Les Miserables (in 5 volumes)
New York: Carleton, Publisher, 1862.
New York: Carleton, Publisher, 1862. First American edition. An attractive set of Hugo's masterpiece and the first English language translation. All volumes Very Good + to Near Fine in original purple-brown cloth with the spines uniformly faded on four of the five volumes. Spines carefully reinforced at the crown to prevent splitting and tearing, but no new cloth added. Internal contents tight and relatively clean with mild sporadic foxing. A set that is found commonly enough when worn or heavily restored, but quite unusual in this state of preservation.
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 + to Near Fine (Item #910)