Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm reading a lot of prose at the moment, it's nice to put poetry on the back burner for a bit.
I had picked up both volumes of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables a good number of years ago. I probably got them for a pound each as they are Wordsworth Classics and the print is unbelievably small.
At the time I couldn't get into them despite adoring the musical (I saw it on my 21st birthday) and I had loved the music long before I'd seen the musical. I've also been to Hugo's well preserved house when I was in Paris seven years back. His endless strange and nightmarish paintings always stuck in my mind. A couple of years ago I read his Hunchback of Notre Dame, what a great story. Now I'm halfway through the first volume of Les Miserables and loving it. Every character is suberbly crafted and reading the book is like having a vision of old France. There is a detailed description of the Battle of Waterloo and I can't wait to get to scenes of the Paris revolution.
Apparently Les Miserables part inspired Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, my favorite book of all time. It really is a gripping story balancing personal tragedy and love with wider world-significant events; covering major themes of justice, punishment, love, rebellion, God, poverty, childhood - the list goes on. It really is a fantastic story and here and now is the right time for me to be reading it.

13 comments:

An Honest Man said...

There is a tide in the affairs of men (or in this case women)....

Somehow one just knows when it is the correct time to read something - and you'll get poetic inspiration from it as well!

A win-win situation.

Sorlil said...

these days I always read a book with a red pen in my hand, ready to underline anything that could inspire a poem!

swiss said...

you've persuaded me. am just after getting a copy this afternoon. will keep you posted

Dave King said...

I went througha "Russian" period in my youth. Read them all - I think - and somehow got to Victor Hugo by that route. At that time I thought "Crime and Punishment" the best of the best. Now, that tends to be the last (good) book I've read. Recently I finished "War and Peace" and so at the moment it is my favourite, in fact I'm already drooling at the prospect of reading it again. Excellent idea of Sorlil's. I might take a leaf out of her book - so o speak. I tend to choose prose as bedtime reading and poetry for longer spells. I know! - my sensible friends say it should be the other way around.

Rachel Fox said...

'C & P' is indeed one of the best books ever written. I did a whole paper on Dostoevsky as a student...would have stalked him if he'd still been alive (quite glad he wasn't looking back...). I even put him in a short story once...but that's another story in every sense!

I loved 'Hunchback' too. Big powerful original stories all. Haven't read 'Les miserables' (or seen the musical...) but will get to it one day.
x

x

Dave King said...

I was a tad rash with my earlier comment... I have this thing about not writing in books, even paperbacks. I thought reading your comment, Sorlil, that I could overcome it in such a good cause, but no, I don't think I could. For me books should be kept pristine... anyone know a cure? And on a related topic, how do you throw away abook? Evena paperback novel that you know you will never again read? Is that possible?

Sorlil said...

swiss - great, hope you enjoy it!
rachel - the musical is a must, as for stalking Dostoyevsky...er, interesting!
dave - I do love the Russians, haven't ventured into War and Peace yet though! most of my books get the red pen or highlighter treatment, I have no qualms writing in / underlining my bible and I think that's the cure, if you can do it in the bible you can do it anywhere!

Dave King said...

You may or may not know that
Jim has presented me with the Kick-Ass Blogger Award. I now am asked to pass on the honour, so to speak, andA really professional post, that. Ve would like to make you one of the recipients - if you have no objections, that is.

Sorlil said...

aww dave thanks, how nice to be thought of! if the thought of defiling your books is too much you could always read with a notepad and take notes!

Roxana said...

you've made me nostalgic... and also, I didn't think anybody would read Les miserables nowadays :-) at least not an adult, and without being forced to :-)

Sorlil said...

Don't tell me you were forced to read it in school??

Roxana said...

I read it when I was very young and enjoyed it tremendously :-) that is why I talked about nostalgia. but it was also part of the curricula for french literature at the university, of course. I don't know about Great Britain, but here you have to go chronologically through every literary age with their representatives. so one had to read it, or at least 'should' have read it :-) but I didn't re-read it then, so no, my reading was a purely hedonistic one :-)

stitchxx said...

I own the Wordsworth edition as well! I bought it a few months ago on sale and didn't think to check the print before purchasing, as I was so enamoured by the price ($5 AUD for both books!). I'm still contemplating whether I should just strain my eyes and read it, or purchase another copy =]