Les Misérables project

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Les Misérables

Home page for the project about Les Misérables.

See below for information about the novel, the characters, the film and stage adaptations, as well as a discussion of the topics covered by Hugo.

Les Misérables (musical)

Table of Contents 

Les Misérables (musical)

Act II

On My Own

Video: https://youtu.be/VjfmP7h3gBw
Description: Lea Salonga as Éponine performing "On My Own" for the Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, 8th October 1995.

External resources

Les Misérables - "On My Own"

Video: https://youtu.be/VjfmP7h3gBw
Description: Lea Salonga as Éponine performing "On My Own" for the Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, 8th October 1995.

I Dreamed a Dream

Video: https://youtu.be/amskEwjpNrI
Description: Ruthie Henshall as Fantine performing "I Dreamed a Dream" for the Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, 8th October 1995.
Music : Claude-Michel Schönberg
Lyrics : Herbert Kretzmer
Libretto by Alain Boublil based on the novel by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables [1.1-VI] Who guarded his House for him

Today, we discuss chapter I of book 1, volume 1 of Les Misérables: Who guarded his House for him.

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[Fr.] [En.]
Nisi Dominus custodierit domum, in vanum vigilant qui custodiunt eam. Si le Seigneur ne protège pas la maison, c’est en vain que veillent ceux qui la protègent. Nisi Dominus custodierit domum, in vanum vigilant qui custodiunt eam. Unless the Lord guard the house, in vain do they watch who guard it.

This chapter sets the stage for the major plot development that will happen in book 2. While in chapter II~V, Hugo used the character of Myriel in order to expose his own idealistic vision, the purpose of this one is chiefly to help get the story started.

Still, it does not prevent the author from covering a couple of important themes, providing additional pieces to his overall vision.

Security is the main theme being expounded in this chapter: the huge differential between the richest and the poorest is one of the main factors which affect security and which drives individuals and whole countries to build more and more extreme defences in order to protect and maintain that differential.

Also this chapter completes the portrait of the practical, heart-centred intellectual which was started in the previous chapter.

The beginning:

Past episodes:

The project:

  • If you haven't yet, make sure to join the Daily Kos group Les Misérables: Send me a private message and I'll send you an official invitation to join the group. Joining the group does not obligate you to participate in any way, but it makes it more convenient for you to follow the group's activity.
  • Take action: you and other interested people can contribute to this project in many different ways, depending on what aspects or what issues interest you the most.

Les Misérables [1.1-V] Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long

Today, we discuss chapter V of book 1, volume 1 of Les Misérables: Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long.

From chapter I:

Que se passa-t-il ensuite dans la destinée de M. Myriel ? [...] Nul n’aurait pu le dire ; tout ce qu’on savait, c’est que, lorsqu’il revint d’Italie, il était prêtre. What took place next in the fate of M. Myriel? [...] No one could have told: all that was known was, that when he returned from Italy he was a priest.

This chapters offers a change of pace; and a riddle: is Hugo taunting us with a very subtle clue as to Myriel's past?

[Fr.] [En.]
Tantôt il bêchait dans son jardin, tantôt il lisait et écrivait. Il n’avait qu’un mot pour ces deux sortes de travail : il appelait cela jardiner. « L’esprit est un jardin », disait-il. Sometimes he dug in his garden; again, he read or wrote. He had but one word for both these kinds of toil; he called them gardening. "The mind is a garden," said he.

Chapters I to IV presented M. Myriel's public life, its external manifestations. Chapter V presents the private and internal aspects of his life. After a very heavy, very potent chapter IV, this one appears much more mundane. One may almost question its usefulness in the whole of book 1. Yet, in it, we discover subtle clues about the genesis of it all, the source that sustains M. Myriel.

The beginning:

This week:

Past episodes:

The group:

  • If you haven't yet, make sure to join the Daily Kos group Les Misérables: Send me a private message and I'll send you an official invitation to join the group. Joining the group does not obligate you to participate in any way, but it makes it more convenient for you to follow the group's activity.
  • Take action: you and other interested people can contribute to this project in many different ways, depending on what aspects or what issues interest you the most.

Translation comparison

As noted in the commentaries of the relevant chapters, there are some specific passages where we'd like to compare the translations. We do not have a copy of each available translation. So, please, check who is the translator of your copy of the novel and help us complete the following tables.

Chapter 1.1.IV:

[Fr. 1862] Hugo [En. 1862] Wilbour [En. 1862] Wraxall

Action (TODO items)

There are several inter-connected layers to this project: understanding the novel, understanding Hugo's message, its relevance in the 21st century up to personal and collective actions. This wiki page is to collect a list of TODO items so that interested members can participate and take action by picking up any item according to the aspects of the project they are most interested in.

The novel and Hugo

[1995 film] Les Misérables

This French movie, staring Jean-Paul Belmondo, is not a straight adaptation of the novel but rather a clever transposition into the 20th century of the 19th century novel. The connections with Hugo's novel are obvious although the story is different but still respecting the spirit of the original novel.

External resources

Related wikipedia articles:

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