Victor-Marie Hugo (1802 –1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France.
Hugo's father was an officer in Napoleon's army, an enthusiastic republican and ruthless professional soldier, who loved dangers and adventures
In France, Hugo's literary reputation rests primarily on his poetic and dramatic output and only secondarily on his novels. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem, and Hugo is sometimes identified as the greatest French poet.
Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables (1862) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831).
Though extremely conservative in his youth, Hugo moved to the political left as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon.
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1. Les Misérables (1862), Vol. 01 of 05 (70 Chapters)
2. Les Misérables, Volume 02 of 05 (76 Chapters)
Les Misérables could be translated from French as The Miserable Ones, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims.
Les Misérables is set in the Parisian underworld. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, is sentenced to prison for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. After his release, Valjean plans to rob Monseigneur Myriel, a saintlike bishop, but cancels his plan. However, he forfeits his parole by committing a minor crime, and for this crime Valjean is haunted by the police inspector Javert. Valjean eventually reforms and becomes under the name of M. Madeleine a successful businessman, benefactor, and mayor of a northern town. To save an innocent man, Valjean gives himself up and is imprisoned in Toulon. He escapes and adopts Cosette, an illegitimate child of a poor woman, Fantine. Cosette grows up and falls in love with Marius, who is wounded during a revolutionary fight. Valjean rescues Marius by means of a flight through the sewers of Paris. Cosette and Marius marry and Valjean reveals his past.
The story has been filmed several times and made into a musical by the composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and the librettist Alain Boublil, opening in 1980 in Paris. The English version was realised in 1985 and the Broadway version followed two years later.
1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - One of the great literary tragedies of all time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame features some of the most well-known characters in all of fiction - Quasimodo, the hideously deformed bellringer of Notre-Dame de Paris, his master the evil priest Claude Frollo, and Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy condemned for a crime she did not commit.
3. A Fight With a Cannon by Victor Hugo (5th story of LibriVox’s Short Story Collection Vol. 015)
4. Love Letters - Monday, February 28, and Saturday Evening, January 1820 by Victor Hugo (from LibriVox Love Letter Collection 2008)
5. The Last Day of a Condemned - A man who has been condemned to death writes down his cogitations, feelings and fears while he is waiting for his execution. He does not betray his name to the reader or what he has done. He describes his life in prison, everything from what his cell looks like to the personality of the prison priest.
6. The Man Who Laughs - The novel starts on the night of January 29, 1690, a ten-year-old boy abandoned -- the stern men who've kept him since infancy have wearied of him. The boy wanders, barefoot and starving, through a snowstorm to reach a gibbet bearing the corpse of a hanged criminal. Beneath the gibbet is a ragged woman, frozen to death. The boy is about to move onward when he hears a sound within the woman's garments: He discovers an infant girl, barely alive.