Victor Hugo

Les Misérables
  • Les Misérables

    • Victor Hugo

    • Christine Donougher (Translator)

    • Andrew Davies (Foreword by)

    Where there is love, there is hope.

    Accompanying a 6-part series on BBC One from the makers of War and Peace, and starring Dominic West, Lily Collins, David Oyelowo and Olivia Coleman, this edition of Les Misérables also has a foreword from screenwriter Andrew Davies (War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice).

    Les Misérables is Victor Hugo's classic tale of injustice, heroism and love following the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. Those attempts are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. A compelling and compassionate view of the victims of early nineteenth-century French society, this is a novel on an epic scale, moving from the Battle of Waterloo to the the June rebellion of 1832. With striking intensity and relevance to us today, it is testimony to the struggles of France's underclass.

Alexandre Dumas was born on 24 July 1802 in Villers-Cotterêts near Paris.His father, who was the son of a French marquis and a former slave, died when Alexandre was three years old. He was brought up by his mother and later moved to Paris to work as a clerk. He wrote plays, travel books, children's stories and memoirs as well as novels and was a keen traveller and cook. His most famous works are The Three Musketeers (1844) and The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-5). Alexandre Dumas died on 5 December 1870. Victor Hugo was born on 26 February 1802 at Besançon, where his father, an officer under Napoleon, was stationed. After his parents separated in 1812, Hugo lived in Paris with his mother and brothers. At twenty he married Adele Foucher and published his first poetry collection. Hugo was elected to the Academie Francaise in 1841. The accidental death two years later of his eldest daughter and her husband devastated him and marked the end of his first literary period. By then politics had become central to his life. Though he was a Royalist in his youth, his views became increasingly liberal after the July revolution of 1830. He initially supported Louis Napoleon, but turned against him after being denied a role in government following the coup d'état of 1851 and was forced into exile in Brussels and Jersey. After the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, Hugo returned to France and was re-elected to the National Assembly, and then to the Senate. Hugo is celebrated as a politician, a social campaigner, a poet and a novelist. His most famous works include Notre Dame de Paris (1831) and Les Misérables (1862). Victor Hugo died on 22 May 1885 and his state funeral was attended by thousands of mourners.