Les Miserables (Paperback)
|Few novels ever swept the world with such overpowering impact as LES MISERABLES. Within twenty-four hours of its publication in 1862, the first Paris edition was sold out. In other great cities throughout the world, it was devoured with equal relish.|
Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, LES MISERABLES is not only a superb adventure but a powerful social document. The story of how the convict Jean Valjean struggles 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 greatest works in Western literature, LES MISERABLES is an exhilarating and deeply profound reading experience.
From the Publisher:
Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, LES MISERABLES 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.The nineteenth-century Frenchman's epic work which depicts the life of Jean Valjean, a reformed convict who has dedicated his life to helping others
Hugo's wrenching story centers on Jean Valjean, an honest peasant sentenced to five years' hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread, then 19 more for trying to escape. Turned into a hardened and ruthless criminal by his experiences, he reforms, becomes mayor of a French town, but is tracked down by the pitiless detective Javert for another obscure crime, and incarcerated. Escaping again from the brutal French prison, he befriends a prostitute named Fantine and her daughter, Cosette. This 1862 novel is remarkable for its sympathetic portrayal of common people: prisoners, the poor, women of the streets--all the down-and-out victims of the gross inequities of class in 19th-century Europe.
"From the bare abstract, the story does not seem to promise much pleasure to novel-readers, yet it is all alive with the fiery genius of Victor Hugo, and the whole representation is so intense and vivid that it is impossible to escape from the fascination it exerts over the mind. Few who take the book up will leave it until they have read it through. It is morbid...but its morbid elements are so combined with sentiments abstractly Christian that it is calculated to wield a...pernicious influence.... Its tendency is to weaken that abhorrence of crime which is the great shield of most of the virtue which society possesses, and it does this by attempting to prove that society itself is responsible for crimes it cannot prevent, but can only punish....Considered as a passionate romance, appealing to the sympathies of the ordinary readers of novels, it will do infinitely more harm than good." - Edwin Percy Whipple July 1862 "Hugo's genius was for the creation of simple and recognisable myth. The huge success of 'Les Miserables' as a didactic work on behalf of the poor and oppressed is due to its poetic and myth-enlarged view of human nature....Hugo himself called this novel 'a religious work'; and it has indeed the necessary air of having been written by God in one of his more accessible and saleable moods." - V. S. Pritchett
Customer Reviews of Les Miserables
this is one of the greatest books of all time. the description of the father in the beginning of the story is so inspiring because it shows that one person's generosity of spirit can transform even the most depraved soul. The story is interrupted by longdescriptions of irrelevant events that are best skipped over.
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