Should I read Les Miserables?

I usually try to plan ahead when it comes to summer activities, so I am trying to get together what I want to do with the summer of this year, 2013. I just saw Les Miserables (2012) and I absolutely loved it. It is now one of my favorite movies. I really want to read the book because of how much I enjoyed the movie. I know it is very long but is it worth it? And is it easy to understand? Which translation is the best in your opinion?

Reading that book would not take up my entire summer. Sticking with the theme of Les Miserables and everything French, I also might plan to study French over the summer. I am currently a year 4 Spanish student and have some desire to learn another language as well.

My AP History teacher is really informed on the French Revolution and she has recently been doing some partial lectures on it, relating it back to events taking place in America at the time. The topic really interests me and I would really enjoy researching it along with reading Les Miserables and trying to learn some French also.

How beneficial would it be for me to try to do all of these this summer? I am only asking now so I can start buying books now. Thank you for your time.

4 Answers

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  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    My dear...........first of all, let me state that Jon here is completely wrong and has no idea what he's talking about.

    The original book, Les Miserables, was written by Victor Hugo, in 5 seperate parts.......in French.

    Most English adaptions, are essentially all 5 of those books, rolled into one, to tell the WHOLE story, from start to finish.

    The English Adaption is about 1,500 pages long, and is a MARVELOUS book. You could scarcely pick a better one to read. The book is said to cover every emotion known to mankind.........Love hate, good, evil, justice, injustice, revenge, charity, Kindness, wickedness,......is covers it ALL,.....set against real life historic backdrops......and just GREAT, GREATTTTTTTT, well written characters.....living in the very real cities of Paris and France.

    Many people think it's about the French Revolution. That is not quite right.

    The French revolution was in 1789.........but over time, what happened was,,........all they did was replace one king, for another, and one no better.

    Things were STILL quite bad in 1832........when the (real) Student Rebellion of June 1932 took place......as depicted in the book, films, and plays. (The Barricades in the streets)

    Victor Hugo's work......is considered one of the few great works, that even mentions this oft forgotten little episode........as it was indeed, sadly squashed, and quickly forgotten.

    (But was supposedly the inspiration for later rebellions......that DID change things. This was merely one of the first poor attempts......by some dreamers........before things picked up speed. )

    The current MOVIE.....is original............because it is a FILM adaption of the PLAY, basically.

    That is......all the scenes are acted out in SONG. And it was BRILLIANTLY done.

    Other film versions, are the BOOK, acted out.

    There is one with Liam Neelson as Valjean.....one with Gerard Depardeiu.....and others before that.

    My personal favorite is one from 1978, with Frederick March.

    And, after you read the book.........if you LOVE it, like most people fall in love with it...........

    you'll be happy to know, that in 1995, an American Author by the name of Laura Kaplakian, attempted to write a worthy SEQUEL.........entitled "Cosette".....which picks up the life of Cosette and Marius, well into their old age. That was also a wonderful read, and a good attempt at a sequel.

    There was yet ANOTHER attempt at a Sequel........by a French Author........Francois Ceresa.....

    but that work was vastly inferior, and not very good......and it was broken into two books.......

    One called "Cosette" and the other "Marius".-

    Despite being published in 2001-2002----------I have yet to find the second book, Marius, translated into English.

    Which really stinks........because the first book just ends ABRUPTLY........and the second half of the story, is in the second book.

    So you're better with the Kaplakian sequel, if you're interested. It was good, and you will enjoy it, if you like Les Miserables.

    Source(s): *that's* how you answer a question, people.
  • koeppe
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    How To Read Les Miserables

  • Maya
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    While I know absolutely nothing in the way of the French language, I can tell you that Les Miserables is an absolutely fantastic book. It is also free on kindle.

    If you are good at picking up languages then it might be completely possible to start learning French and learning about France while reading a book set in France. It might be difficult to keep up with everything without getting worn out and hating all things France but who knows.

    Maybe start one of those projects earlier so it isn''t a huge undertaking once summer starts.

  • Jon
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Well, as far as I know Les Miserables was originally written as a play. Any book version would simply be an adaptation, and I doubt those would be worth reading. As for your research, I would definitely recommend it. Language is very cool, and very useful. As for your studies of the French Revolution, that is a dead end for you, it seems. Les Miserables is actually set in the French Revolution of 1830, not the more commonly known one in 1789. You could research the one that you teacher is informed on, though it would not provide you with much insight to the play.

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