"Les Miserables" is Published

Published in 1862 by the famous author and poet Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (translated to The Miserable Ones) is said to be one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Although the characters in Hugo's story are fictional, he sets the story during real events of Paris during the early 1800s. Readers get a close glimpse at the poverty and anguish of the lower class and learn of the tense political climate during that time.

Les Miserables is also one of the longest novels ever written. According to biblio.com, there are about 1,500 pages in English editions and 1,900 pages in French versions. The novel consists of five volumes, each of which are divided into several books and subdivided into chapters, totaling 48 books and 365 chapters. Uselessdaily.com also reports that over a quarter of the book is dedicated to discussions of morality having nothing to do with the novel's plot. Despite being a long read, Les Miserables is one of the most successful and timeless stories of the Romantic era.

The plot of Les Miserables follows ex-prisoner Jean Valjean on his path to redemption and is well known today for its musical and film adaptationsThroughout the story, the narrator follows Valjean on his journey to evade the law while caring for an orphaned girl named Cosette. Themes present in this epic are religion, poverty, freedom, and young love.

After serving a 19-year prison sentence and suffering life as a poor ex-convict, Valjean violates his parole and assumes a new identity, becoming mayor of a small French town where he collects a large sum of money and lives piously for many years. After crossing paths with an impoverished woman and a suspicious inspector, Valjean rescues the woman's young daughter from her abusive caretakers and flees to Paris. 

As an adult, Cosette falls in love with a young man named Marius, who happens to be an instrumental part of the 1832 June Rebellion of Paris. Upon discovering Cosette and Marius' affections, Valjean risks his life to save Marius in battle while ousting himself to the suspicious inspector Javert. In the end, Valjean is able to save Marius from the carnage and escape the punishment of Javert. Jean Valjean later dies peacefully in the grace of God, knowing that he has lived a good life.

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