New York: Carleton, Publisher, 1862. First American edition. An attractive set of Hugo's masterpiece. All volumes Very Good + to Near Fine in original green cloth. Spines with slight fraying and loss (worst on Cosette with a small repaired chip), otherwise untouched. Internal contents generally in excellent condition with cracking to the rear hinge of the first two books (still holding well). Some volumes with early owner's written name or bookplate.
Translated by Charles Wilbour immediately upon the release of the French edition, the first book was released in June of 1862 with monthly parts coming out through October. The first British edition, by contrast was released in three volumes all in October of 1862 (translated by Lascelles Wraxall).
Widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, although contemporary reviews were mixed. Hugo's massive work follows the struggles of ex-convict, Jean Valjean, as he seeks spiritual redemption, despite the past ever following upon his heels. It is a social commentary not just on modern France, but upon all communities where there is crime, hunger, poverty and injustice. Moreover, Hugo inserts his own commentaries throughout the work, whether they relate to the current action or not. Successfully adapted to the screen and the stage, most recently by Tom Hooper in 2012 for Universal Pictures. A work that speaks across time and place and continues to touch and inspire its readers. Very Good + (Item #1878)