Saturday, January 21, 2017

MORE Miserable - NOVA this Week

Observations from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).

I began reading Les Misérables; I’m only about 100 pages in, of 1300, but it’s very good so far.

But I must say that title is a terrible misnomer. Why Victor Hugo named it Less Miserable – silly French spelling aside – I’ll never know. I can’t imagine anything MORE miserable. It’s the story of poor Jean Valjean and I definitely think More Miserable would have been a better title.

Nevertheless, I’m using NOVA this week to display my Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law:



A two-volume, 1938 Heritage Press, Heritage Club edition of Les Misérables, illustrated by Lynd Ward and translated by Lascelles Wraxall. It is in nearly new condition and has the original slip case. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I have a hardcover edition of every book I’ve read on my quest, but this is now one of my most treasured.


(stealing the fateful loaf of bread)




(People don’t always get my sense of humor, and I’m sure it’s less obvious in print – so, I know the title is not Less Miserable.)

.

9 comments:

  1. What a lovely gift!

    You probably know this already, being the sort of person who would, but just in case you didn't... Les Mis was really popular at the time of the American Civil War, and the Army of Northern Virginia sometimes referred to themselves as Lee's Miserables. Since you did your own little pun on the title, I thought you might enjoy that :-)

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  2. Yes, what a wonderful gift! I started reading Les Miserables a very long time ago but never finished it. I am curious to hear what you think about it. One day I will start over and actually finish it.

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    1. Well of course, it will be a while before I'm finished. But so far I am enjoying it. Cheers.

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  3. I've never read Les MIs, but love the musical that is based on it. Bit of trivia--it was popular during the American Civil War, and the Southerners affectionately referred to it as Lee's Miserables, at least that's what I remember reading somewhere. Actually, I think that is the book that Melanie reads aloud to Scarlett, et al, in the book version of Gone With the Wind, as opposed to David Copperfield in the movie version.

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    1. Yeah, I like the musical, and a few other film versions as well. I just heard that about Lee's Miserables.

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  4. Ah, what a great book indeed! And thanks for your last note. You got me worried a minute, because indeed some people pronounce the French definite articles les "less". Though we NEVER pronounce a plural sign in French. 'Les' is pronounced like "lé".
    And alas, it will get from more miserable to more miserable!!

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    1. Ah...I wondered if you would catch this. I feel I should apologize now for the "silly French pronunciation" comment. I was just overacting the ethnocentric American. I'm of French descent and Je parle en peu Francais....PEU. I do admire your beautiful and elegant language.

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