquo;s ability to make song the natural mode of communication was unlike anything I&rsquo;d seen before. That skill, along with the actors&rsquo; skills, paired with the Claude-Michel Sch&ouml;nberg score and the Herbert Kretzmer lyrics, together make such a brilliant work that one really is cheated unless one hears the score sung. Hugo would be proud. The book is such a huge work that directors must choose what they will show, and Hooper changed his scenes from the stage presentations because he had more latitude. I so appreciate that he showed &Eacute;ponine taking a bullet for Marius just as it is in the text. The story itself is an unwieldy thing and moving from the story of Jean Valjean to that portion that incorporates Marius is a big obstacle for directors and readers. Hooper manages it adroitly by choosing the telegenic and enormously compelling Eddie Redmayne to play Marius and Hugo manages it by making his work more interesting than anything else we could be reading. I can hardly imagine someone reading or listening to this story in the nineteenth century and what a miracle it would have seemed, with so many moments of riveting tension, chatty background, and characters real enough to paint.  Hooper, the director of the most recent film version, abridged the work so well and while I questioned the appearance of Marius&rsquo; uncle hovering in some scenes, I can see why he wanted to include it. In the book the uncle is a creature of huge regrets and it must have seemed impossible to leave him out entirely, though I don&rsquo;t think it played well in the film. By the same token, Hooper and Crowe made the death of Javert a much more emotional moment than it was for me when I read it. Crowe so inhabited the character of Javert we found ourselves actually caring for him at the same time we feared him. That is a complicated response. But I liked the way Hugo managed Javert's slipping away from the front door of Valjean's house with no words or sense of moment. That was Javert's moment of greatness, and it was so quiet and small, almost nonexistent. What a thing to write! This translation by Christine Donougher is magnificent. She makes Hugo once again seem completely relevant and current through her use of language, accentuating Hugo&rsquo;s great gifts. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to see the differences between the work itself and any attempts at stage play. Hugo was a great storyteller and while I wish I could have heard the clamor when the work was published that first time in 1862, I feel lucky to have experienced it in 2015.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great, I love the storyline too ! It has a lot of pages if you get the paperback version. 1463 to be exaxt. Don't give up keep on reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey guys
Anonymous More than 1 year ago