Les Miserables Essay

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In the following excerpt from a review of Part I of the novel, in contrast to most critics of the period following the initial publication of Les Miserables, this anonymous reviewer gives the novel unqualified praise.

[Les Miserables] is the greatest and most elaborate work of Victor Hugo's fruitful genius. A novel, in the ordinary acceptation of that term, [Fantine] is not. The ordinary novel, according to Carlyle, is a "tale of adventures which did not occur in God's creation, but only in the Waste Chambers, (to be let unfurnished,) of certain human heads, and which are part and parcel of the sum of No-things; which, nevertheless, obtain some temporary remembrance, and lodge extensively, at this epoch of the world, in similar still more unfurnished chambers." These productions have wonderful plots and still more wonderful machinery. Fantine has simply dramatic situations, and therefore Fantine is no novel. They...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 1,474 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Les Miserables Study Guide
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