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Les Misérables (1862)

by Victor Hugo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,650322117 (4.26)2 / 1093
Story of Valjean, the ex-convict who rises against all odds from galley slave to mayor, and the fanatical police inspector who dedicates his life to recapturing Valjean.
  1. 200
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (VictoriaPL)
  2. 101
    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (chrisharpe)
  3. 101
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: As much a story about the trials of individuals as a sweeping portrait and critique of an era.
  4. 80
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Both great classics, with orphaned girls and themes of redemption.
  5. 71
    The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Both stories of men who commit public crimes ... and yet the outcomes are very different.
  6. 30
    The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes by Anónimo (albavirtual)
  7. 30
    The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo (raton-liseur)
    raton-liseur: Des thèmes similaires, dans une prose étourdissante et avec une ironie mordante.
  8. 20
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (CorinneT)
  9. 10
    Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (morryb)
    morryb: Both speak to the struggle of adopting a child and then letting them up later.
  10. 10
    Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Cast of interconnected characters are subjected to historical pressures through years-worth of events surrounding a revolution. Issues of paternity and social justice.
  11. 10
    The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (chrisharpe)
  12. 10
    Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (morryb)
    morryb: Both have a main character who adopts a daughter and the struggle of letting her go.
Europe (14)
Elevenses (190)
1860s (6)
100 (16)
Romans (19)

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» See also 1093 mentions

English (291)  Spanish (8)  French (8)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (320)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
The novel's most significant theme is metamorphosis, both in terms of the individual and society. The main character, Jean Valjean, changes from a misogynistic and possibly violent ex-con to a man capable of heroic love and self-sacrifice. Love is the power that changes him. The bishop of Digne shows Valjean unwavering affection, confiding in him with his life and doing everything in his power. Valjean is inspired by this example to start a completely new life. He experiences moral tests, such as sacrificing his life to save Marius, who loves Cosette and whom Valjean despises, and learns to put others before himself as he raises Cosette as his own daughter. Generally speaking, the employees and students on the are admirable. This is a classic that bears reading and rereading. Among the top favorites of literature in translation in my library. ( )
  jwhenderson | Apr 9, 2023 |
I briefly toyed with taking off a half star for all of the lengthy tangents Hugo employs, most of which do little or nothing to advance the story, but damn, the book is so so so good anyway, I just couldn't do it. It took me 2 and 1/2 months to read it, but I was barreling through the last few hundred pages as Hugo brought all of the different threads together and created a crescendo so compelling and beautiful that it was virtually impossible to put down. There are a number of classics that I do not like because they lack coherent plots or have zero likeable characters. That was not the case with this one. I ached for Jean Valjean and everything he went through. The characters were so rich ... the internal dialogue of Javert at the end was a masterclass in and of itself ... and the plot was literally sublime. I am not a religious person, but I could still appreciate the religious overtones in the book and not feel preached at. Just so so so so so good. ( )
  AliceAnna | Mar 28, 2023 |
Location : NWS
  newEPbooks | Feb 14, 2023 |
Listened to the audiobook version of this classic novel and it took me quite a while to get through the entire book. I was fascinated by the descriptions of society still grappling with its recent history of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, but there's a lot more to this novel. I think I need to return to this book again, but to actually read the print version, as the audiobook didn't really work for me in this particular case. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Feb 10, 2023 |
The language is gorgeous, if at times dark:

"Fairy tales all: Goblins for children; God for men. No, our tomorrow is night. Beyond the grave, all are only equal nothings.”

“This book is a drama whose first character is the Infinite. Man is the second.”

“Being in possession of the false aim of life, happiness, how we forget the true aim, duty!” (Though the novel is immensely quotable, this line is probably my favorite.) ( )
  BeauxArts79 | Oct 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (166 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hugo, Victorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayard, Émile-AntoineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denny, NormanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donougher, ChristineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hapgood, Isabel FlorenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Homewood, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kauer, Edmund TheodorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keeping, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehtonen, J. V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picchi, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rose, JulieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabard, Marie-Hélènesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serdav, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamaki, JillianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thirlwell, AdamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tombs, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voionmaa, EinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Washington, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilbour, Charles E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wraxall, LascellesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Solange kraft der Gesetze und Sitten eine soziale Verdammnis existiert, die auf künstlichem Weg, inmitten einer hoch entwickelten Zivilisation, Höllen schafft und noch ein von Menschen gewolltes Fatum zu dem Schicksal, das von Gott kommt, hinzufügt ; solange die drei Probleme des Jahrhunderts, die Entartung des Mannes durch das Proletariat, die Entsittlichung des Weibes infolge materieller Not und die Verwahrlosung des Kindes, nicht gelöst sind ;
First words
In the Year 1815 Monseigneur Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of Digne.
So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of the earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century - the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light - are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world - in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use. (Preface)
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This work represents complete editions. Please do not combine with the first volume of multi-volume editions.
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Story of Valjean, the ex-convict who rises against all odds from galley slave to mayor, and the fanatical police inspector who dedicates his life to recapturing Valjean.

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Book description
Victor Hugo’s literary masterpiece, “Les Miserables,” was first published in 1862 and would ultimately establish the author as one of the most gifted and influential writers of his time. The novel is principally concerned with the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean, a man who is initially imprisoned for stealing bread for his starving family, and because of numerous escape attempts ends up being imprisoned for a period of nineteen years. Jean Valjean, despite his efforts to become a force for good in the world cannot escape the consequences of his criminal past. The novel paints a picture of nineteen century Paris, in all its gritty detail, as a time of great conflict. Themes of moral redemption, politics, justice, and human rights are vividly expressed as Hugo follows the lives and struggles of the lower classes of Parisian society in the 19th century. This sprawling epic is at once a brilliant fictional narrative and a sharp criticism of the social and economic injustice that the countless impoverished peoples of the world have faced. A tale of heroism and love, “Les Miserables,” is justifiably regarded as one of the greatest novels ever written.
Haiku summary
A fugitive man
gets a new name and new life.
He adopts a girl.


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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140444300, 1846140498, 0141392606


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102758, 1400109000

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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