Did you know?

  • Les Miserables is one of the longest novels in history.
  • While many chapters contain a few short pages, this epic clocks in at roughly 1500 pages for the English unabridged version), 1900 pages in French. In comparison, the paperback version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace runs 1440 pages (depending on the translation), Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is 1088 pages in paperback. Even Hugo, in a letter to one of his publishers, admitted not everyone would read the book.
  • The protagonist Jean Valjean doesn’t immediately appear in the novel. The preceding chapters are about cloistered religious orders, the construction of the Paris sewers, argot, and street urchins of Paris. Hugo then spends another nineteen chapters writing about the Battle of Waterloo and its’ place in history. He even makes a notation – calling it Parenthesis – to indicate that none of this has anything to do with moving along the main story or even the subplots. {Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables}.
  • The novel has been adapted at least FIFTY-FOUR TIMES in movie versions. These include now lost silent movie versions; a number of versions from the Japanese, Russian, Turkish and Egyptian movie industries; the Oscar nominated musical starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe; the 1935 Oscar nominated movie starring Fredric March and Charles Laughton, AND The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (based on the TV series of the same name).
  • The novel has been adapted at least TWENTY-ONE times for television. These not only include miniseries, but the classic television series The Fugitive starring David Janssen. The series was the story of physician Doctor Richard Kimble, who is unjustly accused for the murder of his wife and is sentenced to death. Upon escaping during transport to Death Row, he goes on the run, attempting to locate the One-Armed Man he witnessed leaving his house on the night of his wife’s murder. Kimble is doggedly pursued by Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard.
  • In the novel version of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, this is the book being read by Melanie Wilkes on the night the women are awaiting word of the raid at the shantytown (in the movie, Melanie reads David Copperfield). The description explains that the title of the book has been tweaked among the Southerners as ‘Lee’s Miserables’ (referring to General Robert E. Lee).

 

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