There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.
Myriel really is a gem. One tends to forget (largely thanks to the musical) that the book is about an entire class of people, not just a handful, and overlook certain characters. Myriel’s little tongue-in-cheek remark about it being prideful to ride an ass is just classic. I find it interesting that his character is expressed through a long (long) list of vignettes rather than much description. It’s quite appropriate, seeming very much like the parables attributed to the man himself.
I’m starting to think that excessive and often tangential wordiness was more a trait of period writers than Hugo himself, carry it to extremes as he did. I just finished rereading Ivanhoe, and got much the same feeling from it.
What’s interesting about Hugo’s excessive wordiness is that, for all it is excessive, none of it is really superfluous. I have to pay close attention to every word of every sentence to make sure I don’t miss anything. A few months back I read an abridgment of this book, and came out of it scratching my head, feeling like I’d read… well, an abridgment: a fairly random quarter of book, skipping pages or sections or whole chapters arbitrarily. How refreshing to have the real thing again.
As we see, he had a strange and peculiar way of judging things. I suspect that he acquired it from the gospel.
Of course every-freaking-thing makes me cry since my tear ducts are like a leaky faucet that you can never really turn off. But for a book to make me cry this early on is less than completely common ^__^
We may be indifferent to the death penalty, and may not declare ourselves yes or no, so long as we have not seen a guillotine with our own eyes.
I can just see Myriel sneakily giving all the money people give him for other stuff to the poor. He’s like NGYEE HEE HEE.
Really, if you can stomach it, the excessive detail just brings the scenes that much more to life. The account of the number of chairs in the bishop’s house, for instance, though completely unnecessary, adds that much more charm to the description of his life. It’s actually a little proto-Mary-Sue, but I think we all secretly love well-written Mary-Sues…
I’m really not sure how chairs made out of straw work…
The beautiful is as useful as the useful.
Oftentimes when there are different “books” in a book, it just means, “this book got too long so I divided it up arbitrarily.” Here it’s almost painfully accurate to call the different parts “books,” however; the entire thing really does feel like a set of separate novels that, while they share a connecting thread, are whole in themselves.
We admit the possible development of all the beauties of human virtue in a faith different from our own. What a wonderful line this is. Unfortunately, by “a faith different from our own” he means “differing minutiae of Christianity,” but the philosophy can be applied on a larger scale.
“Tholomyès So Merry That He Sings A Spanish Song” is perhaps the greatest chapter title ever invented ever.
…smiled with the effeminate foppery of a man whose self-love is tickled… God, I love this man.
OK, yeah, I kinda neglected to record my thoughts for about ten books. Oh, well.
It’s interesting that Jean Valjean never expresses an opinion on the however-the-crap-you-spell-that-French-word revolutionary activities of the students et al. The book kinda sets him up as the wisest character (besides the bishop) and possibly the voice of Hugo — so it’s really fascinating that he takes part silently and volunteers no opinion of the barricade.
OK, the biggest problem wis posting thoughts about this is that I can’t spell the French words. This one ABC guy is such a military geek, like so many guys I knew in high school, but I can’t spell his freaking name. My physical copy of the book has gone missing somehow O_o
Sometimes I just can’t believe that a man wrote this book. Some moments of it are so heartrendingly cute. Product of an earlier age, I suppose. Men aren’t allowed to be that adorable anymore.
In a battle, people force themselves upon acquaintance as at a ball.
A man without a woman is like a pistol without a hammer. It’s the woman who makes the man go off. Hugo has that old-school sexism that’s hard to hate because it’s so kindly disdainful: woman is to be pitied and protected because of how weak and inferior she is. But every once in a while he comes up wis a statement of praise that’s incongruously adorable (as I mentioned before).
Who knows that the sun is not blind?
…God, the millionaire of stars…