Many of the characters are well-known: Valjean, the criminal trying to escape his reputation; Javert, the police agent trailing him; the unfortunate Fantine and her daughter, Cosette; the rascally Thenardier; and, above all the splendid street urchin, Gavroche. Among the unforgettable descriptions are those of the Paris sewers, the battle of Waterloo and the fighting at the barricades during the July Revolution. There are few more complete, or more vivid, pictures of France at the beginning of the nineteenth century. "Les Miserables" is at once a thrilling narrative and a social document embracing a wider field than any other novel of its time.
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Victor-Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 - 22 May 1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France. In France, Hugo's literary reputation rests primarily on his poetic and dramatic output and only secondarily on his novels. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem, and Hugo is sometimes identified as the greatest French poet. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (sometimes translated into English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Though extremely conservative in his youth, Hugo moved to the political left as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon.
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