Victor Marie Hugo: Les Misérables

(2415 words)
  • Fiona Cox (University of Exeter)

The appearance of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables in 1862 was one of the most extraordinary publishing sensations of literary history. The public had been well prepared in advance for this magnum opus from the man considered to be the greatest living writer. Hugo himself had engineered a massive advertising campaign in which he presented himself as the nineteenth-century Dante creating hell out of reality rather than poetry, and in which he promoted his work as the social and historical drama of the nineteenth century.

The socialism of Les Misérables directly underpins its spectacular sales history from even before the official launch. It was published in five parts – “Fantine&…

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Cox, Fiona. "Les Misérables". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 April 2008
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. European Romanticism