Les Misérables is a French novel first published in 1862. The French version is about 1,900 pages long and it is one of the longest novels ever written. The novel has many subplots, but the main story follows ex-convict Jean Valjean who strives to do good, but struggles to escape his past. Les Misérables is considered to be one of the most important novels of the 19th century. The novel investigates many themes such as; politics, religion, justice, law, love and many more. Although initial critical reaction was mostly negative, it was a great commercial success throughout the world. It has had many adaptations over the years including; musicals, plays, movies and television specials. A recent film adaptation, which was adapted from the musical, has proved to be a major success and shows that the story is still popular with modern audiences. Let’s find out who wrote this important novel and some of the most successful adaptations.
Who wrote Les Misérables?
Les Misérables was written by the famous French poet, playwright, and author, Victor Hugo. The inspiration for his main character, came from the life of Eugene Vidocq. He had been an ex-convict and eventually become a very successful businessman and philanthropist. Hugo began planning the novel in the 1830’s after being inspired by the French Revolutions of the time. Even though he started his work in the 1840’s his work was not finished and published until 1862. The book was the subject of a massive marketing campaign and the book sold out within hours. It went on to have a massive influence on French society.
The famous musical adaptation began in 1980 with the French language lyrics written by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel and the libretto (the spoken portion of a musical) written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. The lyrics to the English version of the musical were written by Herbert Kretzmer and James Fenton and the libretto was written by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. The musical went on to become an international sensation and multi award winnner.
The 2012 film was based on the musical and was scripted by William Nicholson, Boublil, Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer.