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Les Miserables (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2013
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The Secret Healer
In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited. But spirited young Madlen can't resist her gift for healing, even if it puts her life in danger. Learn More
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"Hugo's genius was for the creation of simple and recognizable myth. The huge success of Les Misérables as a didactic work on behalf of the poor and oppressed is due to his poetic and myth-enlarged view of human nature." —V. S. Pritchett
"It was Tolstoy who vindicated [Hugo's] early ambition by judging Les Misérables one of the world's great novels, if not the greatest… [His] ability to present the extremes of experience 'as they are' is, in the end, Hugo's great gift." —From the Introduction by Peter Washington
About the Author
Lee Fahnestock is a translator and writer who lives in New York and Massachusetts. In 2000, the French government made her a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her services to French culture. She has translated four volumes of the poetry of Francis Ponge, including The Making of the Pré, The Nature of Things and Vegetation, and Paul Fournel’s novel Little Girls Breathe the Same Air As We Do. With Norman MacAfee, she translated two volumes of the letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beavoir, Witness to My Life and Quiet Moments in a War, as well as Les Misérables. She is writing an extended study of Victor Hugo's Paris. She is active with organizations promoting literary translation and served as president of the American Literary Translators Association.
Norman MacAfee is a writer of poetry, prose, and performance works, a translator, editor, and visual artist. Some of his most recent books are The Gospel According to RFK: Why It Matters Now; The Death of the Forest, an opera by Norman MacAfee to music of Charles Ives; and his selected poems, One Class. In addition to Les Misérables, he and Lee Fahnestock translated two volumes of the letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir (Witness to My Life and Quiet Moments in a War). He translated (with Luciano Martinengo) Poems: Pier Paolo Pasolini; and (with Luigi Fontanella) Daniele del Giudice’s novel Lines of Light. He also translated from the French the legendary long-lost manuscript Heroines, by the lesbian surrealist photographer Claude Cahun, in Inverted Odysseys by Shelley Rice. He writes for The Huffington Post. He lives in Greenwich Village.
Top Customer Reviews
If you are like me and have read the reviews on Amazon before tackling this gigantic novel then I do not need to go on about how great this book is and what it is all about.
Also, if like me, you are a beginner in the world of fine literature, the following are a few tips I would give to those who haven't read Les Miserables. Here goes:
1. Get the book and do not be intimidated by its size. It is huge but the chapters are not very long and this version is made so that it is easier to understand. If you compare several different translation, you will see the difference.
2. Make sure to buy the Signet Classic version translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee (ISBN 0-451-52526-4). One reviewer said that this was the best version available and I totally agree with that. This is the new version based on the 19th Century Charles E. Wilbour translation. I had another version of this book and this one is by far the only completely unabridged paperback and also more reader-friendly.
3. Have a dictionary handy as there are many words that need translation.
4. Knowing the French language/history is a bonus but not required. Although knowing about French history will make some of his detailed descriptions of France not so tedious. In one chapter entitled "In the Year 1817" he talks about what was going on in France in that time period and although I read every single word, I must confess I was confused because it is all based on the history of France in that year of which I know nothing.Read more ›
If you're an average schmuck, with a job (not in academia), a life, and some curiosity, this review is for you.
If you're a literary blueblood, this review isnt for you. If your sworn enemy in life used to be your closest friend until they disagreed with you about whether Beowulf was a real person, be offended by my apathy and go away. If you had to turn off the TV newscasts on 9/11 because they were getting in the way of your arguments of whether sonnets devalue prose, just move on down to the next review.
I'm not a Literature buff. I tolerated English in high school and college because I had to, skipping what I could, skimming what I could get away with, and bluffing where needed. The thought picking up a stack of books and being dictated a marathon schedule to read them by still makes me bristle with quiet rebellion.
After school I ended up with a job with lots of down time between bursts of madness. I decided to make use of slow time going back and leisurely reading some of the 'classics' that I probably should have read before. Twain, Tolstoy, Dickens, Stowe and others pulled from the titles of Cliff's Notes (Hey, if Cliff says they're important....) Funny, but classics are much more palatable when they are read on a leisurely timeframe. Some I liked, some I couldn't care less about, but Les Miserables was, literally, a life-changing text.
I fell into Les Mis completely by accident. On day I forgot to pack whatever book I was working on that day and dug around looking for something other than Harlequins and Clancys.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is HUGE! but its also amazing and filled with many different situations that can leave you shocked, happy, or in tears. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Samantha Spector
It's been a long time since I read this book so I downloaded it to my Fire. Haven't had a chance to read it again, but I loved this story the first time through!Published 24 days ago by R. C. Nelson
Rarely does one find such extraordinary poetic beauty in a novel. Sometimes long winded... yes. Worth reading, beyond measure! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alaya
I first read this book many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it then. I didn't find it hard to follow. Read morePublished 1 month ago by antistatist
one of my favorite indeed. i really love the quality and the story is excellent. great find!Published 1 month ago by Carolyn Foster
This was a gift for one of my favorite people. She seemed happy to get it. I will post a follow up in like 10 years when she finishes it.Published 2 months ago by Chad M.