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Number of Pages: 1472
Vendor: Random House
Publication Date: 1998
|Dimensions: 8.28 X 5.48 X 2.33 (inches)|
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It has been said that Victor Hugo has a street named after him in virtually every town in France. A major reason for the singular celebrity of this most popular and versatile of the great French writers is Les Misérables (1862). In this story of the trials of the peasant Jean Valjeana man unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective JavertHugo achieves the sort of rare imaginative resonance that allows a work of art to transcend its genre.
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 dramahighly particularized and poetic in its rendition but universal in its implicationsof the redemption of one human being.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Julie Rose’s acclaimed translations include Alexandre Dumas’s The Knight of Maison-Rouge and Racine’s Phèdre, as well as works by Paul Virilio, Jacques Rancière, Chantal Thomas, and many others. She is a recipient of the PEN medallion for translation and the New South Wales Premier’s Translation Prize.
Adam Gopnik is the author of Paris to the Moon and Through the Children’s Gate, and editor of the Library of America anthology Americans in Paris. He writes on various subjects for The New Yorker and has recently written introductions to works by Maupassant, Balzac, Proust, and Alain-Fournier.
"Hugo's genius was for the creation of simple and recognizable myth. The huge success of Les Misérables as a didactic work on behalf of the poor and oppressed is due to his poetic and myth-enlarged view of human nature." V. S. Pritchett
"It was Tolstoy who vindicated [Hugo's] early ambition by judging Les Misérables one of the world's great novels, if not the greatest… [His] ability to present the extremes of experience 'as they are' is, in the end, Hugo's great gift." From the Introduction by Peter Washington
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What can be said about this epic that has not already been repeated ad infinitum? Near the top of my list, Les Miserables is one of my favorite stories, and I have many versions of this beloved Hugo classic. Themes of redemption, long-suffering, and love make this a wonderful tale for older children. Conversely, adults should appreciate the grand scale of the plot and be swept up into the milieu of early 19th century France. Realistic depictions of the people, places and events lend the text an authentic quality, while the questions it raises in the reader's mind should bring about a renewed thirst for the answers, which Jean Valjean found ultimately in God.