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The Man Who Laughs
     

The Man Who Laughs

4.4 10
by Victor Hugo, David Hine (Adapted by), Mark Stafford (Illustrator)
 

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Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs (first published under the French title L'Homme qui Rit in April 1869) is a sad and sordid tale -- not the sort of tale of the moment Hugo was known for. It starts on the night of January 29, 1690, a ten-year-old boy abandoned -- the stern men who've kept him since infancy have wearied of him. The boy wanders, barefoot

Overview

Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs (first published under the French title L'Homme qui Rit in April 1869) is a sad and sordid tale -- not the sort of tale of the moment Hugo was known for. It starts on the night of January 29, 1690, a ten-year-old boy abandoned -- the stern men who've kept him since infancy have wearied of him. The boy wanders, barefoot and starving, through a snowstorm to reach a gibbet bearing the corpse of a hanged criminal. Beneath the gibbet is a ragged woman, frozen to death. The boy is about to move onward when he hears a sound within the woman's garments: He discovers an infant girl, barely alive, clutching the woman's breast. A single drop of frozen milk, resembling a pearl, is on the woman's lifeless breast . . .

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Hine’s script neither shrinks from nor winks at the tale’s over-the-top melodrama, and Stafford’s elaborately cursive and pointy drawing style, awash in darkness and saturated colors, expresses it near perfectly.”
Village Voice
“Although his visage inspired Batman’s most splendiferous villain, the Joker, Gwynplaine’s commonsense polemics still resonate, whether in Occupy protests or speeches by Elizabeth Warren.”
Library Journal
The recent success of the stage adaptation of Les Miserables has made Hugo's name widely known to the general public. Atlantean Press marks this resurgence with the inauguration of a series of re-published works by Hugo. The Man Who Laughs ( L'Homme qui rit , 1869), generally unavailable in English since the turn of the century, is the first volume in the series. This translation, by an unidentified translator, remains highly readable. The work itself, however, despite the touching tale of the love between the blind Dea and the deformed Gwynplaine, is highly stylized, extremely long, and often tedious. It will be interesting primarily for readers wishing to gain familiarity with a lesser known work by the father of French romanticism and with the tastes of the French reading public at the time.-- Anthony Caprio, Oglethorpe Univ., Atlanta

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781906838584
Publisher:
SelfMadeHero
Publication date:
09/09/2014
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
893,526
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author


Victor Hugo (1802–1885) was one of the most prominent French writers and political figures of the 19th century. David Hine has worked in comics since the 1980s, and has written Batman for DC Comics, as well as Spider-Man and X-Men for Marvel Comics. He lives in London. Mark Stafford is a cartoonist-in-residence at the Cartoon Museum in London. He has collaborated with Costa award–winning Bryan Talbot on Cherubs! He lives in London.

 

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 26, 1802
Date of Death:
May 22, 1885
Place of Birth:
Besançon, France
Place of Death:
Paris, France
Education:
Pension Cordier, Paris, 1815-18

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The Man Who Laughs 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be somewhat long and tedious but nonetheless enchanting and captivating. The road Hugo takes you on is long, yet it is certainly worth the travel. The love story in this, along with the human tragedy will sweep you up and not let you go until the end. It was a very good read, and I am thirsting for more...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although The Man Who Laughs is one of Hugo's easier novels to read, it is another shining example of his literary genius - his unique ability to portray the particulars of human nature in the most objective manner and to convey a memorable and passionate 'sense of life' represented by his characters. This novel gives new meaning to the saying 'never judge a book by its' cover.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book when I was young, around age 17, and now again at age 45, and I am still impressed by the touching story and the particular style Hugo tried to introduce with this book; the style is an expression of extreme romanticism: like thrillers in our days, he wants to surprise readers with each sentence and keep their attention up all the time, not only by the events of the book, but also by the way he describes them. I read that after he published this book he gave up this way of writing, which makes it unique in a way. --- BTW, there is also a film from 1928 made on the basis of this book, directed by Paul Leni, with Conrad Veidt as Gwynplain, Mary Philbin as Dea, Brandon Hurst as Barkilphedro, and Olga Baclanova as Duchess Josiana. --- I highly recommend this book - it's after Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame his most successful work, I think!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book touches on some very 'interesting' subjects - quite disturbing subthemes. It is too bad no one in America has heard of this unforgetable work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are sad or anything, don't read this book. It's a great story and all, but it will leave you feeling hollow and depressed.
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