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Les Misérables (Modern Library) [Kindle Edition]

Victor Hugo , Charles E. Wilbour
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (407 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $19.96 (77%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $1.99 (Save 67%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

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Book Description

Les Miserables is the great epic masterpiece of the mid-nineteenth century. Begun in 1845, the year Louis Philippe conferred a peerage and a lifetime seat in the Senate upon Victor Hugo, it was completed when the author was living in exile in the Channel Islands. Les Miserables is a product as well as a document of the political, social, and religious upheaval that followed the Napoleonic Wars and Europe's great democratic revolutions. The story is centered on Jean Valjean, a peasant who enters the novel a hardened criminal after nineteen years spent in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for the starving children of his sister. The path of Valjean's last twenty-five years, leading from the French provinces to the battlefield of Waterloo and the ramparts of Paris during the Uprising of 1832, introduces us to secret societies of revolutionaries and the vast world of the French lower classes. Jean Valjean's flight from the police agent Javert--the prototype of over a hundred years of fictional detectives--culminates in one of the most famous scenes in all literature, the chase through the sewers of Paris. Les Miserables sold out its large first printing in twenty-four hours and has remained enormously popular. This edition is the classic English translation of Hugo's friend Charles Wilbour, which appeared the same year the novel was published in France.


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Geoffrey Rush, this edition offers a quality hardcover at a reasonable price.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Rich and gorgeous. This is the [translation] to read… and if you are flying, just carry it under your arm as you board, or better still, rebook your holiday and go by train, slowly, page by page.”
—Jeanette Winterson, The Times (London)

“[A] magnificent story… marvelously captured in this new unabridged translation by Julie Rose.”
The Denver Post

“A new translation by Julie Rose of Hugo’s behemoth classic that is as racy and current and utterly arresting as it should be.”
Buffalo News (editor’s choice)

“Vibrant and readable, idiomatic and well suited to a long narrative, [Julie Rose’s new translation of Les Miserables] is closer to the captivating tone Hugo would have struck for his own contemporaries.”
—Diane Johnson

“A lively, dramatic, and wonderfully readable translation of one of the greatest 19th-century novels.”
—Alison Lurie

“Some of us may have read Les Miserables back in the day, but… between Gopnik and Rose, you’ll get two introductions that will offer you all the pleasures of your college instruction with none of the pain.”
The Agony Column (trashotron.com)


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2218 KB
  • Print Length: 1280 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679600124
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 1st edition (October 31, 2000)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1J2G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,052 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
216 of 222 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Norman Denny Translation is Readable July 2, 2006
By R. Hill
Format:Paperback
I have both the original Wilbour translation and the Norman Denny translation of this book, and I'd say that the Denny translation is the more readable of the two. Graham Robb, in his award-winning biography of Hugo has called Denny's translation "swiss cheese" and "translation as censorship." However, it's well-written, and the "excised" sections are included as appendices to which any reader can turn. In places where Denny edits the prose, he captures the spirit of the novel.

But the best comparison is made by reading:

here's Wilbour from the beginning of Part Two, Book Four:

"Forty years ago, the solitary pedestrian who ventured into the unknown region of La Salpetriere and went up along the Boulevard as far as the Barrier d'italie, reached certain points where it might be said that Paris had disappeared. It was no longer a solitude, for there were people passing; it was not the country for there were houses and streets. It was not a city, the streets had ruts in them, like highways, and grass grew along their borders; it was not a village, the houses were too lofty. What was it then? It was an inhabited place where there was nobody. It was a desert place where there was somebody. It was a boulevard of the great city, a street of Paris, wilder at night than a forest and gloomier by day than a graveyard. It was the old quarter of the horse-market."

Denny's version of the same passage

" A stroller forty years ago penetrating beyond the Salpetriere by way of the Boulevard de l'Hopital as far as the Barrierr d'italie, would have come to a region where Paris seemed to disappear.
Read more ›
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149 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There Aren't Enough Stars for Books Like This. June 4, 2001
By Ryan
Format:Hardcover
A few words of advice about Les Miserables...
Buy an old copy (am I allowed to say that!). I found mine in an antique bookstore. It's an old beat-up hardcover. It just makes the whole experience more...historic!
Dare to read the unabridged edition. If Hugo could have told this story in fewer words he would have. Don't cheat yourself out of the real thing. Charles Wilbour's translation is an excellent one.
Take your time with it. When you get frustrated by lengthy explanations and background information, put it down and come back to it. But don't give up!
Les Miserables is one of the greatest stories every written. Hugo brings to life such weighty concepts as Grace, Forgiveness, Repentance, and Redemption and Salvation. The spiritual imagery is very rich. The interaction between Jean Valjean and the Bishop is absolutely life changing.
"Jean Valjean my brother: you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!"
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Although Wilbour's classic translation of Les Miserables is excellent, readers may also wish to consider the newer unabridged translation by Fahnestock and MacAfee; apart from being somewhat more natural to Anglophone ears, the latter also contains translations of some of the French verses that Wilbour did not translate (e.g., see Saint Denis XII:6).
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the most AMAZING novel I've ever read! May 12, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I love the film adaptions and musical of Les Miserables, but they can't even compare to the greatness of this piece of literature. It's such an epic story, covering such topics as justice vs. the law, and ultimate love and self-sacrifice. Everyone can find something to relate to, something to learn from, and something to enjoy in this novel. The characters truly do come alive in this novel, from the center and hero of the story, Jean Valjean, to the minor characters. I particularly was touched by the story of Fantine, a "minor" character but easily my favourite. This character falls from innocence, and eventually makes an ultimate self-sacrifice for her daughter. I found myself unable to put the book down on many a late night, but especially so on the chapters concerning Fantine. Of course, perhaps my love for "classics" and "epics" and "historical romance" may have helped me enjoy the book so, as I know many people who could barely get through the first 20 pages of the 1400 + page novel. Some people may not have the patience to go through the Waterloo part, etc. It is a quite detailed book, and it does go very much "off-topic" a few times. But I still enjoyed every single word. I hope the size of the book won't make people think twice about reading it, it really is best unabridged. I have read the abridged version and it is quite confusing, and you miss several moving scenes. In my own opinion, everyone should read this book, unabridged...and prepare to be amazed!
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consider the Penguin edition! October 2, 2001
By faience
Format:Paperback
I won't attempt to extensively review this classic, except to say that it's one of the most readable, involving, uplifting books you'll ever read, *if* you enjoy the kind of long, detailled 19th century novel that you really can immerse yourself in.
I'd like to point out some positives of the Penguin edition, since editions can differ greatly in attributes. The Penguin is almost unabridged, but not quite (in case the low price had you wondering). It still checks in at a hefty 1232 pages, and has been trimmed by the translator only of some [here are his words]: "passages of mediocrity and banality....which may cause the reader to lose all patience.... The translator can, I maintain, do something to remedy these defects without falsifying the book." So it won't please absolute purists, but it is very much more complete than are some of the smaller mass market editions.
It's a larger format ("trade") paperback. This 1976 translation is by Norman Denny, and I love it. It's warm and readable, and he spells out place names instead of keeping to the old convention of calling Myriel the "Bishop of D----." I highly recommend this edition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It is filled with wonderfully worded, astute
Being unable to read this in the original language, I cannot vouch for quality of translation. It is filled with wonderfully worded, astute, apt descriptions, so I can only assume... Read more
Published 19 days ago by C. Wheeler
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story if I can Find It.
I purchased this and can't find it. Love the story, though. NOT the musical!
Published 20 days ago by J. Ader
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
A terrific read. If you've seen the show, you need to read the book.
Published 25 days ago by Jay Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful edition
I picked this out for my son after we did a production of Les Miserables, and he and I were both incredibly pleased.
Published 1 month ago by Liberty Cantzler
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful classic story
I read this in anticipation of watching the movie, and it was very engaging, and because it is a classic, I will always remember it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rebecca Ingersoll
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks Good!
Haven't finished reading the book yet. The cover and content looks quite good. The words are clear and very easy to read.
Published 2 months ago by QIQI LIN
5.0 out of 5 stars Same Great Story-but Tons More to It!
When I saw the recent Academy Award winning movie, it made me curious, so I started reading the book. It's not for the faint of heart. Read more
Published 2 months ago by James E. Farris
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this version. The best interpretation of all.
For those who read this book, or Cliff Notes in college, read the book; the Norman Denny interpretation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Viohow
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. Much better than the movie, which incorporates only about 20% of this novel. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tayla
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful presentation of a classic.
And that is enought said, friends. Pretty well sums it up. This series is beautifully designed. Think that is adequate.
Published 3 months ago by Richard H. Cady
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