Victor Hugo: Three Novels (Library of Essential Writers)

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Overview

Victor Hugo wrote at epic scale on grand themes: the irrepressibility of love, the morality of social and political institutions, the redemptive power of mercy, and the indomitability of the human spirit. The most popular writer in nineteenth-century France, his novels are sweeping romances imbued with colorful historical detail, passionate social commentary, moving sentiment, and dramatic character studies.

This omnibus collects three of Hugo?s best-known novels. The Hunchback ...

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2008 Hard cover 3 Novels in 1. Complete and Unabridged. New in new dust jacket. 3 Novels in 1. Complete and Unabridged. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Mis?rables, The Man Who ... Laughs. 3 Novels in 1. Complete and Unabridged. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Mis?rables, The Man Who Laughs. 3 Novels in 1. Complete and Unabridged. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Mis?rables, The Man Who Laughs. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Victor Hugo wrote at epic scale on grand themes: the irrepressibility of love, the morality of social and political institutions, the redemptive power of mercy, and the indomitability of the human spirit. The most popular writer in nineteenth-century France, his novels are sweeping romances imbued with colorful historical detail, passionate social commentary, moving sentiment, and dramatic character studies.

This omnibus collects three of Hugo’s best-known novels. The Hunchback of Notre Dame tells the story of four men from different walks of life who vie for the hand of the gypsy woman Esmerelda. Les Misérables, Hugo’s masterpiece, is the story of thief Jean Valjean’s spiritual transformation and his pursuit by relentless forces of justice. The Man Who Laughs is Hugo’s somber and serious meditation on class struggle and the sufferings of the underclass.

Victor Hugo: Three Novels is part of Barnes & Noble’s Library of Essential Writers. Each title in the series presents the finest works—complete and unabridged—from one of the greatest writers in literature in magnificent, elegantly designed hardback editions. Every volume also includes an original introduction that provides the reader with enlightening information on the writer’s life and works.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760793237
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 10/18/2008
  • Series: Library of Essential Writers Series
  • Edition description: Complete and Unabridged
  • Pages: 1546
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 2.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo (1802-­1885) was born in Paris and grew up in garrison towns in France and Spain where his father, an officer in Napoleon’s army, was posted. He decided upon a writing career while a teenager and published his first novel, the historical romance Hans of Iceland, in 1825. Its popular reception spurred his literary ambitions and he became a prolific writer of poetry, essays, dramas, and novels, many of them informed by his criticism of the penal system and disdain for the death penalty. With the production of his play Hernani in 1830, and the publication of The Hunchback of Notre Dame the following year, Hugo was recognized as a major literary writer whose fiction served as a vehicle for social and political commentary. He was inducted into the Académie Française in 1841 and made a peer of France in 1845. In 1851, Hugo fled to Belgium for political reasons and remained in exile for the next nineteen years. He published his masterpiece, Les Misérables, in 1862, and The Man Who Laughs in 1869. With the fall of the Second Republic in 1870, Hugo returned to France and a hero’s welcome. He held several positions in the French government and, for the rest of his life, was regarded as France’s most popular writer and leading man of letters.

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:

"!"

Read More Show Less
    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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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 21, 2009

    Well Worth the Money

    Understand that any other Hardcover volume of Les Miserables would run you $20 at least, to find a hard cover edition for under $14 and has The Hunchback of Notre Dame along with it is a complete steal. These books are not on the short side, so be prepared for a smaller font. Also, from a reader's point of view, Hugo tends to go into great detail of the history and background of each character and enviroment. This gives a wonderful life to his worlds, but can get on the nerves of today's more impatient readers, but worth working through. I implore anyone to read these stories. They are classics and can change your perspective on a great many things.

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  • Posted March 18, 2009

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    Tough read

    I love this story, but do understand it is not the musical. It so much more!

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