General Fiction Hugo, Victor Les Miserables

ISBN 13: 9780143123590

Les Miserables

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9780143123590: Les Miserables

A brilliant new translation by Christine Donougher of Victor Hugo's thrilling masterpiece, with an introduction by Robert Tombs. The Wretched (Les Misérables) is the basis for both the longest running musical on the West End and the highly-acclaimed film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.

Victor Hugo's tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty.

'A magnificent achievement. It reads easily, sometimes racily, and Hugo's narrative power is never let down ... An almost flawless translation, which brings the full flavour of one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century to new readers in the twenty-first' - William Doyle, Times Literary Supplement

'The year's most interesting publication from Penguin Classics was actually The Wretched [...] a new translation by Christine Donougher of the novel we all know as Les Misérables. You may think that 1,300 pages is a huge investment of time when the story is so familiar, but no adaptation can convey the addictive pleasure afforded by Victor Hugo's narrative voice: by turns chatty, crotchety, buoyant and savagely ironical, it's made to seem so contemporary and fresh in Donougher's rendering that the book has all the resonance of the most topical state-of-the-nation novel' - Telegraph

'Christine Donougher's seamless and very modern translation of Les Misérables has an astonishing effect in that it reminds readers that Hugo was going further than any Dickensian lament about social conditions [...] The Wretched touches the soul' - Herald Scotland

Victor Hugo was born in Besançon, France in 1802. In 1822 he published his first collection of poetry and in the same year, he married his childhood friend, Adèle Foucher. In 1831 he published his most famous youthful novel, Notre-Dame de Paris. A royalist and conservative as a young man, Hugo later became a committed social democrat and was exiled from France as a result of his political activities. In 1862, he wrote his longest and greatest novel, The Wretched (Les Misérables). After his death in 1885, his body lay in state under the Arc de Triomphe before being buried in the Panthéon.

Christine Donougher is a freelance translator and editor. She has translated numerous books from French and Italian, and won the 1992 Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for her translation of Sylvie Germain's The Book of Nights.

Robert Tombs is Professor of History at St John's College, Cambridge. His most recent book is That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present, co-written with Isabelle Tombs.

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Product Description:

Now a major musical film from Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, and also featuring Amanda Seyfreid, Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron-Cohen, Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is one of the great works of western literature.

Victor Hugo's tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, when, owing to a case of mistaken identity, another man is arrested in his place; and by the relentless investigations of the dogged Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway), driven to prostitution by poverty.

Victor Hugo (1802-85) wrote volumes of criticism, Romantic costume dramas, satirical verse and political journalism but is best remembered for his novels, especially Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), also known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Misérables (1862) which was adapted into one of the most successful musicals of all time.

'All human life is here'

Cameron Mackintosh, producer of the musical Les Misérables

'One of the half-dozen greatest novels of the world'

Upton Sinclair

'A great writer - inventive, witty, sly, innovatory'

A. S. Byatt, author of Possession

Review:

A magnificent achievement. It reads easily, sometimes racily, and Hugo's narrative power is never let down ... An almost flawless translation, which brings the full flavour of one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century to new readers in the twenty-first ( The Times Literary Supplement)

The year's most interesting publication from Penguin Classics was actually The Wretched [...] a new translation by Christine Donougher of the novel we all know as Les Misérables. You may think that 1,300 pages is a huge investment of time when the story is so familiar, but no adaptation can convey the addictive pleasure afforded by Victor Hugo's narrative voice: by turns chatty, crotchety, buoyant and savagely ironical, it's made to seem so contemporary and fresh in Donougher's rendering that the book has all the resonance of the most topical state-of-the-nation novel ( Telegraph)

Christine Donougher's seamless and very modern translation of Les Misérables has an astonishing effect in that it reminds readers that Hugo was going further than any Dickensian lament about social conditions ... The Wretched touches the soul ( Herald Scotland)

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