Ninety-Three

Ninety-Three – Victor Hugo

The Revolution at its apogee, the fatal term of the contest waged by new ideas against the old social order, by liberty against despotism, by law against tyranny; and from this conflict, from this atmosphere of blood, progress and humanity triumphantly disengaging themselves; —such is the essence of the book. The drama, intermingled with graceful episodes and charming situations, is acted upon that ancient Vendéan soil, whose wild, picturesque landscapes are reproduced by the master’s pen. This romance obtained a success equal to that of Les Misérables.

Ninety-Three

Ninety-Three

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Ninety-Three.

ISBN: 9783849676940.

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The Writings of Victor Hugo (from Wikipedia):

Hugo published his first novel the year following his marriage (Han d’Islande, 1823), and his second three years later (Bug-Jargal, 1826). Between 1829 and 1840, he published five more volumes of poetry (Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’automne, 1831; Les Chants du crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; and Les Rayons et les Ombres, 1840), cementing his reputation as one of the greatest elegiac and lyric poets of his time.

Like many young writers of his generation, Hugo was profoundly influenced by François-René de Chateaubriand, the famous figure in the literary movement of Romanticism and France’s pre-eminent literary figure during the early 19th century. In his youth, Hugo resolved to be „Chateaubriand or nothing“, and his life would come to parallel that of his predecessor in many ways. Like Chateaubriand, Hugo furthered the cause of Romanticism, became involved in politics (though mostly as a champion of Republicanism), and was forced into exile due to his political stances.

The precocious passion and eloquence of Hugo’s early work brought success and fame at an early age. His first collection of poetry (Odes et poésies diverses) was published in 1822 when he was only 20 years old and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Though the poems were admired for their spontaneous fervour and fluency, the collection that followed four years later in 1826 (Odes et Ballades) revealed Hugo to be a great poet, a natural master of lyric and creative song.

Victor Hugo’s first mature work of fiction was first published in February 1829 by Charles Gosselin without the author’s name and reflected the acute social conscience that would infuse his later work. Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) would have a profound influence on later writers such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Claude Gueux, a documentary short story about a real-life murderer who had been executed in France. On 15 March 1832, Hugo completed this story with a long preface and his signature which was later considered by Hugo himself to be a precursor to his great work on social injustice, Les Misérables.

Hugo became the figurehead of the romantic literary movement with the plays Cromwell (1827) and Hernani (1830).

Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) was published in 1831 and quickly translated into other languages across Europe. One of the effects of the novel was to shame the City of Paris into restoring the much-neglected Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was attracting thousands of tourists who had read the popular novel. The book also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which thereafter began to be actively preserved.

Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery and injustice as early as the 1830s, but a full 17 years were needed for Les Misérables to be realised and finally published in 1862. Hugo had used the departure of prisoners for the Bagne of Toulon in one of his early stories, „Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné“ He went to Toulon to visit the Bagne in 1839 and took extensive notes, though he did not start writing the book until 1845. On one of the pages of his notes about the prison, he wrote in large block letters a possible name for his hero: “ JEAN TRÉJEAN“. When the book was finally written, Tréjean became Jean Valjean.

Hugo was acutely aware of the quality of the novel, as evidenced in a letter he wrote to his publisher, Albert Lacroix, on 23 March 1862, „My conviction is that this book is going to be one of the peaks , if not the crowning point of my work.“ [7] So publication of the Miserables went to the highest bidder. The Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckhoven undertook a marketing campaign unusual for the time, issuing press releases about the work a full six months before the launch. It also initially published only the first part of the novel („Fantine“), which was launched simultaneously in major cities. Instalments of the book sold out within hours and had enormous impact on French society.

The critical establishment was generally hostile to the novel; Taine found it insincere, Barbey d’Aurevilly complained of its vulgarity, Gustave Flaubert found within it „neither truth nor greatness“, the Goncourt brothers lambasted its artificiality, and Baudelaire – despite giving favourable reviews in newspapers – castigated it in private as „repulsive and inept“. Les Misérables proved popular enough with the masses that the issues it highlighted were soon on the agenda of the National Assembly of France. Today, the novel remains his most enduringly popular work. It is popular worldwide and has been adapted for cinema, television, and stage shows.

An apocryphal tale about the shortest correspondence in history is said to have been between Hugo and his publisher Hurst and Blackett in 1862. Hugo was on vacation when Les Misérables was published. He queried the reaction to the work by sending a single-character telegram to his publisher, asking ?. The publisher replied with a single ! to indicate its success.

Hugo turned away from social/political issues in his next novel, Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), published in 1866. The book was well received, perhaps due to the previous success of Les Misérables. Dedicated to the channel island of Guernsey, where he spent 15 years of exile, Hugo tells of a man who attempts to win the approval of his beloved’s father by rescuing his ship, intentionally marooned by its captain who hopes to escape with a treasure of money it is transporting, through an exhausting battle of human engineering against the force of the sea and a battle against an almost mythical beast of the sea, a giant squid. Superficially an adventure, one of Hugo’s biographers calls it a „metaphor for the 19th century–technical progress, creative genius and hard work overcoming the immanent evil of the material world.“

The word used in Guernsey to refer to squid (pieuvre, also sometimes applied to octopus) was to enter the French language as a result of its use in the book. Hugo returned to political and social issues in his next novel, L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), which was published in 1869 and painted a critical picture of the aristocracy. The novel was not as successful as his previous efforts, and Hugo himself began to comment on the growing distance between himself and literary contemporaries such as Flaubert and Émile Zola, whose realist and naturalist novels were now exceeding the popularity of his own work.

His last novel, Quatre-vingt-treize (Ninety-Three), published in 1874, dealt with a subject that Hugo had previously avoided: the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Though Hugo’s popularity was on the decline at the time of its publication, many now consider Ninety-Three to be a work on par with Hugo’s better-known novels.

 

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On the Sermon On The Mount

On the Sermon On The Mount – St. Augustine of Hippo

This edition includes the two books that St. Augustine wrote as explanations on the Sermon On The Mount which our Lord delivered and which are written down in Matthew 5-7.

On the Sermon On The Mount

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On the Sermon On The Mount.

ISBN: 9783849676933.

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Biography of St. Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430) was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (within modern-day Annaba, Algeria), located in Numidia (Roman province of Africa). Augustine is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions. According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine „established anew the ancient Faith.“ In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory. When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine’s On the Trinity.

Augustine is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Christian Church, and the Anglican Communion and as a preeminent Doctor of the Church. He is also the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. Augustine is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists and Lutherans, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace. Lutherans, and Martin Luther in particular, have held Augustine in preeminence (after the Bible and St. Paul). Luther himself was a member of the Order of the Augustinian Eremites (1505-1521).

In the East, some of his teachings are disputed and have in the 20th century in particular come under attack by such theologians as John Romanides. But other theologians and figures of the Eastern Orthodox Church have shown significant appropriation of his writings, chiefly Georges Florovsky. The most controversial doctrine surrounding his name is the filioque, which has been rejected by the Orthodox Church. Other disputed teachings include his views on original sin, the doctrine of grace, and predestination. Nevertheless, though considered to be mistaken on some points, he is still considered a saint, and has even had influence on some Eastern Church Fathers, most notably Saint Gregory Palamas. In the Orthodox Church his feast day is celebrated on 28 August. Church scholar and historian Diarmaid MacCulloch writes „his impact on Western Christian thought can hardly be overstated; only his beloved example Paul of Tarsus, has been more influential, and Westerners have generally seen Paul through Augustine’s eyes.“

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

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The Homilies On The Epistle Of St. Paul To The Romans

The Homilies On The Epistle Of St. Paul To The Romans – St. John Chrysostrom

St. Chrysostom’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans in one of the closest and most argumentative of thse he has left us. The style of the Epistle itself called for this, being such as almost constantly to remind an attentive reader of the necessity of froming some notion of the views and feelings of the persons to whom it was orginally addressed. To this point St. Crysotom has paid much attention, and has consequently obtained a far clearer view of the doctinal bearing of the Epistle than most other commentators. His early rhetorical education would probably have given him even to strong a bias toward that kind of exposition, but for his supsequent course of severe discipline and ascetic devotion. As it is, the rhetorical element in his commentary is of ver great value. His ready apprehension of the effect intended to be prodcued by the style and wording of a sentence, is often the means of clearing up what minght othewise seem obscure of even inconsistent. An example of this occurs in the beginning of the seventh cahpter, which he expounds in the 12th Homily. The illustration of uor release from the Law of Moses by partaking in the Death of Christ, by the dissolution of marriage at deat, is so stated in the Epistle as to contain an apparent inconsistency, as though the death of the Law, and the death of the personn, were confounded. And the various readings only shift the difficulty, without removing it. This, however, he has very ably shown to be, in fact, an argument a priori. Other cases will strike other persons as they happen to have found difficulty in the Text.

The Homilies On The Epistle Of St. Paul To The Romans

The Homilies On The Epistle Of St. Paul To The Romans

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The Homilies On The Epistle Of St. Paul To The Romans.

ISBN: 9783849676926.

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Biography of St. John Chrysostom (from wikipedia.com)

John Chrysostom ( c. 349 – 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. The epithet Χρυσόστομος (Chrysostomos, anglicized as Chrysostom) means „golden-mouthed“ in Greek and denotes his celebrated eloquence. Chrysostom was among the most prolific authors in the early Christian Church, exceeded only by Augustine of Hippo in the quantity of his surviving writings.

He is honored as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican churches, as well as in some others. The Eastern Orthodox, together with the Byzantine Catholics, hold him in special regard as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs (alongside Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus). The feast days of John Chrysostom in the Eastern Orthodox Church are 13 November and 27 January. In the Roman Catholic Church he is recognized as a Doctor of the Church and commemorated on 13 September. Other churches of the Western tradition, including some Anglican provinces and some Lutheran churches, also commemorate him on 13 September. However, certain Lutheran churches and Anglican provinces commemorate him on the traditional Eastern feast day of 27 January. The Coptic Church also recognizes him as a saint (with feast days on 16 Thout and 17 Hathor).

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

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John Calvin’s Bible Commentaries On Isaiah 1 – 16

John Calvin’s Bible Commentaries On Isaiah 1 – 16 – John Calvin

Calvin produced commentaries on most of the books of the Bible. His commentaries cover the larger part of the Old Testament, and all of the new excepting Second and Third John and the Apocalypse. His commentaries and lectures stand in the front rank of Biblical interpretation. All who take delight in the Holy Scriptures are familiarly acquainted with the writings of The Prophet Isaiah. Every variety of taste finds in them its appropriate gratification. Lofty conceptions, illustrated by splendid imagery, and clothed in language usually copious and flowing, some times abrupt, but always graceful, leave no room for hesitation to pronounce him, with Bishop Lowth, to be „the most sublime and elegant of the Prophets of the Old Testament.“ He is regarded with peculiar veneration as an honest, fearless, and able messenger of the Most High God, boldly reproving nobles and monarchs, denouncing the judgments of Heaven against all transgressors, and asserting the claims of the Divine law and government above all human authority. In his Prophecies he takes a wide range, surveys those nations which power or wealth or learning or commerce had raised to the highest celebrity in those remote times, and describes their rise and fall, and wonderful revolutions, so eagerly traced lay us in the page of history, as the execution of Jehovah’s counsels, and the arrangements of unerring wisdom But chiefly does he pour out rich instruction concerning the Messiah, whose life and sufferings, and death and glorious reign, he delineates so faithfully, and with such thrilling interest, that he has obtained the appellation of „The Evangelical Prophet.

 

John Calvin's Bible Commentaries On Isaiah 1- 16

John Calvin’s Bible Commentaries On Isaiah 1- 16

John Calvin’s Bible Commentaries On Isaiah 1 – 16.

ISBN: 9783849676919.

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Biography of John Calvin (from wikipedia.com)

John Calvin (10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564) was an influential French theologian, pastor and reformer during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, aspects of which include the doctrines of predestination and of the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation, in which doctrines Calvin was influenced by and elaborated upon the Augustinian and other early Christian traditions. Various Congregational, Reformed, and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.

Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. He also exchanged cordial and supportive letters with many reformers, including Philipp Melanchthon and Heinrich Bullinger. In addition to his seminal Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, confessional documents, and various other theological treatises.

Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions erupted in widespread deadly violence against Protestant Christians in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where in 1536 he published the first edition of the Institutes. In that same year, Calvin was recruited by Frenchman William Farel to help reform the church in Geneva, where he regularly preached sermons throughout the week; but the governing council of the city resisted the implementation of their ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and in 1541 he was invited back to lead the church of the city.

Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite opposition from several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority. During this period, Michael Servetus, a Spaniard regarded by both Roman Catholics and Protestants as having a heretical view of the Trinity, arrived in Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and burned at the stake for heresy by the city council. Following an influx of supportive refugees and new elections to the city council, Calvin’s opponents were forced out. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

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Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land

Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land – Herman Melville

Who could possibly have foreseen that the author of “Typee” and “Omoo” would at last appear as the author of a poem of 18,000 lines, inspired by religious doubts, questions and aspirations? That Mr. Melville has a vein of native poetry in his nature was already manifested by some ballads which he published during the civil war; but it still remains an amazement that the hero of whaling and Polynesian adventures had become a theological mystic in his ripened years. The plot of Clarel has been constructed as a frame upon which to hang descriptions of the scenery of Palestine and the theological discussions of a chance company of tourists. The principal characters are an American student, an English clergyman, a Jew, a Smyrniote Greek and a Jewish girl of whom we see little, as she dies in order to introduce a tragic element. The poem is divided into four parts, respectively entitled: Jerusalem, The Wilderness, Mar Saba and Bethlehem.

Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land

Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land

Format: Paperback

Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

ISBN: 9783849676902.

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Plot Summary of Clarel (from Wikipedia):

Part One: Jerusalem

Clarel, a young theology student whose belief has begun to waver, travels to Jerusalem to renew his faith in the sites and scenes of Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry. He stays in a hostel run by Abdon, the Black Jew — a living representation of Jerusalem. Clarel is initially amazed by the religious diversity of Jerusalem; he sees Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists walking its streets and recognizes their common faith in divinity. Clarel also senses a kinship with an Italian youth and Catholic doubter named Celio, whom he sees walking in the distance, but does not take the initiative and greet him. When Celio dies shortly thereafter, Clarel feels he may have passed up an opportunity to regain his faith.

While walking through Jerusalem’s streets, Clarel meets Nehemiah, a Christian who hands out proselytizing tracts to pilgrims and tourists. Nehemiah becomes Clarel’s guide and shows him the sights of Jerusalem. At the Wailing Wall, Clarel notices an American Jew and his daughter, whom he learns are Agar and Ruth. Nehemiah later introduces Clarel to Ruth, with whom he falls in love. But Jewish custom and a jealous rabbi keep Clarel and Ruth apart much of the time, so the student continues sightseeing with Nehemiah.

In Gethsemane, Clarel meets Vine and Rolfe, two opposites. Rolfe is a Protestant and religious skeptic who historicizes Jerusalem and calls into question Christ’s claim to divinity. Vine is a quiet man whose example leads Clarel to hope for faith — at least initially. When Vine and Rolfe decide to take a tour of other important sites in the Holy Land — the wilderness where John the Baptist preached, the monastery at Mar Saba and Bethlehem — Clarel wants to accompany them, but he does not wish to leave Ruth.

At this critical juncture, Ruth’s father Nathan dies. As Jewish customs prohibit Clarel’s presence, so the student decides to take the journey, confident that he will see his beloved when he returns to Jerusalem. The night before his departure, he sees a frieze depicting the death of a young bride, which makes him pause with foreboding. He banishes his doubts and sets off on his pilgrimage.

Part Two: The Wilderness

Clarel travels with a wide range of fellow pilgrims — Nehemiah, Rolfe and Vine accompany him, and Melville introduces new characters for this book: Djalea, son of an emir, turned tour guide; Belex, the leader of six armed guards protecting the pilgrimage; a Greek banker and his son-in-law Glaucon; a Lutheran minister named Derwent; an unnamed former elder who has lost the faith; and a Swedish Jew named Mortmain, whose black skull cap constantly forebodes ill. The tour through the desert starts with an explicit invitation to compare Clarel and his companions‘ journey to „brave Chaucer’s“ pilgrims to Canterbury.

Unaccustomed to desert hardships, the banker and his son-in-law soon abandon the group for a caravan headed back to Jerusalem. When Clarel and his companions come to the stretch of road where Christ’s good Samaritan rescued a Jew from robbers, the taciturn elder also departs, scoffing at the cautions of Djalea and Belex, who fear robbers. Mortmain is the final deserter; he leaves before the party makes a stop at Jericho, refusing to enter a city he considers wicked. During their travels, Clarel’s party is joined by Margoth, an apostate Jewish geologist who scoffs at the faith expressed by Derwent, As an atheist, Margoth prompts Rolfe to move closer to Derwent’s faith than he had formerly been. The company also speaks briefly with a Dominican monk traveling through the desert.

In the absence of these travelers, Derwent and Rolfe engage in a number of heated debates as to the veracity of biblical accounts and the relationship between the various Protestant sects. Derwent staunchly maintains his faith in biblical accuracy, while Rolfe questions the Holy Book’s basis as factual history even as he acknowledges his desire to believe. Clarel eagerly listens to these conversations but rarely participates, unsure of whether his faith is being shored up or torn down by the debates. He seeks Vine out for companionship, but Vine’s stoic silence resists interpretation, and Vine denies Clarel’s request for more open talk.

When the party arrives at the Dead Sea, they make camp, and are rejoined by Mortmain. Seeming disturbed, he drinks the salty Dead Sea water despite warnings that it is poisonous. Mortmain survives but, when the pilgrims wake in the morning, they discover that Nehemiah has died in the night. He saw a vision of John’s heavenly city in the air, above the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah. While the company buries the man by the Dead Sea, Clarel looks out over the water. He sees a faint rainbow, which seems to offer hope as it did for Noah, but the bow „showed half spent —/Hovered and trembled, paled away, and — went“.

Part Three: Mar Saba

Clarel and the other pilgrims travel to the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Saba, where one St. Saba discovered a fountain in the desert and planted a palm tree now more than one thousand years old. On their way to the monastery, they meet a young man from Cyprus who has just left Mar Saba and is traveling to the Dead Sea. The Cypriot’s faith is unshaken, and all who hear his singing envy him. On their way to Mar Saba, the travelers pass through the “tents of Kedar,” where a band of robbers camp and exact a toll of travelers to the monastery. These robbers recognize Arab royalty in Djalea, however, and let the pilgrims pass without molesting them.

At Mar Saba, Clarel and his friends are fed by the monks and entertained with a masque portraying the story of Cataphilus, a wandering Jew. Hearing Cataphilus described as having lost his faith “and meriteth no ruth,” Clarel thinks he resembles the Jew. The monks leave the group with Lesbos, a Muslim merchant visiting the monastery. Lesbos leads the group in a drunken revel, persuading even the staid Derwent to participate. He also introduces the group to Agath, another visitor at Mar Saba, a Greek sailor who was sent to Mar Saba to recover after being attacked in the Judean desert, similarly to the wounded Jew in Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan. Reminiscent of Melville’s novels such as White-Jacket and Moby-Dick, Agath and Lesbos tell several sea stories to Clarel, who listens attentively to the tales.

In conversations among the pilgrims and monks, Clarel learns that no one has faith—not Vine, Rolfe, Belex, Lesbos—nor Derwent, whose professions until this point had been staunch. After confessing his lack of faith to Clarel, Derwent takes a tour of the monastery. He cannot appreciate the monks’ faith; he scoffs at the holy relics showed him by the abbot, considers several of the monks to be insane, and cannot believe that the holy palm tree is either holy or a thousand years old. When he takes his eyes from the palm, Derwent sees Mortmain’s skull cap flutter down from an outcropping where the Jew is observing the palm.

All of the pilgrims fall asleep looking at the palm tree. In the morning, when the caravan is about to leave, Mortmain is missing. They find him on the outcropping, his glassy, dead eyes fixed on the palm tree. The monks bury the Jew outside the monastery, in an unconsecrated grave, “Where vulture unto vulture calls, / And only ill things find a friend.”

Part Four: Bethlehem

When the pilgrims leave Mar Saba, they take Lesbos and Agath with them. After a short distance, Lesbos turns back and returns to the monastery, giving the pilgrims a military salute. Ungar, a new traveling companion, joins the company. A veteran of the American Civil War, he is descended from Catholic colonists and American Indians, and is the only one among them with faith. This new group travels to Bethlehem together. Once in Bethlehem, Agath leaves to join a new caravan. The remaining pilgrims pay Djaleal and Belex for their services in guiding them through the desert.

Ungar’s faith attracts Clarel. Derwent is antagonized by his insistence that man is „fallen“ and cannot reclaim his lost glory without divine aid. Their debates over human nature and religion reach to the morality of democracy and capitalism. Vine, Rolfe and Clarel, all Americans, take Ungar’s part, leaving the Englishman to believe that they argue with him out of prejudice against the Old World.

In Bethlehem, the group is shown the cave where Christ was born by a young Franciscan monk named Salvaterra (save the earth in Italian). He seems almost divine to them, as if he were a reincarnation of St. Francis. The monk inspires Clarel’s faith. Clarel’s faith is strengthened after his time with Ungar and Salvaterra, and he views the setting sun as an inspiring beacon.

Ungar leaves the group and Salvaterra remains in the monastery, leaving Clarel to grapple alone with his fledgling faith. He returns to Jerusalem hopeful, eager to rescue Ruth and Agar from their exile in Palestine, and return with them both to the United States. As Clarel approaches Jerusalem during the night before Ash Wednesday, he meets a Jewish burial party. In his absence, Ruth and Agar have died. His newfound faith is rocked to its depths. All through the rituals of Holy Week, Clarel waits for a miracle: for Ruth to return from the dead as Christ did. But Easter passes without Ruth’s resurrection. Clarel is left a lone man in Jerusalem, wondering why, though “They wire the world—far under sea / They talk; but never comes to me / A message from beneath the stone.”

The last canto of Clarel, the epilogue, offers Melville’s commentary on the existential crisis of faith suffered by Clarel in the wake of Ruth’s death. Though Clarel remains beset by troubles and doubts, Melville offers the poem as an exordium to faith:

„Then keep thy heart, though yet but ill-resigned—

Clarel, thy heart, the issues there but mind;
That like the crocus budding through the snow—
That like a swimmer rising from the deep—
That like a burning secret which doth go
Even from the bosom that would hoard and keep;
Emerge thou mayst from the last whelming sea,

And prove that death but routs life into victory.“

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

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The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 2

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 2 -John C. Calhoun

John C. Calhoun was the seventh Vice President of the United States from 1825 to 1832. He was a strong defendant of slavery and of Southern values versus Northern threats. His beliefs and warnings heavily influenced the South’s secession from the Union in 1860–1861. This is volume two out of six of his works, this one containing a part of his speeches delivered in Congress (1811-1837).

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 2

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 2

Format: Paperback

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 2.

ISBN: 9783849676896.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

Biography of John C. Calhoun (from Wikipedia):

John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850) was an American statesman and political theorist from South Carolina, and the seventh Vice President of the United States from 1825 to 1832. He is remembered for strongly defending slavery and for advancing the concept of minority rights in politics, which he did in the context of defending white Southern interests from perceived Northern threats. He began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent of a strong national government and protective tariffs. By the late 1820s, his views reversed and he became a leading proponent of states‘ rights, limited government, nullification, and opposition to high tariffs—he saw Northern acceptance of these policies as the only way to keep the South in the Union. His beliefs and warnings heavily influenced the South’s secession from the Union in 1860–1861.

Calhoun began his political career in the House of Representatives. As a prominent leader of the war hawk faction, Calhoun strongly supported the War of 1812 to defend American honor against British infractions of American independence and neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars. He then served as Secretary of War under President James Monroe, and in this position reorganized and modernized the War Department. Calhoun was a candidate for the presidency in the 1824 election. After failing to gain support, he let his name be put forth as a candidate for vice president. The Electoral College elected Calhoun for vice president by an overwhelming majority. He served under John Quincy Adams and continued under Andrew Jackson, who defeated Adams in the election of 1828.

Calhoun had a difficult relationship with Jackson primarily due to the Nullification Crisis and the Petticoat affair. In contrast with his previous nationalism, Calhoun vigorously supported South Carolina’s right to nullify federal tariff legislation he believed unfairly favored the North, putting him into conflict with unionists such as Jackson. In 1832, with only a few months remaining in his second term, he resigned as vice president and entered the Senate. He sought the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1844, but lost to surprise nominee James K. Polk, who went on to become president. Calhoun served as Secretary of State under John Tyler from 1844 to 1845. As Secretary of State, he supported the annexation of Texas as a means to extend the slave power, and helped settle the Oregon boundary dispute with Britain. He then returned to the Senate, where he opposed the Mexican–American War, the Wilmot Proviso, and the Compromise of 1850 before his death in 1850. Calhoun often served as a virtual party-independent who variously aligned as needed with Democrats and Whigs.

Later in life, Calhoun became known as the „cast-iron man“ for his rigid defense of white Southern beliefs and practices. His concept of republicanism emphasized approval of slavery and minority rights, as particularly embodied by the Southern states—he owned „dozens of slaves in Fort Hill, South Carolina“. Calhoun also asserted that slavery, rather than being a „necessary evil“, was a „positive good“, benefiting both slaves and slave owners. To protect minority rights against majority rule, he called for a concurrent majority whereby the minority could sometimes block proposals that it felt infringed on their liberties. To this end, Calhoun supported states‘ rights and nullification, through which states could declare null and void federal laws that they viewed as unconstitutional. Calhoun was one of the „Great Triumvirate“ or the „Immortal Trio“ of Congressional leaders, along with his Congressional colleagues Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. In 1957, a Senate Committee headed by Senator John F. Kennedy selected Calhoun as one of the five greatest United States Senators of all time.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter American History (English), The Presidents | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 1

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 1 -John C. Calhoun

John C. Calhoun was the seventh Vice President of the United States from 1825 to 1832. He was a strong defendant of slavery and of Southern values versus Northern threats. His beliefs and warnings heavily influenced the South’s secession from the Union in 1860–1861. This is volume one out of six of his works, this one containing his brilliant writings ‘A Disquisition on Government’ and ‘A Discourse On The Constitution And Government Of The United States’.

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 1

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 1

Format: Paperback

The Works of John C. Calhoun Volume 1.

ISBN: 9783849676889.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

Biography of John C. Calhoun (from Wikipedia):

John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850) was an American statesman and political theorist from South Carolina, and the seventh Vice President of the United States from 1825 to 1832. He is remembered for strongly defending slavery and for advancing the concept of minority rights in politics, which he did in the context of defending white Southern interests from perceived Northern threats. He began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent of a strong national government and protective tariffs. By the late 1820s, his views reversed and he became a leading proponent of states‘ rights, limited government, nullification, and opposition to high tariffs—he saw Northern acceptance of these policies as the only way to keep the South in the Union. His beliefs and warnings heavily influenced the South’s secession from the Union in 1860–1861.

Calhoun began his political career in the House of Representatives. As a prominent leader of the war hawk faction, Calhoun strongly supported the War of 1812 to defend American honor against British infractions of American independence and neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars. He then served as Secretary of War under President James Monroe, and in this position reorganized and modernized the War Department. Calhoun was a candidate for the presidency in the 1824 election. After failing to gain support, he let his name be put forth as a candidate for vice president. The Electoral College elected Calhoun for vice president by an overwhelming majority. He served under John Quincy Adams and continued under Andrew Jackson, who defeated Adams in the election of 1828.

Calhoun had a difficult relationship with Jackson primarily due to the Nullification Crisis and the Petticoat affair. In contrast with his previous nationalism, Calhoun vigorously supported South Carolina’s right to nullify federal tariff legislation he believed unfairly favored the North, putting him into conflict with unionists such as Jackson. In 1832, with only a few months remaining in his second term, he resigned as vice president and entered the Senate. He sought the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1844, but lost to surprise nominee James K. Polk, who went on to become president. Calhoun served as Secretary of State under John Tyler from 1844 to 1845. As Secretary of State, he supported the annexation of Texas as a means to extend the slave power, and helped settle the Oregon boundary dispute with Britain. He then returned to the Senate, where he opposed the Mexican–American War, the Wilmot Proviso, and the Compromise of 1850 before his death in 1850. Calhoun often served as a virtual party-independent who variously aligned as needed with Democrats and Whigs.

Later in life, Calhoun became known as the „cast-iron man“ for his rigid defense of white Southern beliefs and practices. His concept of republicanism emphasized approval of slavery and minority rights, as particularly embodied by the Southern states—he owned „dozens of slaves in Fort Hill, South Carolina“. Calhoun also asserted that slavery, rather than being a „necessary evil“, was a „positive good“, benefiting both slaves and slave owners. To protect minority rights against majority rule, he called for a concurrent majority whereby the minority could sometimes block proposals that it felt infringed on their liberties. To this end, Calhoun supported states‘ rights and nullification, through which states could declare null and void federal laws that they viewed as unconstitutional. Calhoun was one of the „Great Triumvirate“ or the „Immortal Trio“ of Congressional leaders, along with his Congressional colleagues Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. In 1957, a Senate Committee headed by Senator John F. Kennedy selected Calhoun as one of the five greatest United States Senators of all time.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter American History (English), The Presidents | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who Laughs – Victor Hugo

“The Man Who Laughs” (“L’Homme qui Rit”) was called by its author “A Romance of English History,” and was written during the period Hugo spent in exile in Guernsey. Like “The Toilers of the Sea,” its immediate predecessor, the main theme of the story is human heroism, confronted with the superhuman tyranny of blind chance. As a passionate cry on behalf of the tortured and deformed, and the despised and oppressed of the world, “The Man Who Laughs” is irresistible. Of it Hugo himself says in the preface: “The true title of this book should be “Aristocracy’”—inasmuch as it was intended as an arraignment of the nobility for their vices, crimes, and selfishness. “The Man Who Laughs” was first published in 1869.

The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who Laughs

Format: Paperback

The Man Who Laughs.

ISBN: 9783849676872.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

The Writings of Victor Hugo (from Wikipedia):

Hugo published his first novel the year following his marriage (Han d’Islande, 1823), and his second three years later (Bug-Jargal, 1826). Between 1829 and 1840, he published five more volumes of poetry (Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’automne, 1831; Les Chants du crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; and Les Rayons et les Ombres, 1840), cementing his reputation as one of the greatest elegiac and lyric poets of his time.

Like many young writers of his generation, Hugo was profoundly influenced by François-René de Chateaubriand, the famous figure in the literary movement of Romanticism and France’s pre-eminent literary figure during the early 19th century. In his youth, Hugo resolved to be „Chateaubriand or nothing“, and his life would come to parallel that of his predecessor in many ways. Like Chateaubriand, Hugo furthered the cause of Romanticism, became involved in politics (though mostly as a champion of Republicanism), and was forced into exile due to his political stances.

The precocious passion and eloquence of Hugo’s early work brought success and fame at an early age. His first collection of poetry (Odes et poésies diverses) was published in 1822 when he was only 20 years old and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Though the poems were admired for their spontaneous fervour and fluency, the collection that followed four years later in 1826 (Odes et Ballades) revealed Hugo to be a great poet, a natural master of lyric and creative song.

Victor Hugo’s first mature work of fiction was first published in February 1829 by Charles Gosselin without the author’s name and reflected the acute social conscience that would infuse his later work. Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) would have a profound influence on later writers such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Claude Gueux, a documentary short story about a real-life murderer who had been executed in France. On 15 March 1832, Hugo completed this story with a long preface and his signature which was later considered by Hugo himself to be a precursor to his great work on social injustice, Les Misérables.

Hugo became the figurehead of the romantic literary movement with the plays Cromwell (1827) and Hernani (1830).

Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) was published in 1831 and quickly translated into other languages across Europe. One of the effects of the novel was to shame the City of Paris into restoring the much-neglected Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was attracting thousands of tourists who had read the popular novel. The book also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which thereafter began to be actively preserved.

Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery and injustice as early as the 1830s, but a full 17 years were needed for Les Misérables to be realised and finally published in 1862. Hugo had used the departure of prisoners for the Bagne of Toulon in one of his early stories, „Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné“ He went to Toulon to visit the Bagne in 1839 and took extensive notes, though he did not start writing the book until 1845. On one of the pages of his notes about the prison, he wrote in large block letters a possible name for his hero: “ JEAN TRÉJEAN“. When the book was finally written, Tréjean became Jean Valjean.

Hugo was acutely aware of the quality of the novel, as evidenced in a letter he wrote to his publisher, Albert Lacroix, on 23 March 1862, „My conviction is that this book is going to be one of the peaks , if not the crowning point of my work.“ [7] So publication of the Miserables went to the highest bidder. The Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckhoven undertook a marketing campaign unusual for the time, issuing press releases about the work a full six months before the launch. It also initially published only the first part of the novel („Fantine“), which was launched simultaneously in major cities. Instalments of the book sold out within hours and had enormous impact on French society.

The critical establishment was generally hostile to the novel; Taine found it insincere, Barbey d’Aurevilly complained of its vulgarity, Gustave Flaubert found within it „neither truth nor greatness“, the Goncourt brothers lambasted its artificiality, and Baudelaire – despite giving favourable reviews in newspapers – castigated it in private as „repulsive and inept“. Les Misérables proved popular enough with the masses that the issues it highlighted were soon on the agenda of the National Assembly of France. Today, the novel remains his most enduringly popular work. It is popular worldwide and has been adapted for cinema, television, and stage shows.

An apocryphal tale about the shortest correspondence in history is said to have been between Hugo and his publisher Hurst and Blackett in 1862. Hugo was on vacation when Les Misérables was published. He queried the reaction to the work by sending a single-character telegram to his publisher, asking ?. The publisher replied with a single ! to indicate its success.

Hugo turned away from social/political issues in his next novel, Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), published in 1866. The book was well received, perhaps due to the previous success of Les Misérables. Dedicated to the channel island of Guernsey, where he spent 15 years of exile, Hugo tells of a man who attempts to win the approval of his beloved’s father by rescuing his ship, intentionally marooned by its captain who hopes to escape with a treasure of money it is transporting, through an exhausting battle of human engineering against the force of the sea and a battle against an almost mythical beast of the sea, a giant squid. Superficially an adventure, one of Hugo’s biographers calls it a „metaphor for the 19th century–technical progress, creative genius and hard work overcoming the immanent evil of the material world.“

The word used in Guernsey to refer to squid (pieuvre, also sometimes applied to octopus) was to enter the French language as a result of its use in the book. Hugo returned to political and social issues in his next novel, L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), which was published in 1869 and painted a critical picture of the aristocracy. The novel was not as successful as his previous efforts, and Hugo himself began to comment on the growing distance between himself and literary contemporaries such as Flaubert and Émile Zola, whose realist and naturalist novels were now exceeding the popularity of his own work.

His last novel, Quatre-vingt-treize (Ninety-Three), published in 1874, dealt with a subject that Hugo had previously avoided: the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Though Hugo’s popularity was on the decline at the time of its publication, many now consider Ninety-Three to be a work on par with Hugo’s better-known novels.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Classics of Fiction (English), Hugo, Victor | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Les Misérables Volume 2

Les Misérables Volume 2 – Victor Hugo

Les Misérables is widely regarded as the greatest epic and dramatic work of fiction ever created or conceived: the epic of a soul transfigured and redeemed, purified by heroism and glorified through suffering; the tragedy and the comedy of life at its darkest and its brightest, of humanity at its best and at its worst. The novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. This is part one of two, containing the first two volumes (“Fantine”, “Cosette”) and the first seven books of volume three (”Marius”).

Les Misérables Volume 2

Les Misérables Volume 2

Format: Paperback

Les Misérables Volume 2.

ISBN: 9783849676865.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

The Writings of Victor Hugo (from Wikipedia):

Hugo published his first novel the year following his marriage (Han d’Islande, 1823), and his second three years later (Bug-Jargal, 1826). Between 1829 and 1840, he published five more volumes of poetry (Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’automne, 1831; Les Chants du crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; and Les Rayons et les Ombres, 1840), cementing his reputation as one of the greatest elegiac and lyric poets of his time.

Like many young writers of his generation, Hugo was profoundly influenced by François-René de Chateaubriand, the famous figure in the literary movement of Romanticism and France’s pre-eminent literary figure during the early 19th century. In his youth, Hugo resolved to be „Chateaubriand or nothing“, and his life would come to parallel that of his predecessor in many ways. Like Chateaubriand, Hugo furthered the cause of Romanticism, became involved in politics (though mostly as a champion of Republicanism), and was forced into exile due to his political stances.

The precocious passion and eloquence of Hugo’s early work brought success and fame at an early age. His first collection of poetry (Odes et poésies diverses) was published in 1822 when he was only 20 years old and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Though the poems were admired for their spontaneous fervour and fluency, the collection that followed four years later in 1826 (Odes et Ballades) revealed Hugo to be a great poet, a natural master of lyric and creative song.

Victor Hugo’s first mature work of fiction was first published in February 1829 by Charles Gosselin without the author’s name and reflected the acute social conscience that would infuse his later work. Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) would have a profound influence on later writers such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Claude Gueux, a documentary short story about a real-life murderer who had been executed in France. On 15 March 1832, Hugo completed this story with a long preface and his signature which was later considered by Hugo himself to be a precursor to his great work on social injustice, Les Misérables.

Hugo became the figurehead of the romantic literary movement with the plays Cromwell (1827) and Hernani (1830).

Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) was published in 1831 and quickly translated into other languages across Europe. One of the effects of the novel was to shame the City of Paris into restoring the much-neglected Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was attracting thousands of tourists who had read the popular novel. The book also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which thereafter began to be actively preserved.

Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery and injustice as early as the 1830s, but a full 17 years were needed for Les Misérables to be realised and finally published in 1862. Hugo had used the departure of prisoners for the Bagne of Toulon in one of his early stories, „Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné“ He went to Toulon to visit the Bagne in 1839 and took extensive notes, though he did not start writing the book until 1845. On one of the pages of his notes about the prison, he wrote in large block letters a possible name for his hero: “ JEAN TRÉJEAN“. When the book was finally written, Tréjean became Jean Valjean.

Hugo was acutely aware of the quality of the novel, as evidenced in a letter he wrote to his publisher, Albert Lacroix, on 23 March 1862, „My conviction is that this book is going to be one of the peaks , if not the crowning point of my work.“ [7] So publication of the Miserables went to the highest bidder. The Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckhoven undertook a marketing campaign unusual for the time, issuing press releases about the work a full six months before the launch. It also initially published only the first part of the novel („Fantine“), which was launched simultaneously in major cities. Instalments of the book sold out within hours and had enormous impact on French society.

The critical establishment was generally hostile to the novel; Taine found it insincere, Barbey d’Aurevilly complained of its vulgarity, Gustave Flaubert found within it „neither truth nor greatness“, the Goncourt brothers lambasted its artificiality, and Baudelaire – despite giving favourable reviews in newspapers – castigated it in private as „repulsive and inept“. Les Misérables proved popular enough with the masses that the issues it highlighted were soon on the agenda of the National Assembly of France. Today, the novel remains his most enduringly popular work. It is popular worldwide and has been adapted for cinema, television, and stage shows.

An apocryphal tale about the shortest correspondence in history is said to have been between Hugo and his publisher Hurst and Blackett in 1862. Hugo was on vacation when Les Misérables was published. He queried the reaction to the work by sending a single-character telegram to his publisher, asking ?. The publisher replied with a single ! to indicate its success.

Hugo turned away from social/political issues in his next novel, Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), published in 1866. The book was well received, perhaps due to the previous success of Les Misérables. Dedicated to the channel island of Guernsey, where he spent 15 years of exile, Hugo tells of a man who attempts to win the approval of his beloved’s father by rescuing his ship, intentionally marooned by its captain who hopes to escape with a treasure of money it is transporting, through an exhausting battle of human engineering against the force of the sea and a battle against an almost mythical beast of the sea, a giant squid. Superficially an adventure, one of Hugo’s biographers calls it a „metaphor for the 19th century–technical progress, creative genius and hard work overcoming the immanent evil of the material world.“

The word used in Guernsey to refer to squid (pieuvre, also sometimes applied to octopus) was to enter the French language as a result of its use in the book. Hugo returned to political and social issues in his next novel, L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), which was published in 1869 and painted a critical picture of the aristocracy. The novel was not as successful as his previous efforts, and Hugo himself began to comment on the growing distance between himself and literary contemporaries such as Flaubert and Émile Zola, whose realist and naturalist novels were now exceeding the popularity of his own work.

His last novel, Quatre-vingt-treize (Ninety-Three), published in 1874, dealt with a subject that Hugo had previously avoided: the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Though Hugo’s popularity was on the decline at the time of its publication, many now consider Ninety-Three to be a work on par with Hugo’s better-known novels.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Classics of Fiction (English), Hugo, Victor | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Les Misérables Volume 1

Les Misérables Volume 1 – Victor Hugo

Les Misérables is widely regarded as the greatest epic and dramatic work of fiction ever created or conceived: the epic of a soul transfigured and redeemed, purified by heroism and glorified through suffering; the tragedy and the comedy of life at its darkest and its brightest, of humanity at its best and at its worst. The novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. This is part one of two, containing the first two volumes (“Fantine”, “Cosette”) and the first seven books of volume three (”Marius”).

Les Misérables Volume 1

Les Misérables Volume 1

Format: Paperback

Les Misérables Volume 1.

ISBN: 9783849676858.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

The Writings of Victor Hugo (from Wikipedia):

Hugo published his first novel the year following his marriage (Han d’Islande, 1823), and his second three years later (Bug-Jargal, 1826). Between 1829 and 1840, he published five more volumes of poetry (Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’automne, 1831; Les Chants du crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; and Les Rayons et les Ombres, 1840), cementing his reputation as one of the greatest elegiac and lyric poets of his time.

Like many young writers of his generation, Hugo was profoundly influenced by François-René de Chateaubriand, the famous figure in the literary movement of Romanticism and France’s pre-eminent literary figure during the early 19th century. In his youth, Hugo resolved to be „Chateaubriand or nothing“, and his life would come to parallel that of his predecessor in many ways. Like Chateaubriand, Hugo furthered the cause of Romanticism, became involved in politics (though mostly as a champion of Republicanism), and was forced into exile due to his political stances.

The precocious passion and eloquence of Hugo’s early work brought success and fame at an early age. His first collection of poetry (Odes et poésies diverses) was published in 1822 when he was only 20 years old and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Though the poems were admired for their spontaneous fervour and fluency, the collection that followed four years later in 1826 (Odes et Ballades) revealed Hugo to be a great poet, a natural master of lyric and creative song.

Victor Hugo’s first mature work of fiction was first published in February 1829 by Charles Gosselin without the author’s name and reflected the acute social conscience that would infuse his later work. Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) would have a profound influence on later writers such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Claude Gueux, a documentary short story about a real-life murderer who had been executed in France. On 15 March 1832, Hugo completed this story with a long preface and his signature which was later considered by Hugo himself to be a precursor to his great work on social injustice, Les Misérables.

Hugo became the figurehead of the romantic literary movement with the plays Cromwell (1827) and Hernani (1830).

Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) was published in 1831 and quickly translated into other languages across Europe. One of the effects of the novel was to shame the City of Paris into restoring the much-neglected Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was attracting thousands of tourists who had read the popular novel. The book also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which thereafter began to be actively preserved.

Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery and injustice as early as the 1830s, but a full 17 years were needed for Les Misérables to be realised and finally published in 1862. Hugo had used the departure of prisoners for the Bagne of Toulon in one of his early stories, „Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné“ He went to Toulon to visit the Bagne in 1839 and took extensive notes, though he did not start writing the book until 1845. On one of the pages of his notes about the prison, he wrote in large block letters a possible name for his hero: “ JEAN TRÉJEAN“. When the book was finally written, Tréjean became Jean Valjean.

Hugo was acutely aware of the quality of the novel, as evidenced in a letter he wrote to his publisher, Albert Lacroix, on 23 March 1862, „My conviction is that this book is going to be one of the peaks , if not the crowning point of my work.“ [7] So publication of the Miserables went to the highest bidder. The Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckhoven undertook a marketing campaign unusual for the time, issuing press releases about the work a full six months before the launch. It also initially published only the first part of the novel („Fantine“), which was launched simultaneously in major cities. Instalments of the book sold out within hours and had enormous impact on French society.

The critical establishment was generally hostile to the novel; Taine found it insincere, Barbey d’Aurevilly complained of its vulgarity, Gustave Flaubert found within it „neither truth nor greatness“, the Goncourt brothers lambasted its artificiality, and Baudelaire – despite giving favourable reviews in newspapers – castigated it in private as „repulsive and inept“. Les Misérables proved popular enough with the masses that the issues it highlighted were soon on the agenda of the National Assembly of France. Today, the novel remains his most enduringly popular work. It is popular worldwide and has been adapted for cinema, television, and stage shows.

An apocryphal tale about the shortest correspondence in history is said to have been between Hugo and his publisher Hurst and Blackett in 1862. Hugo was on vacation when Les Misérables was published. He queried the reaction to the work by sending a single-character telegram to his publisher, asking ?. The publisher replied with a single ! to indicate its success.

Hugo turned away from social/political issues in his next novel, Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), published in 1866. The book was well received, perhaps due to the previous success of Les Misérables. Dedicated to the channel island of Guernsey, where he spent 15 years of exile, Hugo tells of a man who attempts to win the approval of his beloved’s father by rescuing his ship, intentionally marooned by its captain who hopes to escape with a treasure of money it is transporting, through an exhausting battle of human engineering against the force of the sea and a battle against an almost mythical beast of the sea, a giant squid. Superficially an adventure, one of Hugo’s biographers calls it a „metaphor for the 19th century–technical progress, creative genius and hard work overcoming the immanent evil of the material world.“

The word used in Guernsey to refer to squid (pieuvre, also sometimes applied to octopus) was to enter the French language as a result of its use in the book. Hugo returned to political and social issues in his next novel, L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), which was published in 1869 and painted a critical picture of the aristocracy. The novel was not as successful as his previous efforts, and Hugo himself began to comment on the growing distance between himself and literary contemporaries such as Flaubert and Émile Zola, whose realist and naturalist novels were now exceeding the popularity of his own work.

His last novel, Quatre-vingt-treize (Ninety-Three), published in 1874, dealt with a subject that Hugo had previously avoided: the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Though Hugo’s popularity was on the decline at the time of its publication, many now consider Ninety-Three to be a work on par with Hugo’s better-known novels.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Classics of Fiction (English), Hugo, Victor | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar