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Author Grossman, Kathryn M

Title The later novels of Victor Hugo : variations on the politics and poetics of transcendence / Kathryn M. Grossman

Publisher Oxford : Oxford University Press 2012


 McDonald 2nd Floor  PQ2301 .G763 2012    AVAILABLE
Call # PQ2301 .G763 2012
Descript xii, 285 p. ; 23 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [265]-275) and index
This study places the last three novels of Victor Hugo's maturity: "Les Travailleurs de la mer" (1866), "L'Homme qui rit" (1869), and "Quatrevingt-Treize" (1874) - within the context of his artistic development after the success of Les Misérables (1862). By situating these historical narratives in relation to each other, to all of Hugo's previous fiction, and to a number of poetic and critical works published in exile and in the initial years of the Third Republic, it illuminates the final structural and thematic shifts from a poetics of harmony to one of transcendence. As in "Les Misérables", the disharmony associated with social tumult, apocalyptic vision, and oxymoronic tensions provides an essential component of the later Hugo's Romantic sublime. INstead of merely capitalizing on the runaway success of Les Misérables by recycling its prominent features, however, each novel makes an original contribution to the political adn aesthetic trajectory inscribed by the entire oeuvre. Each testifies as well to the wizardry of Hugo's own 'special effects' that contribute to his storytelling genius. Such effects, especially the dizzying spatial optics and manipulation of temporal dimensions, function not as mere playful gimmicks or novelistic flourishes but as strategies for figuring and communicating the ideal, both political and artistic. The unique interplay of poetic and historical discourse in each text reconfigures our disordered experiences of the world into something far more coherent: a construction of meaning that strives to change perceptions and to promote social action
Contents From Han d'island to Les Misérables and beyond -- Monsters, marvels, and transport in Les travailleurs de la mer -- Dystopia and poetic vision in L'homme qui rit -- Romanticism and utopia : Quatrevingt-treize and endless revolution
Subject Hugo, Victor, 1802-1885 -- Criticism and interpretation