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Les Miserables

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Theana Aromin

on 8 August 2013

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Transcript of Les Miserables

Les Miserables
by Victor Hugo
Author Biography
Economy & Culture
Thank you for your attention!

Victor-Marie Hugo was born in Besancon, France on February 26, 1802. He was the youngest of three sons of Count Leopold-Sigisbert and Sophie Hugo. Victor's father was a genteral in Naopoleon's army. His family settled in Paris when he was twelve years old and there, he became interested in poetry. When he was fifteen, he was recognized by the French Academy for a poem he wrote. He completed many works in his lifetime including: Hans of Iceland (1823); The Slave-King (1824); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831); The Little Napoleon (1853); Les Miserables (1862); The Man Who Laughs (1869); etc.
Margaret Brantley, (2005) Supplementary materials (Les Miserables). New York, NY 10020: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Hugo was a passionate political advocate for liberty and justice. He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor by Charles X in 1825. He was later made an Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1837 and was appointed Peer of France in 1845 by Louis-Philippe. He was also elected to the Constitutional Assembly and Legislative Assembly in France's Second Republic. He firmly denounced the imperialist ambitions of Napoleon III and was forced to flee France in 1851 after his writings about it. He remained with his family and his mistress on the British isle of Guernsey until the downfall of Napolean III in 1870. In 1876, Hugo became a senator in Paris. He died at the age of 83 on May 22, 1885.
Victor Hugo's personal life is said to be as dramatic as the stories he created. Victor and his wife, Adele had their children between 1824 and 1830, but Adele and Hugo's best friend, Charles-Austin Sainte-Beuve, began an affair in 1830. Hugo himself started a fifty-year love affair with an actress named Juliette Drouet. One of his older brothers, Eugene, died in a madhouse in 1837. His eldest daughter, Leopoldine, died in a boating accident with her husband. He out lived his two sons, Charles and Francois-Victor. His surviving daughter, Adele, was permanently institutionalized in 1872.
Margaret Brantley, (2005) Supplementary materials (Les Miserables). New York, NY 10020: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Les Miserables takes place in the time between the Fall of Napoleon, and the restoration of the monarchy. Until the 1780s, France's privileged classes, such as the clery and the nobility, governed the country. Merchants, farmers, and peasants were heavily taxed. Outdated farming methods created food shortages, while extravagance in the monarchy outraged the people. Louis XVi and his queen, Marie Antoinette, were beheaded in the bloody revolution in 1789. A newly organized governing body became the French Republic. However, struggles in the new government turned into what is known as the "Reign of Terror". The General Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France and later declared himself emperor. In 1814, Napoleon abdicated and went into exile on the isle of Elba.
"the genuine bourgeois of the eighteenth century, a little haughty, wearing his good old bourgeoisie as marquises wear their marquisates." - p. 222
"Among the most significant results of the revolution were the heightened importance of the bourgeois capitalist-entrepeneur."
The chapter "The Grand Bourgeois" shows an exaggeration of this. Monsieur Gillenormand, though called middle class, lives an extravagant and excessive lifestyle. His good health at his old age shows contrast to all the sickness at the time.
- French Society and Culture Since the Old Regime. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1966, p. 17
" 'Down with the Bourbons, and the great hog Louis XVII!' cried Marius. " - p. 241
"While the government of the restored Bourbons altered political institutions, discontent on the part of the middle-class groups, supplemented by unrest of the urban working-class, explained much of the background of the revolution of 1830."
"France never became so highly industrialized as Great Britain, Germany, or the United States, and the trades of France remained relatively more important than that of highly concentrated industrial centers."
Exerpts from book:
Exerpts from book:
During the time of the book, economic progress was dependant on the government. Because of this, French society leaders would focus more on politics rather than the businesses of France. Many different issues such as forms of governments, control of education and reforms of the army diverted attention from any economic growth in France at that time. The main economic activity in France during that time was trading.
- Economic and Social Developments in France since the Old Regime.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1966, p. 71
Exerpts from book:
Exerpts from book:
- Economic and Social Developments in France since the Old Regime.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1966 p.17
After Napoleon Bonaparte's exile in 1814, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to the throne of France under Louis XVIII. The monarchy made efforts to reassert their privileges, but it was the middle classes who prevailed over the old regime and retained their parliamentary influence and other rights they had during the revolution. "In spite of the goodwill and spirit of modernization displayed by the monarch and his advisers, the regime was extremely unpopular, and it was filled with riots, demonstrations, and consequent repressions often for reasons over which the government had little or no control. Young men like those whom Marius associated with has visions of republicanism and liberty in the full romantic tradition." The growing horde of factory workers were interested in some improvement in their living conditions. This caused workers to form secret societies, which led strikes, vadalized, and tried to fight the monarchy.
"Royalists become liberals, liberals become democrats. . . men worshiped at the same time Napoleon and liberty." - p. 243
"the unknown ones of misery and nothingness, the bare arms, the bare feet, belong to the emeute (mobs)." - p. 406
The story of Les Miserables suggests that the majority people of the time were living in poverty. Jean Valjean, an ex-convict, was in desperate need of money that he was will ing to steal again to survive. When Fantine was unrightfully fired from her job at the factory, she did everything she could to get money to send to her daughter, such as selling her hair, selling her teeth, then becoming a prositute. Thenardier was a bandit who tricked people into giving him money by manipulating people such as Fantine.
"Fantine learned how to do entirely without fire in winter, how to make a coverlid of her petticoat, and how to save her candel in taking he meals by the light of an opposite window." - p. 61
"days without bread, nights witout sleep, evenings without a candle, a hearth without a fire, weeks without labor, a future without hope" - p. 256
"he who has seen the misery of man only has seen nothing, he must see the misery of woman; he who has seen the misery of woman only has seen nothing, he must see the misry of childhood.." - p. 290
"his apartment, covered to the ceiling with fine Gobelin and Beauvais tapestry representing pastoral scenes.....his bed surrounded with a large screen with nine leaves varnished with Coromandel lac" - p. 223
Dill, Marshall Jr., (1975) Paris In Time. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
And with family traditions being so strong, business affairs remained within the family, making the wealthy become more rich and the poor become even poorer with no opportunity for economic progress.
Margaret Brantley, (2005) Supplementary materials (Les Miserables). New York, NY 10020: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
"Neither the Convention, nor the death of Louis XVI, nor Napoleon, nor the return of the Bourbons had been able to efface the memory of this conronation." - p. 223
"he rose, stretched his arms out of the window, gazed fixedly into the gloom, the silence, the darkling infinite, the eternal immensity, and cried:
'Vive l'empereur!'" - p. 236
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