Les Miserables Essay

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In the following essay, Cerisola, a former teacher at the Lycee Francais de New York and a current instructor at New York University, outlines some of the biographical background that led to Hugo's great work; Cerisola also discusses the author's ambition of creating not only a great story, but also a novel that would be an epic of its time, thus explaining the story's complicated narrative approach.

Victor Hugo took seventeen years to write Les Miserables, his vast fresco of individual and collective destinies, which was published in 1862 when he was sixty years old. The novel is the parallel story of the redemption of Jean Valjean and France-and to a larger extent, the story of humanity's political and social progress. Above all, Hugo intended Les Miserables to be a novel about the people, and for the people, and he largely succeeded.

When Les Miserables was published, it appeared...

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This section contains 1,668 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Les Miserables Study Guide
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