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Les Miserables

By Rosie Moore
I wrote a column two weeks ago titled “I Dreamed a Dream” and I almost gave this article the same name, simply because the title came from that famous movie, “Les Miserables.” It was brought to my attention because quite a few of the ice skaters at the Olympics skated to that beautiful tune from that haunting movie, from the book written by Victor Hugo. He was a literary and political celebrity who was both intellectually respectable and immensely popular at the same time.
Victor Hugo was born February 26, 1802 in France. He realized at the early age of thirteen he had a literary calling. He was one of the leading figures of the French Romantic movement. He was a believer in European integration and as an illustration of this, on July 14, 1871 he planted an oak (which still flourishes today) predicting that when the tree was mature, the “United States of Europe,” uniting all European nations would become a reality.
One of his most famous works was “Les Miserables”. Now the world’s longest running musical, seen by sixty-five million people in forty-two countries. The story of a nation in the grip of a revolution, where Jean Valjean is on the run for breaking his parole, hunted down by a policeman named Javert. He spent nineteen years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister’s child. He must leave his past behind and keep his vow to raise the young orphan, Cosette.
Victor married in 1821 and published his first book of poetry. In 1831 he published another famous work, “the Hunchback of Notre Dame”. This novel presents a harsh criticism of the society that degrades and shuns the hunchback, Quasimodo. Much of his work that was published conveys biting sarcasm and fierce social criticism. His later life was sad. His daughter and her husband drowned and he lost two sons between 1871 and 1873. Buried June 1, 1885, he was a national hero. It is estimated that two million people followed his funeral possession.
Thus, whenever I hear the haunting melancholy songs that are presented in the musicals that are performed and made from his novels, I have to think, do trials and tribulations bring out the best in an artist’s makeup? It would seem so, according to Mr. Hugo.
Thought for the day: Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solutions. Norman Vincent Peale
Send comments to rosemerrie@att.net or call (865)748-4717. Thank you.

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