May is International Victor Hugo Month

You doubt the accuracy of this? Proof. Any arguments? I thought not.

No, I won’t post something every day honoring the life of the great poet, novelist, artist, and politician.

However, to begin the month, since few know he was an artist as well as a writer, I will share one of his paintings.

As well as a link to a poem of his that was an exhibit in the Chicago Haymarket Square Trial – Because today is also May Day/Labor Day for most of the world.

And for those who want to learn more about this great man, I recommend the website Victor Hugo Central.

0 thoughts on “May is International Victor Hugo Month

  1. DL Emerick

    from Wikipedia’s Haymarket Square article:
    “The trial has been characterized as one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in United States history.[39] Most working people believed [that] Pinkerton agents had provoked the incident.[28] On June 26, 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld signed pardons for Fielden, Neebe and Schwab after having concluded all eight defendants were innocent. The governor said the real reason for the bombing was the city of Chicago’s failure to hold Pinkerton guards responsible for shooting workers.[40] The pardons ended his political career.”

    Do you wonder why I would never trust elected judges and elected prosecutors? Too many DAs and too many compliant Judges will let innocent people be convicted and “punished”. Murder is the word for wrongfully causing the death of another person — DAs and Judges thus do commit murder when they knowingly act wrongfully in peforming their duties of office, to obtain convictions that they know or ought to know are unjust.

  2. DL Emerick

    Should I live so long, I promise to read some novels by Hugo, yet — thanks to your promptings, John. My 80+ year old Mom took Les Miserables as her winter reading project this past season — so, maybe I’ll do it this coming winter. I have an abridged (and translated) version that I read some years ago; I have an audio-book (condensed, you might say) that I’ve heard a dozen times, on long solo road trips; I’ve seen the movie (several versions) and some recent plays.

    The question is, John, what would you recommend as a translation? (I don’t do French.)

    And, after that, what order of his novels would you recommend, after Les Mis?

  3. John

    Sorry about that, instead of a quick comment, I began working on a post that went into my recommendations, and then got sidetracked.

    In short – the best translation of Les Miserables is the Signet Classics translation, primarily because it is the only unabridged translation in paperback. The original 1862 translation by CE Wilbour is still in print in hardback, and is unabridged too. (Modern Library I think publishes it.)

    I can’t make any recommendations on translations beyond getting an unabridged version because I am unable to read French as well, so I can’t judge accuracy.

    After that, I would read Notre Dame de Paris (aka Hunchback of Notre Dame), Ninety-Three, and Last Day of a Condemned. (Last Day is sometimes not classified as a novel…closer to a novella, but any abolitionist is bound to appreciate it, and it’s epistolary as well, which you don’t see very often anymore.)

    His novel The Man Who Laughs has been highly praised. (One of Ayn Rand’s favorite novels supposedly) – I had difficulty getting interested in it. It has been made into a movie, and can be watched in that format. (The movie supposedly inspired the creation of the comic book character The Joker.)

    I haven’t read Hugo’s other three novels yet: Toilers of the Sea, Bug Jargal, and Hans of Iceland Toilers of the Sea gets some good reviews, but the other two are earlier works that I’ve read don’t quite measure up.

  4. John

    The Signet edition is translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman McAfee. It has a picture of the Broadway Musical logo on the cover – Young Cosette with French Flag – so it’s very easy to spot.

    The Wilbour translation is the original 1862 translation that is pubilshed now by Modern Library (in hardback, so a little more costly)