Les Misérables



Victor Marie Hugo was born in Besancon, France, in 1802. He was the son of a general in Napoleon’s army and spent the early years of his life traveling with his military father throughout Spain and Italy. He went to live in Paris with his mother when he was eleven, and was passionate about literature from an early age. He won his first award in poetry at the age of fifteen, and went on to write in a wide variety of genres, including plays, essays and novels. To this day, Hugo is one of the most revered writers in the history of French literature.

Les Misérables, published in 1862, was written over a twenty-year period. In this sweeping epic of a novel, which weaves detailed analysis of nineteenth-century French politics, culture, and history among the profoundly moving stories of the disenfranchised characters it follows, Hugo hoped to provoke genuine reform in the world. More than a novel, it is a humanitarian work that explores society’s mistreatment of the poor and emphasizes the redemptive powers of love and compassion.

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Essays About Les Misérables