Dear Victor Hugo - Nobody told me,
L E S M I S E R A B L E S.
It began with Susan Boyle singing "I Dreamed a Dream." I am quite embarrassed to say I had no idea from where it had come. I knew neither the song, nor the musical, nor the book. Completely ignorant. But the song moved me. To tears. Over and over. And over again.
So I purchased the movie version of the musical. And another world was opened to me. (Please Ignore the bawdiness Hollywood must interject into everything whether sacred or secular.) A story of redemption so powerful and so moving I watched it on repeat for weeks - playing it in the background while I painted. How could I not have known such a beautiful thing existed? I had taken a whole course on the French Revolution and written papers about that period of history. How could my education have been so incomplete? I really wondered this. I still don't understand it.
But then, I decided to listen to the entire Unabridged Version of the book, only listening when I could really pay attention - It is really long. I listened to The. Whole. Thing. It took from January to July. And I had to stop frequently just to write down the beautiful lines. Truly powerful. And educational. Historical. Want to know the history of Waterloo - read Les Miserables. Want to know the history of the sewers in Paris? - Read Les Misérables. Want to know the history of slang - read Les Misérables. Want to know the history of Paris' architecture? Read Les Miserable. Want to know a history of love? Redemption? Forgiveness? Self- sacrifice? or take a listen: The reading by Lee Homewood on Audible should win an award. Seriously.
And the most beautiful thing? Throughout this work Victor Hugo is showcasing the amazing Providence of God.
And finally I got to experience a live performance in Charleston at the Performing Arts Center and it was thrilling. Make every effort to enjoy this masterpiece on some level. You will not regret it.
" The book the reader has now before his eyes - from one end to
the other, in its whole and in its details, whatever the omissions, the exceptions, or the faults - is the march
from evil to good,
from injustsice to justice,
from the false to the true,
from night to day,
from appetite to conscience,
from rottenness to life,
from brutality to duty,
from Hell to Heaven,
from nothingness to God.
Starting point: matter; goal: the soul.
Hydra at the beginning, Angel at the end."
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
And to share one more quote from the book - and why I love, love, love Hugo's spirit throughout this epic story -
"Ecclesiastes names thee Almighty,
the Macacabees name the Creator,
the Epistle to the Ephesians names the Immensity,
the Psalms names thee Wisdom and Truth,
John names thee Light,
the Book of Kings names the Lord,Esxodus names thee Providence,
Creation names thee God,
man names thee Father;
But Solomon names thee Compassion, which is the mpst beautiful of all thy names."
My dear Mr. Hugo, I didn't know. But I will visit you the next time I am in Paris and we will walk together.
P.S. Next up, John Milton!