Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Les Misèrables was written by Victor Hugo, and published in 1862. It has been translated into many different languages, and turned into a play and movie as when as being a book. When a friend asked Hugo why he wrote the book he replied as follows, "I condemn slavery, I banish poverty, I teach ignorance, I treat disease, I lighten the night, and I hate hatred. That is what I am, and that is why I have written Les Misèrables." The book Les Misèrables tells of Hugo’s life, and of France in the early 1800’s while telling a tale of change, conflicts between classes, and justice. Hugo wanted this book to be as our government is for us, for the people by the people.
Victor Hugo was born in 1802 in Besancon, France. Hugo was a novelist, poet, political activist, and painter. It is because of this that Victor Hugo was a central figure and leader in the Romantic movement of France in the nineteenth-century. Hugo’s father was a general in the Napoleonic army. After schooling in France Hugo married his childhood lover in 1822. The 1840’s were a time of political involvement for Victor Hugo. Themes that show up in Les Misèrables such as the unjust legal system and unfairness to the poor were issues that he spoke up on at the Chamber of Peers. In 1848 he was active in the revolution, which gave him first had experience of the fighting at the barricades which he talks about in Les Misèrables, and spoke out against Louis Napoleon when he came into power. For speaking out against Napoleon Hugo was exiled to Belgium and then Germany, during which he wrote Les Misèrables. This book ensured Victor Hugo’s place as legend, and when he returned to France in 1870 he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. (Novels 232) "When Les Miserables was published, it appeared simultaneously in Paris, London, Budapest, Brussels, Leipzig, Madrid, Milan, and Naples, and was translated into many other languages." (Cerisola 246)
Les Misèrables was one of the most influential works of the Romantic writing period. The romantic period was all about emotions and an individual’s imagination, apposed to the standards of the Enlightenment period. (Novels 243) In the nineteenth century, France was constantly undergoing changes in their politics. In 1795 Napoleon staged a Coup to overtake the government, he was in power until 1815 when he lost the battle of Waterloo. This is when the book Les Misèrables starts. The last part of the book takes place in 1832 when an uprising started over the burial of a revolutionary hero named Lamarque. This set the stage for us to meet the young man Marius, who falls in love with Cosette. Hugo was exiled for his political beliefs, and this is when he wrote Les Misèrables. It is an account of Hugo’s memory of Paris during the uprising, and shows his feelings towards the political situation in Paris. (Novels 244)
To begin, change. Change is an underlying theme throughout Hugo’s book. From the beginning...