Les Misérables

Les Misérables

Paperback - 2013
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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
Publisher: New York : Signet Classics, 2013, c1987.
ISBN: 9780451419439
045141943X
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: xxiii, 1476 p. ; 18 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

This was the first great novel in which I became completely lost. It broke my heart and left me breathlessly turning page after page. Alain Boubill and Claude-Michel Schonberg brought it to the stage in spectacular fashion in 1980 after which it became not only one of my best-loved books but dear... Read More »


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b
blue_dog_17792
May 31, 2019

Really good book, recommended.

j
jschiffmayer
May 18, 2019

This is very likely the best book I have ever read. Despite it's intimidating size, it is well worth the read.

d
DoctorVine
Feb 06, 2019

This was on my list to read before I die. I am glad I did. It is long, it is hard, but it is truly worth all of the effort.

SPPL_Anna Mar 15, 2018

I have been slowly working my way through The Brick for the past 6 years, and someday I will finish it.

r
rpavlacic
Oct 26, 2017

It's been argued that, more than "A Tale of Two Cities" or "War and Peace," "Les Misérables" best defines the 19th century. This is an argument that could go on ad infinitum, but having read this book it is definitely a masterpiece. Among the multiple characters, storylines and a lengthy time period in setting - roughly 1815 to 1833 - the story is essentially built around four characters: Jean Valjean, who is on parole after a brutal 19 years in prison for petty theft,; Cosette, the young girl he takes in and raises as his own daughter; Marius, who is smitten by Cosette and will do anything to marry her; and Javert, the policeman who is looking for any excuse to put Valjean back in jail.

The translation in the book I read is the most recent, by Christine Donougher and published by Penguin Classics. It is almost flawless in its presentation and captures well what is often very difficult French. Besides the more than 100 pages of endnotes explaining words and concepts, the translation is distinguished by three bullet points. First, working on the "tu" versus "vous" means of addressing someone, Donougher notes when someone who should be addressed formally with "vous" is addressed in condescension with "tu" - and the reverse when the subject is an ordinary person and is treated with more respect than warranted. Second, where regional dialects appear in the original text, she preserves it intact, then uses a footnote to rewrite it in standard French along with the translation into English. And third, in referring to the hated French penal system known as "le bagne," she uses the term "prison hulks" to capture just how fearsome the regime was - and why Valjean, in this case, was so determined not to go back to jail.

A wonderful book, an excellent translation. This is the interpretation I would recommend.

n
Nadrina Whatley
Aug 24, 2016

I'm not sure anyone will be able to answer this for me, but which translation is this? It just says it's an ebook published by Fictionwise and the author is Victor Hugo. But the book was originally written in French so this is obviously based on a translation..l want to know which one, and if it's the abridged or unabridged version. I've looked everywhere for this info!

Whaling_Waffle Jun 05, 2016

I first read Les Misérables in 2009 and it remains the best book I have ever read.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

Like many novels of the era, Les Misérables is bogged down by digressions and rants that tend to be political, philosophical, or personal. Not your thing? Strip away all these offenses and Les Misérables is a riveting story of redemption.

o
onbs
Jul 13, 2015

Amazing, beautifully written book. A bit long and slow in some parts, but overall, a great read! By far my favourite classic. Make sure you have a box of tissues beside you!

7Liberty7 Oct 16, 2014

You won't go wrong reading this stirring and touching book. As a side note, Hugo fills the pages with explanations, descriptions, etc. so be prepared for a long read. Jean Valjean remains among my top favorite characters from literature.

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blue_dog_17792
May 28, 2019

blue_dog_17792 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Budlong
Jun 07, 2018

Budlong thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Mar 13, 2017

maggie_j_g thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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onbs
Jul 13, 2015

onbs thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

7Liberty7 May 19, 2014

7Liberty7 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Blue_Cat_1606 Oct 13, 2013

Blue_Cat_1606 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

AmandaVollmershausen Mar 05, 2013

AmandaVollmershausen thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

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ery_uen
Mar 24, 2012

ery_uen thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Summary

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o
onbs
Jul 13, 2015

This is a novel about a man named Valjean who is arrested for stealing a loaf of bread. He escapes and after much struggle to find a place to stay in, he is welcomed by a kind bishop who later changes Valjean forever. Valjean creates a new identity as a Mayor and influences everybody he meets (the kindest saint ever!) However, an investigator recognizes the Mayor as the convict from years before. As he tries to stay out of his sight, he is also trying to save this little girl named Cosette. A moving, compelling story... You better read to find out what happens!

r
red_horse_2511
May 27, 2014

Jean Valjean steals a piece of bread because his sister's children are starving. He is imprisoned for five years, but racks up a total of 19 for trying to escape. Once escaped, he breaks parole and creates a new identity; M. Mayor. Fantine, who had a child, Cosette, with a man named Tholoymes is abandoned by him, and is fired from her job in a factory. Cosette stays with an innkeeper and his wife(Fantine pays them, as she is unaware they treat Cosette as a slave), the two Thenardiers, who has three children; Eponine, Azelma, and Gavroche. She is rescued later by Jean Valjean, under the identity of M. Mayor. Jean Valjean feels responsible for Cosette after Fantine dies, and he raises her as his own, escaping Inspector Javert again, who is trying to catch him/find him. Years later when Cosette is 18, she meets Marius Pontmercy, a student, and also part of the Les Amis. The two fall in love. The Les Amis is a group of students(he main character ones are Jehan/Jean Prouvaire, Bousette, Bahorel, Courfeyrac, Gavroche, Grantaire, Combeffere, etc.) who are starting a revolution(the French Revolution). Many small subplot details happen, and then, at the barricade, Eponine saves Marius by blocking a shot, as she's in love with him; she dies. All the Les Amis dies, except Marius who is saved by Jean Valjean who went to the barricade. Jean Valjean saved Javert by pretending to shoot him and let him go free, as he was an infiltrator. Javert jumps off a bridge. Marius recovers and marries Cosette. Jean Valjean leaves to a convent, and Marius and Cosette join him after Thenardier tips them off to his whereabouts. Marius has no idea Jean Valjean saved him. Jean Valjean dies with Marius and Cosette by his side.

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Laura_X Feb 22, 2019

If people did not love one another, I really don't see what use there would be in having any spring.

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