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The Temptation of the Impossible:
Victor Hugo and Les Misérables
Mario Vargas Llosa
Translated by John King

Book Description | Reviews
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF format]

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: Victor Hugo, the Ocean 1

Chapter I. The Divine Stenographer 11

Chapter II. The Dark Vein of Destiny 34
The Law of Chance or the Order of Coincidence 34
The Irresistible Traps 41
The Ambush in the Gorbeau Tenement 43
The Barricade at la Chanvrerie 45
The Paris Sewers 47
Elusive Freedom 52

Chapter III. Touchy Monsters 56
A Character without Qualities 57
The Saint 61
The Just Man 65
A Puritan World 70
The Fanatic 75
An Angel with a Dirty Face 80
Collective Characters 84

Chapter IV. The Great Theater of the World 87
Adjectives to Describe the Show 89
Performance, Beauty, and Life 92
Light and Shadow 95
Sets 96
The Victor at Waterloo 97
Human Putrefaction 98
Life as Fiction 102

Chapter V. Rich, Poor, Leisured, Idle, and Marginal 105
Reformist Idealism 110
The Just 114
A Society Rebuilt 118
The Victims: Confinement and Women 120
A Source of Social Injustice: The Law 122
A Stupid and Cruel Monster 124

Chapter VI. Civilized Barbarians 131
Long Live Death! 132
Slow-Motion Progress 134
Victor Hugo and the Insurrection of 1832 138

Chapter VII. From Heaven Above 146
The Enumeration of the Infinite 148
Attempting the Impossible 154
The Total Novel or the Deicidal Impulse 156

Chapter VIII. The Temptation of the Impossible 165
Notes 179
Index 185

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File created: 11/11/2014

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