Coupon
The Novel of the Century : The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Miserables
by David Bellos


Overview -

The definitive biography of the world s most popular novel

Putting a century of scholarship on one of the world s most enduring popular novels into accessible, narrative form, this new approach to a classic of world literature is written for a wide general readership.  Read more...


 
Hardcover
  • Retail Price: $27.00
  • $18.36
    (Save 32%)

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock Online.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 28 copies from $11.26
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About The Novel of the Century by David Bellos
 
 
 
Overview

The definitive biography of the world s most popular novel

Putting a century of scholarship on one of the world s most enduring popular novels into accessible, narrative form, this new approach to a classic of world literature is written for a wide general readership. Packed full of information about the book s origins and later career on stage and screen, The Novel of the Century brings to life the extraordinary story of how Victor Hugo managed to write his novel of the downtrodden despite a revolution, a coup d etat, and political exile; how he pulled off the deal of the century to get it published; and how he set it on course to become the novel that epitomizes the grand sweep of history in the nineteenth century. This biography of a masterpiece also shows how and why the moral and social messages of Les Miserables are full of meaning for our time.

"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374223236
  • ISBN-10: 0374223238
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: March 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Literary Criticism > European - French
Books > Literary Criticism > Modern - 19th Century
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

The untold story of a classic

You made it through the 1,000-plus pages of the epic historical novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo? Congratulations—and in celebration, treat yourself to this enjoyable guide to how it was written, published and received.

Without a sprawling plot or a cast of characters best kept track of by writing the names on a large wall banner, The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables checks in at a more modest 300-plus pages. But author David Bellos’ feat is worthy of admiration, too, whether you’re a serious Francophile or just crave a good read peppered with cocktail party-ready factoids.

Does the book live up to the hype of the title? Well, consider that Hugo wrote his quintessentially French novel (which inspired the eponymous musical) while in exile on the Channel Island of Guernsey, or that its publication in Brussels meant that printers were at the whim of unreliable thrice-weekly boat service ferrying Hugo’s dispatches, constantly worrying that pirated (figuratively if not literally) versions would be leaked to the public and spoil the novel’s much-hyped release. As for the publishing deal that led to the book, Bellos makes the case that after 155 years it remains the biggest in history (at 240,000 francs cash, or about $3.8 million today) because of its limited eight-year term.

While Hugo famously had his “digressions” in Les Misérables, with all you ever wanted to know about the Paris sewer system and more, Bellos has his "Interludes": chapters on how the characters got their names, or the history behind France’s various revolutions, uprisings and insurrections. And yes, he’d still have a book if they were cut out, but it wouldn’t be as good.

Bellos has impeccable academic credentials, but he never talks down to the reader. From manuscript to musical, The Novel of the Century delivers on its promise.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews