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About Victor Hugo
Victor Marie Hugo (/ˈhjuːɡoʊ/; French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo]; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best-known French writers. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry and then from his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). He also produced more than 4,000 drawings, which have since been admired for their beauty, and earned widespread respect as a campaigner for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.
Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French franc banknotes.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Étienne Carjat [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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A brilliant modern translation by Christine Donougher of Victor Hugo's thrilling masterpiece, with an introduction by Robert Tombs.
This is the best translation of the novel available in English, as recommended by David Bellos in The Novel of the Century.
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. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty.
'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 [...] 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 [...]The Wretched touches the soul' - Herald Scotland
- Victor Hugo: The Complete Novels
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The only completely unabridged paperback edition of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece—a sweeping tale of love, loss, valor, and passion.
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.
Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope—an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart.
Translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman Macafee, based on the classic nineteenth-century Charles E. Wilbour translation
Inlcudes an Introduction by Lee Fahnestock
and an Afterword by Chris Bohjalian
Les Misérables is at once a tense thriller that contains one of the most compelling chase scenes in all literature, an epic portrayal of the nineteenth-century French citizenry, and a vital drama — highly particularized and poetic in its rendition but universal in its implications — of the redemption of one human being.
One of the half-dozen greatest novels of the world. —Upton Sinclair
The greatest of all novels. —Leo Tolstoy
Hugo is unquestionably the most powerful talent that has appeared in France in the nineteenth century. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I sobbed and wailed and thought [books] were the greatest things. —Susan Sontag
- Hans of Iceland
- The Last Day of a Condemned Man
- The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
- Claude Gueux
- Les Misérables
- Toilers of the Sea
- The Man Who Laughs
Set in 1482, Victor Hugo’s powerful novel of ‘imagination, caprice and fantasy’ is a meditation on love, fate, architecture and politics, as well as a compelling recreation of the medieval world at the dawn of the modern age.
In a brilliant reworking of the tale of Beauty and the Beast, Hugo creates a host of unforgettable characters – amongst them, Quasimodo, the hunchback of the title, hopelessly in love with the gypsy girl Esmeralda, the satanic priest Claude Frollo, Clopin Trouillefou, king of the beggars, and Louis X1, King of France. Over the entire novel, both literally and symbolically, broods the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Vivid characters and memorable set-piece action scenes combine to bring the past to life in this story of love, lust, betrayal, doom and redemption.
Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, Les Misérables is not only superb adventure but a powerful social document. The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity, in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, became the gospel of the poor and the oppressed.
One of the best classic novels in world literature. Jean Valjean, Cosette, Gavrosh – the names of the heroes of the novel have long become common nouns, the number of its readers for a century and a half since the publication of the book has not been reduced, the novel does not lose popularity. A kaleidoscope of people from all walks of life in French society in the first half of the 19th century, vivid, catchy characters, grotesque and romance, sentimentality and realism, a tense, exciting plot are the main reasons for the success of the Hugo book and they are also the main reasons for the frequent appeal to it of world cinema.
A new translation by Scot James Hogarth for the first unabridged English edition of the novel, which tells the story of an illiterate fisherman from the Channel Islands who must free a ship that has run aground in order to win the hand of the woman he loves, a shipowner's daughter.
pageant of picturesque characters, ranging from the cruel, superstitious king, Louis XI, to the underworld of beggars and petty criminals. These disreputable truands' night-time assault on the cathedral is one of the most spectacular set-pieces of Romantic literature.
Hugo vividly depicts medieval Paris, where all life is dominated by the massive cathedral. His passionate enthusiasm for Gothic architecture is set within the context of an epic view of mankind's history, to which he attaches even more importance than to the novel's compelling story. Alban Krailsheimer's new translation is a fresh approach to this monumental classic by France's most celebrated Romantic.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
«Novela, por supuesto, pero también es Historia; historia de los acontecimientos que cambian la faz del mundo, historia social, historia de las mentalidades. Sin olvidar, la dimensión poética, el aliento épico que insufla a la mayoría de sus capítulos. Con ello, el héroe, Jean Valjean, se convierte en una especie de profeta maldito, Cristo redivivo y recrucificado en beneficio de la humanidad, cuyo destino resume.»
De la introducción de Alain Verjat