Questions tagged [les-miserables]

For questions about 'Les Misérables' (1862), a novel by Victor Hugo. Use in conjunction with [victor-hugo] and [french-literature]. For the musical, use the tag [les-miserables-musical].

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34
votes
1answer
13k views

Was there a reason Victor Hugo chose 24601 as the number for Jean Valjean?

24601 has developed into being an iconic part of both the Les Miserables book and musical. Was that number special to him, or was it simply a random number he chose (I doubt it)?
15
votes
1answer
767 views

Why all those tangents in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables?

Anyone who's ever read Victor Hugo's immortal masterpiece Les Misérables knows that it's a long read... mostly because Hugo goes on a bunch of random tangents in the middle—on such topics as the ...
12
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0answers
175 views

When was young Cosette's bedtime?

While the song "Come to Me" was probably not intended as a treatise on astronomical timekeeping or 19th-century French child-rearing, some of Fantine's lines (taken at face value) fit together for a ...
9
votes
2answers
480 views

Was there a deliberate parallel between the Thénardiers and Gollum?

Long ago, I noticed that there was a parallel between The Lord of the Rings and Les Misérables in the characters of the Thénardiers and Gollum. Gollum has the One Ring at the start of the tale in The ...
5
votes
1answer
204 views

In Les Miserables, why can Javert be the judge of Fantine and why does Monsieur Madeleine have the power to stop him?

In Les Miserables, one of the Protagonists, Fantine, attacks a citizen on the open street after he insulted her and put snow in the back of her dress. She is then arrested by Javert, the local police ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Who does “he” refer to in this passage from Les Miserables?

In the following passage from Les Miserables, with characters Mr. Thenardier and Jean Valjean, who does the bold "he" refer to? Be that as it may, on entering into conversation with the man, sure ...
2
votes
1answer
263 views

Why did Victor Hugo take several pages to say that his knowledge of Paris was woefully out of date?

At one point in Les Miserables, Victor Hugo inserted a fairly lengthy disclaimer (I don't recall the exact chapter number) explaining that his knowledge of Paris was basically accurate but several ...
0
votes
1answer
217 views

Why did Victor Hugo write that “the interior of the soul” is “grander than the sky”?

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables Whether "the interior ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

What did the convict mean by “I’m a number: number 15,729” in “The Bishop's Candlesticks”?

Norman McKinnel’s play The Bishop’s Candlesticks is an adaptation of volume one, book second, of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables. The play is based on the concept that no man is a born offender. It ...