Length: 1488 pages
First Published: 1862
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.
Quotes from Les Misérables
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.
A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.
He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.
Movie Trailer for Les Misérables (2012)
About Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo was an acclaimed French author and poet best known for his novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The son of a high-ranking officer in Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Army, Hugo was a peer of France until fleeing in exile in 1851. He returned to France in 1870 with a hero’s welcome and is buried in the Pantheon.