Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Giveaway for Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of LES MISÉRABLES

This is a completely new translation of Victor Hugo's classic tale--the first in forty years for Penguin Classics. It is being widely hailed as an exquisite and contemporary translation by Christine Donougher of Hugo's sometimes chatty/sometimes outraged voice so that it seems like a commentary on the state of today's "Occupy" nation of haves and have-nots. I can't wait to have a look at it. Though the size of translations of Hugo's work are daunting to contemplate, this edition should lead you into the riches of this classic tale.

The cover art shown above is by the widely admired illustrator Jillian Tamaki, whose work you may have seen in the NYT Book Review. If you would like to share in the exciting experience of (re)discovering Victor Hugo's classic, Penguin has agreed to send a Deluxe Edition of this book to one U.S. resident. Please sign up on the secure form below. And in the meantime, take a look at some of the buzz about this book that has just hit bookstores.

(Penguin Classics; On Sale: February 24, 2015; $23.00; ISBN: 978-0-14-310756-9)

Hugo’s epic tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly threatened—by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert and by his own conscience. The stakes are high for Valjean, who has promised to protect the daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty. And as his freedom is threatened, revolution breaks out in Paris, with far-reaching consequences for Valjean, his loved ones, and Hugo’s expansive cast of misérables.

In his introduction to LES MISÉRABLES, Robert Tombs praises the “literary power, intellectual sophistication, and subtlety of observation” of Hugo’s revolutionary masterpiece. Featuring a beautiful cover by acclaimed illustrator Jillian Tamaki and clear, illuminating notes by Donougher, this new edition invites readers to discover—or rediscover—the timeless narrative force and startling relevance of one of the world’s great novels.

About the Author

Victor Hugo was born in Besançon, France in 1802. In 1822, he published his first collection of poetry, and in 1831 he published his most famous youthful novel, Notre-Dame de Paris. A royalist and conservative as a young man, Hugo later became a committed social democrat and was exiled from Paris as a result of his political activities. After his death in 1885, his body lay in state under the Arc de Triomphe before being buried in the Panthéon.

Christine Donougher is a freelance translator and editor. She has translated numerous books from French and Italian, and won the 1992 Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for her translation of Sylvie Germain’s The Book of Nights.

Robert Tombs is Professor of History at St. John’s College, Cambridge. His most recent book is That Sweet Enemy: The French and British from the Sun King to the Present, co-written with Isabelle Tombs.

Jillian Tamaki is an illustrator and cartoonist. She currently teaches in the illustration Department of the School of Visual Arts, and is the co-creator of the graphic novels Skim and This One Summer, with Mariko Tamaki.


“No adaptation can convey the addictive pleasure afforded by Victor Hugo’s narrative voice: by turns chatty, crotchety, buoyant and savagely ironical, it’s made to seem so contemporary and fresh in Donougher’s rendering that the book has all the resonance of the most topical state-of-the-nation novel.” — Telegraph

“Donougher’s translation is a magnificent achievement. It reads easily, sometimes racily, and Hugo’s narrative power is never let down...[an] almost flawless translation, which brings the full flavour of one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century to new readers in the twenty-first.”— Times Literary Supplement

“Christine Donougher’s seamless and very modern translation of Les Misérables has an astonishing effect in that it reminds readers that Hugo was going further than any Dickensian lament about social conditions ... [Les Mis] touches the soul.”—Herald Scotland

Winner chosen 3/10/15. Thanks everyone!

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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