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
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.
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.