The June Rebellion or the Paris Uprising of 1832 (French: Insurrection républicaine à Paris en juin 1832), was an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian Republicans on 5 and 6 June 1832.
The rebellion originated in an attempt by the Republicans to reverse the establishment in 1830 of the July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe, shortly after the death of the King’s powerful supporter President of the CouncilCasimir Pierre Périer on 16 May 1832. On 1 June 1832 Jean Maximilien Lamarque, a popular former commander who later became a member of the French parliament and was critical of the monarchy, died of cholera. Riots following his death sparked the rebellion, which was the last outbreak of violence linked with the July Revolution of 1830.
Author Victor Hugo described the rebellion in his novel Les Misérables, and it figures largely in the stage musical and films based on the book.
In the 1830 July Revolution, the elected Chamber of Deputies had established a constitutional monarchy and replaced Charles X of the House of Bourbon with his more liberal cousin Louis-Philippe. This angered Republicans who saw one king replaced by another. By 1832 there were “simmering discontents, especially strong among Republicans, who felt that they had spilled their blood on the 1830 barricades, only to have their revolution ‘stolen’ by a coterie of opportunists who managed to get Louis-Philippe crowned king”.Bonapartists for their part lamented the loss of Napoleon’s empire, and the Legitimists supported the deposed Bourbon dynasty and sought to place the man they regarded as a true king, Charles’s designated successor Henri, Count of Chambord, in power.
Causes and catalysts
Leading up to the rebellion, there were significant economic problems, particularly acute in the period from 1827 to 1832—harvest failures, food shortages, and increases in the cost of living—creating discontent throughout the classes. In the spring of 1832, Paris suffered a widespread outbreak of cholera, which ended with a death toll of 18,402 in the city and 100,000 across France. The poor neighborhoods of Paris were devastated by the disease, arousing suspicion of the government poisoning wells.
The epidemic soon claimed two well-known victims. Prime Minister Casimir Perier fell sick and died on 16 May, and the hero of the Napoleonic wars and reformer Jean Maximilien Lamarque died on 1 June. The conservative Perier was given a grand state funeral. The funeral of the popular Lamarque—described by Hugo as “loved by the people because he accepted the chances the future offered, loved by the mob because he served the emperor well”—was an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the opposition.
The monarchy of Louis Philippe, which had become the government of the middle class, was now attacked from two opposite sides at once.
Before these two deaths, there had been two significant rebellions. In France’s second city, Lyon, a workers’ uprising known as the Canut revolt, caused by economic hardships, had occurred in December 1831. Troops were sent in after members of the local National Guard defected to the rebels. In February 1832 in Paris supporters of the Bourbons—the Legitimists, or Carlists as they were called by their adversaries—made an attempt to carry off the royal family in what would become known as the “conspiracy of rue des Prouvaires”.
This was followed by an insurrection in the Bourbon heartland of the Vendée led by Caroline, Duchess of Berry, mother of Henri, Count of Chambord, the Legitimist claimant to the throne as ‘Henri V’. The Duchess was captured in late 1832 and imprisoned until 1833. After this, the Legitimists renounced war and fell back on the press as a weapon.
The government portrayed the rebels as an extremist minority. Louis-Philippe had shown more energy and personal courage than his Bourbon predecessor Charles X had during the July Revolution two years before. When the king appeared in public his supporters greeted him with cheers. General Sébastini, the Foreign Minister, who directed government forces, stated that local citizens caught up in events congratulated him: “they accepted us with cries of Vive le Roi[“Long live the King”] and Vive la liberté [Long live Liberty”], showing their joy at the success we had just obtained”. Subsequent identification of rebels revealed that most (66%) were working-class, a high proportion being construction workers. Most others (34%) were shopkeepers or clerks.
A large number of weapons were confiscated in raids, and there were fears that military law would be imposed. The government, which had come to power in a revolution, distanced itself from its own revolutionary past, famously removing from view Delacroix’s painting Liberty Leading the People, which had been commissioned to commemorate the events of 1830. According to Albert Boime, “after the uprising at the funeral of Lamarque in June 1832 it was never again openly displayed for fear of setting a bad example”.
A young painter, Michel Geoffroy, was charged with starting the rebellion by waving the red flag. He was sentenced to death, but a series of legal appeals led to a prison sentence. The real flag-bearer was found a month later, and imprisoned for just a month due to his obvious mental instability. Seven of the 82 trials led to other death sentences, all commuted to terms of imprisonment.
Republicans used the trials to build support for their cause. Several rebels delivered republican speeches at their trial, including Charles Jeanne, one of the working-class leaders, who proudly defended his actions. He was convicted and imprisoned and became a republican martyr when he died in prison in 1837. A pamphlet published in 1836 compared the last stand of the Republicans to the heroic resistance of the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.
A republican is virtue, perseverance; is devotion personified…[he] is Leonidas dying at Thermopylae, at the head of his 300 Spartans; he is also the 72 heroes who defended during 48 hours the approaches of the Cloître Saint-Merry from 60,000 men and who… threw themselves onto bayonets to obtain a glorious death.
Louis-Philippe’s regime was finally overthrown in the French Revolution of 1848, though the subsequent French Second Republic was short-lived. In the 1848 Revolution, Friedrich Engels published a retrospective in which he analyzed the tactical errors which led to the failure of the 1832 uprising and drew lessons for the 1848 revolt. The main strategic deficit, he argued, was the failure to march immediately on the centre of power, the Hôtel de Ville.
Hugo and Les Misérables
On 5 June 1832, young Victor Hugo was writing a play in the Tuileries Gardens when he heard the sound of gunfire from the direction of Les Halles. The park-keeper had to unlock the gate of the deserted gardens to let Hugo out. Instead of hurrying home, he followed the sounds through the empty streets, unaware that half of Paris had already fallen to the insurgents. All about Les Halles were barricades. Hugo headed north up rue Montmartre, then turned right onto Passage du Saumon (currently called Passage Ben-Aïad), at last turning before rue du Bout du Monde (currently called rue Saint-Sauveur). Halfway down the alley, the grilles at either end were slammed shut. Hugo was surrounded by barricades and found shelter between some columns in the street, where all the shops were shuttered. For a quarter of an hour, bullets flew both ways.
In his novel Les Misérables, published thirty years later in 1862, Hugo depicts the period leading up to the rebellion and follows the lives and interactions of several characters over a twenty-year period. The novel begins in the year of Napoleon Bonaparte’s final defeat and climaxes with the battles of the June Rebellion. An outspoken Republican activist, Hugo unquestionably favored the revolutionaries, although in Les Miserables he wrote about Louis-Philippe in sympathetic terms.
Scenes of Parisian students and the poor planning of the rebellion on the eve of the benevolent General Lamarque’s death are portrayed in the novel through the activities of the fictional “Friends of the ABC” (a pun on the French term abaissé, or “oppressed”), led by the charismatic character Enjolras and portrayed as a sub-group of the Rights of Man Society. The building of barricades throughout Paris’s narrow streets is also described. The ABC organized the building of a barricade in rue de la Chanvrerie, a side-road running into rue Saint-Denis near a wine shop which they use as their base of operations. During the climactic battle, the main characters all come together and many of them are killed.
Les Misérables gave the relatively little-discussed rebellion widespread renown. The novel is one of the few works of literature that discusses the June Rebellion and the events leading up to it.
“To love another person is to see the face of God,” but this trailer might suffice for Les Misérables fans.
On Sunday morning, Masterpiece on PBS released the first trailer for their new mini-series adaptation of Victor Hugo’s beloved novel. The series will star Lily Collins as Fantine, Dominic West as hero Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo as Inspector Javert, and Olivia Colman as Madame Thenardier.
The new mini-series is based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables and adapted from the book by celebrated British writer Andrew Davies, who most famously penned the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as a lake-diving Mr. Darcy. While the most popular rendition of Hugo’s work remains the 1985 musical, this version hews more closely to the original novel and has no musical interludes.
The project is one of PBS’ most anticipated given its star-studded cast, and it will debut on Masterpiece sometime in 2019.
Les Misérables (French pronunciation: is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title. However, several alternatives have been used, including The Miserables, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims and The Dispossessed. Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, particularly the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption.
Examining the nature of law and grace, the novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. Les Misérables has been popularized through numerous adaptations for film, television and the stage, including a musical.
An incident Hugo witnessed in 1829 involved three strangers and a police officer. One of the strangers was a man who had stolen a loaf of bread similar to Jean Valjean. The officer was taking him to the coach. The thief also saw the mother and daughter playing with each other which would be an inspiration for Fantine and Cosette. Hugo imagined the life of the man in jail and the mother and daughter taken away from each other.
Valjean’s character is loosely based on the life of the ex-convict Eugène François Vidocq. Vidocq became the head of an undercover police unit and later founded France’s first private detective agency. He was also a businessman and was widely noted for his social engagement and philanthropy. Vidocq also inspired Hugo as he wrote Claude Gueux and Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man).
In 1828, Vidocq, already pardoned, saved one of the workers in his paper factory by lifting a heavy cart on his shoulders as Valjean does. Hugo’s description of Valjean rescuing a sailor on the Orion drew almost word for word on a Baron La Roncière’s letter describing such an incident. Hugo used Bienvenu de Miollis (1753–1843), the Bishop of Digne during the time in which Valjean encounters Myriel, as the model for Myriel.
Hugo had used the departure of prisoners from the Bagne of Toulon in one of his early stories, Le Dernier Jour d’un Condamné. He went to Toulon to visit the Bagne in 1839 and took extensive notes, though he did not start writing the book until 1845. On one of the pages of his notes about the prison, he wrote in large block letters a possible name for his hero: “JEAN TRÉJEAN”. When the book was finally written, Tréjean became Jean Valjean.
In 1841, Hugo saved a prostitute from arrest for assault. He used a short part of his dialogue with the police when recounting Valjean’s rescue of Fantine in the novel. On 22 February 1846, when he had begun work on the novel, Hugo witnessed the arrest of a bread thief while a Duchess and her child watched the scene pitilessly from their coach. He spent several vacations in Montreuil-sur-Mer, which became the model for the town he calls M____-sur-M__.
During the 1832 revolt, Hugo walked the streets of Paris, saw the barricades blocking his way at points, and had to take shelter from gunfire. He participated more directly in the 1848 Paris insurrection, helping to smash barricades and suppress both the popular revolt and its monarchist allies.
Victor Hugo drew his inspiration from everything he heard and saw, writing it down in his diary. In December 1846 he witnessed an altercation between an old woman scavenging through rubbish and a street urchin who might have been Gavroche. He also informed himself by personal inspection of the Paris Conciergerie in 1846 and Waterloo in 1861, by gathering information on some industries, and on working-class people’s wages and living standards. He asked his mistresses—Léonie d’Aunet and Juliette Drouet to tell him about life in convents. He also slipped personal anecdotes into the plot. For instance, Marius and Cosette’s wedding night (Part V, Book 6, Chapter 1) takes place on 16 February 1833, which is also the date when Hugo and his lifelong mistress Juliette Drouet made love for the first time. Portrait of “Cosette” by Emile Bayard, from the original edition of Les Misérables (1862)Éponine prevents the robbery at Valjean’s houseValjean in the sewers with the wounded Marius (US edition, 1900)
- Jean Valjean (also known as Monsieur Madeleine, Ultime Fauchelevent, Monsieur Leblanc, and Urbain Fabre) – The protagonist of the novel. Convicted for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s seven starving children and sent to prison for five years, he is paroled from prison nineteen years later (after four unsuccessful escape attempts added twelve years and fighting back during the second escape attempt added two extra years). Rejected by society for being a former convict, he encounters Bishop Myriel, who turns his life around by showing him mercy and encouraging him to become a new man. While sitting and pondering what Bishop Myriel had said, he puts his shoe on a forty-sou piece dropped by a young wanderer. Valjean threatens the boy with his stick when the boy attempts to rouse Valjean from his reverie and recover his money. He tells a passing priest his name and the name of the boy, and this allows the police to charge him with armed robbery – a sentence that, if he were caught again, would return him to prison for life. He assumes a new identity (Monsieur Madeleine) in order to pursue an honest life. He introduces new manufacturing techniques and eventually builds two factories and becomes one of the richest men in the area. By popular acclaim, he is made the mayor. He confronts Javert over Fantine’s punishment, turns himself into the police to save another man from prison for life, and rescues Cosette from the Thénardiers. Discovered by Javert in Paris because of his generosity to the poor, he evades capture for the next several years in a convent. He saves Marius from imprisonment and probable death at the barricade, reveals his true identity to Marius and Cosette after their wedding, and is reunited with them just before his death, having kept his promise to the bishop and to Fantine, the image of whom is the last thing he sees before dying.
- Javert – A fanatic police inspector in pursuit to recapture Valjean. Born in the prisons to a convict father and a fortune teller mother, he renounces both of them and starts working as a guard in the prison, including one stint as the overseer for the chain gang of which Valjean is part (and here witnesses firsthand Valjean’s enormous strength and just what he looks like). Eventually, he joins the police force in the small town identified only as M____-sur-M__. He arrests Fantine and butts heads with Valjean/Madeleine, who orders him to release Fantine. Valjean dismisses Javert in front of his squad and Javert, seeking revenge, reports to the Police Inspector that he has discovered Jean Valjean. He is told that he must be incorrect, as a man mistakenly believed to be Jean Valjean was just arrested. He requests of M. Madeline that he be dismissed in disgrace, for he cannot be less harsh on himself than on others. When the real Jean Valjean turns himself in, Javert is promoted to the Paris police force where he arrests Valjean and sends him back to prison. After Valjean escapes again, Javert attempts one more arrest in vain. He then almost recaptures Valjean at Gorbeau house when he arrests the Thénardiers and Patron-Minette. Later, while working undercover behind the barricade, his identity is discovered. Valjean pretends to execute Javert but releases him. When Javert next encounters Valjean emerging from the sewers, he allows him to make a brief visit home and then walks off instead of arresting him. Javert cannot reconcile his devotion to the law with his recognition that the lawful course is immoral. After composing a letter to the prefect of police outlining the squalid conditions that occur in prisons and the abuses that prisoners are subjected to, he takes his own life by jumping into the Seine.
- Fantine – A beautiful Parisian grisette abandoned with a small child by her lover Félix Tholomyès. Fantine leaves her daughter Cosette in the care of the Thénardiers, innkeepers in the village of Montfermeil. Mme. Thénardier spoils her own daughters and abuses Cosette. Fantine finds work at Monsieur Madeleine’s factory. Illiterate, she has others write letters to the Thénardiers on her behalf. A female supervisor discovers that she is an unwed mother and dismisses her. To meet the Thénardiers’ repeated demands for money, she sells her hair and two front teeth and turns to prostitution. She becomes ill. Valjean learns of her plight when Javert arrests her for attacking a man who called her insulting names and threw snow down her back and sends her to a hospital. As Javert confronts Valjean in her hospital room, because her illness has made her so weak, she dies of shock after Javert reveals that Valjean is a convict and hasn’t brought her daughter Cosette to her (after the doctor encouraged that incorrect belief that Jean Valjean’s recent absence was because he was bringing her daughter to her).
- Cosette (formally Euphrasie, also known as “the Lark”, Mademoiselle Lanoire, Ursula) – The illegitimate daughter of Fantine and Tholomyès. From approximately the age of three to the age of eight, she is beaten and forced to work as a drudge for the Thénardiers. After her mother Fantine dies, Valjean ransoms Cosette from the Thénardiers and cares for her as if she were his daughter. Nuns in a Paris convent educate her. She grows up to become very beautiful. She falls in love with Marius Pontmercy and marries him near the novel’s conclusion.
- Marius Pontmercy – A young law student loosely associated with the Friends of the ABC. He shares the political principles of his father and has a tempestuous relationship with his royalist grandfather, Monsieur Gillenormand. He falls in love with Cosette and fights on the barricades when he believes Valjean has taken her to London. After he and Cosette marry, he recognizes Thénardier as a swindler and pays him to leave France.
- Éponine (the Jondrette girl) – The Thénardiers’ elder daughter. As a child, she is pampered and spoiled by her parents, but ends up a street urchin when she reaches adolescence. She participates in her father’s crimes and begging schemes to obtain money. She is blindly in love with Marius. At Marius’ request, she finds Valjean and Cosette’s house for him and sadly leads him there. She also prevents her father, Patron-Minette, and Brujon from robbing the house during one of Marius’ visits there to see Cosette. After disguising herself as a boy, she manipulates Marius into going to the barricades, hoping that she and Marius will die there together. Wanting to die before Marius, she reaches out her hand to stop a soldier from shooting at him; she is mortally wounded as the bullet goes through her hand and her back. As she is dying, she confesses all this to Marius and gives him a letter from Cosette. Her final request to Marius is that once she has passed, he will kiss her on the forehead. He fulfills her request not because of romantic feelings on his part, but out of pity for her hard life.
- Monsieur Thénardier and Madame Thénardier (also known as the Jondrettes, M. Fabantou, M. Thénard. Some translations identify her as the Thenardiess) – Husband and wife, parents of five children: two daughters, Éponine and Azelma, and three sons, Gavroche, and two unnamed younger sons. As innkeepers, they abuse Cosette as a child and extort payment from Fantine for her support, until Valjean takes Cosette away. They become bankrupt and relocate under the name Jondrette to a house in Paris called the Gorbeau house, living in the room next to Marius. The husband associates with a criminal group called “the Patron-Minette”, and conspires to rob Valjean until he is thwarted by Marius. Javert arrests the couple. The wife dies in prison. Her husband attempts to blackmail Marius with his knowledge of Valjean’s past, but Marius pays him to leave the country and he becomes a slave trader in the United States.
- Enjolras – The leader of Les Amis de l’ABC (Friends of the ABC) in the Paris uprising. He is passionately committed to republican principles and the idea of progress. He and Grantaire are executed by the National Guards after the barricade falls.
- Gavroche – The unloved middle child and eldest son of the Thénardiers. He lives on his own as a street urchin and sleeps inside an elephant statue outside the Bastille. He briefly takes care of his two younger brothers, unaware they are related to him. He takes part in the barricades and is killed while collecting bullets from dead National Guardsmen.
- Bishop Myriel – The Bishop of Digne (full name Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel, also called Monseigneur Bienvenu) – A kindly old priest promoted to bishop after a chance encounter with Napoleon. After Valjean steals some silver from him, he saves Valjean from being arrested and inspires Valjean to change his ways.
- Grantaire – Grantaire (Also known as “R”) was a student revolutionary with little interest in the cause. He reveres Enjolras, and his admiration is the main reason that Grantaire spends time with Les Amis de l’ABC (Friends of the ABC), despite Enjolras’s occasional scorn for him. Grantaire is often drunk and is unconscious for the majority of the June Rebellion. He and Enjolras are executed by the National Guards after the barricade falls.
Friends of the ABC
A revolutionary student club. In French, the letters “ABC” are pronounced identically to the French word abaissés, “the abused”.
- Bahorel – A dandy and an idler from a peasant background, who is known well around the student cafés of Paris.
- Combeferre – A medical student who is described as representing the philosophy of the revolution.
- Courfeyrac – A law student who is described as the center of the group of Friends. He is honorable and warm and is Marius’ closest companion.
- Enjolras – The leader of the Friends. A resolute and charismatic youth, devoted to progress.
- Feuilly – An orphaned fan maker who taught himself to read and write. He is the only member of the Friends who is not a student.
- Grantaire – An drunk with little interest in revolution. Despite his pessimism, he eventually declares himself a believer in the Republic and dies alongside Enjolras.
- Jean Prouvaire (also Jehan) – A Romantic with knowledge of Italian, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and an interest in the Middle Ages.
- Joly – A medical student who has unusual theories about health. He is a hypochondriac and is described as the happiest of the Friends.
- Lesgle (also Lègle, Laigle, L’Aigle [The Eagle] or Bossuet) – The oldest member of the group. Considered notoriously unlucky, Lesgle begins balding at the age of twenty-five. It is Lesgle who introduces Marius to the Friends.
- Azelma – The younger daughter of the Thénardiers. Like her sister Éponine, she is spoiled as a child, impoverished when older. She abets her father’s failed robbery of Valjean. On Marius and Cosette’s wedding day, she tails Valjean on her father’s orders. She travels to America with her father at the end of the novel.
- Bamatabois – An idler who harasses Fantine. Later a juror at Champmathieu’s trial.
- (Mlle) Baptistine Myriel – Bishop Myriel’s sister. She loves and venerates her brother.
- Blachevelle – A wealthy student in Paris originally from Montauban. He is a friend of Félix Tholomyès and becomes romantically involved with Fantine’s friend Favourite.
- Bougon, Madame (called Ma’am Burgon) – Housekeeper of Gorbeau House.
- Brevet – An ex-convict from Toulon who knew Valjean there; released one year after Valjean. In 1823, he is serving time in the prison in Arras for an unknown crime. He is the first to claim that Champmathieu is really Valjean. He used to wear knitted, checkered suspenders.
- Brujon – A robber and criminal. He participates in crimes with M. Thénardier and the Patron-Minette gang (such as the Gorbeau Robbery and the attempted robbery at the Rue Plumet). The author describes Brujon as being “a sprightly young fellow, very cunning and very adroit, with a flurried and plaintive appearance.”
- Champmathieu – A vagabond who is misidentified as Valjean after being caught stealing apples.
- Chenildieu – A lifer from Toulon. He and Valjean were chain mates for five years. He once tried to unsuccessfully remove his lifer’s brand TFP (“travaux forcés à perpetuité”, “forced labour for life”) by putting his shoulder on a chafing dish full of embers. He is described as a small, wiry but energetic man.
- Cochepaille – Another lifer from Toulon. He used to be a shepherd from the Pyrenees who became a smuggler. He is described as stupid and has a tattoo on his arm, 1 Mars 1815.
- Colonel Georges Pontmercy – Marius’s father and an officer in Napoleon’s army. Wounded at Waterloo, Pontmercy erroneously believes M. Thénardier saved his life. He tells Marius of this great debt. He loves Marius and although M. Gillenormand does not allow him to visit, he continually hid behind a pillar in the church on Sunday so that he could at least look at Marius from a distance. Napoleon made him a baron, but the next regime refused to recognize his barony or his status as a colonel, instead referring to him only as a commandant. The book usually calls him “The Colonel”.
- Dahlia – A young grisette in Paris and member of Fantine’s group of seamstress friends along with Favourite and Zéphine. She becomes romantically involved with Félix Tholomyès’ friend Listolier.
- Fameuil – A wealthy student in Paris originally from Limoges. He is a friend of Félix Tholomyès and becomes romantically involved with Fantine’s friend Zéphine.
- Fauchelevent – A failed businessman whom Valjean (as M. Madeleine) saves from being crushed under a carriage. Valjean gets him a position as gardener at a Paris convent, where Fauchelevent later provides sanctuary for Valjean and Cosette and allows Valjean to pose as his brother.
- Favourite – A young grisette in Paris and leader of Fantine’s group of seamstress friends (including Zéphine and Dahlia). She is independent and well versed in the ways of the world and had previously been in England. Although she cannot stand Félix Tholomyès’ friend Blachevelle and is in love with someone else, she endures a relationship with him so she can enjoy the perks of courting a wealthy man.
- Listolier – A wealthy student in Paris originally from Cahors. He is a friend of Félix Tholomyès and becomes romantically involved with Fantine’s friend Dahlia.
- Mabeuf – An elderly churchwarden, a friend of Colonel Pontmercy, who after the Colonel’s death befriends his son Marius and helps Marius realize his father loved him. Mabeuf loves plants and books but sells his books and prints in order to pay for a friend’s medical care. When Mabeuf finds a purse in his yard, he takes it to the police. After selling his last book, he joins the students in the insurrection. He is shot dead raising the flag atop the barricade.
- Mademoiselle Gillenormand – Daughter of M. Gillenormand, with whom she lives. Her late half-sister (M. Gillenormand’s daughter from another marriage), was Marius’ mother.
- Magloire, Madame – Domestic servant to Bishop Myriel and his sister.
- Magnon – Former servant of M. Gillenormand and friend of the Thénardiers. She had been receiving child support payments from M. Gillenormand for her two illegitimate sons, who she claimed were fathered by him. When her sons died in an epidemic, she had them replaced with the Thénardiers’ two youngest sons so that she could protect her income. The Thénardiers get a portion of the payments. She is incorrectly arrested for involvement in the Gorbeau robbery.
- Monsieur Gillenormand – Marius’ grandfather. A monarchist, he disagrees sharply with Marius on political issues, and they have several arguments. He attempts to keep Marius from being influenced by his father, Colonel Georges Pontmercy. While in perpetual conflict over ideas, he does illustrate his love for his grandson.
- Mother Innocente (a.k.a. Marguerite de Blemeur) – The prioress of the Petit-Picpus convent.
- Patron-Minette – A quartet of bandits who assist in the Thénardiers’ ambush of Valjean at Gorbeau House and the attempted robbery at the Rue Plumet. The gang consists of Montparnasse, Claquesous, Babet, and Gueulemer. Claquesous, who escaped from the carriage transporting him to prison after the Gorbeau Robbery, joins the revolution under the guise of “Le Cabuc” and is executed by Enjolras for firing on civilians.
- Petit Gervais – A traveling Savoyard boy who drops a coin. Valjean, still a man of criminal mind, places his foot on the coin and refuses to return it.
- Sister Simplice – A famously truthful nun who cares for Fantine on her sickbed and lies to Javert to protect Valjean.
- Félix Tholomyès – Fantine’s lover and Cosette’s biological father. A wealthy, self-centered student in Paris originally from Toulouse, he eventually abandons Fantine when their daughter is two years old.
- Toussaint – Valjean and Cosette’s servant in Paris. She has a slight stutter.
- Two little boys – The two unnamed youngest sons of the Thénardiers, whom they send to Magnon to replace her two dead sons. Living on the streets, they encounter Gavroche, who is unaware they are his siblings but treats them like they are his brothers. After Gavroche’s death, they retrieve bread tossed by a bourgeois man to geese in a fountain at the Luxembourg Garden.
- Zéphine – A young grisette in Paris and member of Fantine’s group of seamstress friends along with Favourite and Dahlia. She becomes romantically involved with Félix Tholomyès’ friend Fameuil.
Hugo does not give the narrator a name and allows the reader to identify the narrator with the novel’s author. The narrator occasionally injects himself into the narrative or reports facts outside the time of the narrative to emphasize that he is recounting historical events, not entirely fiction. He introduces his recounting of Waterloo with several paragraphs describing the narrator’s recent approach to the battlefield: “Last year (1861), on a beautiful May morning, a traveler, the person who is telling this story, was coming from Nivelles …” The narrator describes how “[a]n observer, a dreamer, the author of this book” during the 1832 street fighting was caught in crossfire: “All that he had to protect him from the bullets was the swell of the two half columns which separate the shops; he remained in this delicate situation for nearly half an hour.” At one point he apologizes for intruding—”The author of this book, who regrets the necessity of mentioning himself”—to ask the reader’s understanding when he describes “the Paris of his youth … as though it still existed.” This introduces a meditation on memories of past places that his contemporary readers would recognize as a self-portrait written from exile: “you have left a part of your heart, of your blood, of your soul, in those pavements.” He describes another occasion when a bullet shot “pierced a brass shaving-dish suspended … over a hairdresser’s shop. This pierced shaving-dish was still to be seen in 1848, in the Rue du Contrat-Social, at the corner of the pillars of the market.” As evidence of police double agents at the barricades, he writes: “The author of this book had in his hands, in 1848, the special report on this subject made to the Prefect of Police in 1832.”
Since its original publication, Les Misérables has been the subject of a large number of adaptations in numerous types of media, such as books, films, musicals, plays, and games.
Notable examples of these adaptations include:
- The 1935 film directed by Richard Boleslawski, starring Fredric March and Charles Laughton.
- Fredric March as Jean Valjean/Champmathieu
- Charles Laughton as Inspector Émile Javert
- Cedric Hardwicke as Bishop Myriel
- Rochelle Hudson as Cosette
- Marilyn Knowlden as Young Cosette
- Florence Eldridge as Fantine
- John Beal as Marius
- Frances Drake as Éponine
- John Carradine as Enjolras
- Ferdinand Gottschalk and Jane Kerr as the Thénardiers
- Vernon Downing as Brissac
- The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Assistant Director at 8th Academy Awards.
- The 1937 radio adaptation by Orson Welles.
- The 1952 film adaptation directed by Lewis Milestone, starring Michael Rennie and Robert Newton.
- The 1958 film adaptation directed by Jean-Paul Le Chanois, with an international cast starring Jean Gabin, Bernard Blier, and Bourvil. Called “the most memorable film version,” it was filmed in East Germany and was overtly political.
- The 1978 television film adaptation, starring Richard Jordan and Anthony Perkins.
- The 1980 musical, by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.
- The 1982 film adaptation, directed by Robert Hossein, starring Lino Ventura and Michel Bouquet.
- The 1995 film, by Claude Lelouch, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
- The 1998 film, starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush.Les Misérables is a 1998 film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name, directed by Bille August. It stars Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, and Claire Danes. As in the original novel, the storyline follows the adult life of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict (paroled following 19 years of hard labor, for stealing bread) pursued by police Inspector Javert. It was filmed at Barrandov Studios in Prague.
Stating, “It’s a pity the rules don’t allow me to be merciful,” Javert finally sets Valjean free, shackles himself, adding “I’ve tried to live my life without breaking a single rule,” and throws himself into the Seine thus taking his own life. Valjean walks down the empty street, finally a free man, with a smile on his face.
- Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean
- Geoffrey Rush as Javert
- Uma Thurman as Fantine
- Claire Danes as Cosette
- Mimi Newman as young Cosette
- Hans Matheson as Marius Pontmercy
- Jon Kenny and Gillian Hanna as the Thénardiers
- John McGlynn as Carnot
- Kelly Hunter as Mme Victurien
- Shane Hervey as Gavroche
- Lennie James as Enjolras
- Sylvie Koblizkova as Éponine
- Peter Vaughan as Bishop Myriel
- Julian Rhind-Tutt as Bamatabois
- David Birkin as Courfeyrac
- Ben Crompton as Grantier
- Patsy Byrne as Toussaint
- Frank O’Sullivan as Brevet
- Christopher Adamson as Bertin
- Tim Barlow as Lafitte
- Shannon McCormick as Redheaded Gendarme
- Reine Brynolfsson as Captain Beauvais
- Kathleen Byron as Mother Superior
- Toby Jones as Doorkeeper
- Edward Tudor Pole as Landlord
- The 2000 TV miniseries, starring Gérard Depardieu and John Malkovich.
- The 2012 film of the musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried.
- The film received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor for Jackman, and won three, for Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Supporting Actress for Hathaway.
Les Misérables is a 2012 musical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and scripted by William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Herbert Kretzmer, based on the 1862 French novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, which also inspired a 1980 musical by Boublil and Schönberg. The film is a British and American venture distributed by Universal Pictures. The film stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen. The film takes place in France during the early 19th century and tells the story of Jean Valjean who, while being hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The story reaches resolution against the background of the June Rebellion.
- Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, a Frenchman released from Toulon prison after 19 years of imprisonment for stealing bread and failed attempts at escaping from the prison.
- Russell Crowe as Javert, a police inspector dedicating his life to imprisoning Valjean once again.
- Anne Hathaway as Fantine, the mother of Cosette and a struggling factory worker, who resorts to prostitution.
- Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine, who is kept by the Thénardiers until Valjean buys her from them. On developing Cosette, Seyfried said, “In the little time that I had to explain Cosette and give the audience a reason [to see her] a symbol of love and strength and light in this tragedy, I needed to be able to convey things you may not have connected with in the show.” A vocal coach was enlisted to help her with the songs. Isabelle Allen plays Cosette, as a child. On working with her fellow actors, Allen said, “They gave us lots of tips and mostly [made] sure we were all OK. They were really nice.”
- Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy, a student revolutionary who is friends with the Thenardiers’ daughter, Éponine, but falls in love with Cosette. He found director Hooper’s vision “incredibly helpful”. On collaborating with Hooper, Redmayne said, “He was incredibly collaborative. Certainly during the rehearsal process, we sat with Tom and the Victor Hugo book adding things.” It was Redmayne who suggested to Hooper that his character’s song, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, should begin a cappella in order to better express Marius’ guilt and pain.
- Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the Thénardiers, a pair of swindling innkeepers.Hooper previously collaborated with Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech, in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth, King George VI’s wife. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter previously co-starred in the film adaptation of the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. When Baron Cohen accepted the role of Thénardier, he had to abandon Django Unchained.
- Samantha Barks as Éponine, the Thénardiers’ daughter. Having previously played the role at the 25th Anniversary concert and in the West End production, Barks said “there were similarities in playing the role—they’re the same character—but Eponine in the novel and Eponine in the musical are two kinds of different girls, so to me it was the thrill of merging those two together, to get something that still had that heart and soul that we all connect to in the musical, but also the awkward, self-loathing teenager that we see in the novel, trying to merge those two together.” She found Jackman “fascinating to learn from, and I feel like that’s the way it should be done”.
- Aaron Tveit as Enjolras, the leader of Les Amis de l’ABC. Hoping to play Marius, Tveit submitted an audition tape in which he sang “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and “In My Life”. He had never performed any role in the musical. He also said of Enjolras that “once I got more and more familiar with the material and when I read the novel, I was like, ‘Wow this is a really, really great role,’ and I felt very much better suited for it.” Tveit said the shooting of the film was “almost as grueling as a marathon”.
- Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche, the wise and heroic street boy, who displays a fresh, lucid and ironical look over the French society. He had performed the same role at the Queen’s Theatre in London, where he stayed with the show for 1 year, before being cast for reprising it in the present film. His performance was praised both by public and critics, some of whom see him as a real scene-stealer.
- A 2013 Japanese manga adaptation by Takahiro Arai, to be published in Shogakukan’s Monthly Shonen Sunday magazine from September 2013.
- An upcoming BBC miniseries by Andrew Davies, starring Dominic West, David Oyelowo and Lily Collins
Les Misérables (2019 TV series)
Les Misérables is a scheduled six-part BBC television adaptation of the French historical novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The series, adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by Tom Shankland, will star Dominic West, David Oyelowo, and Lily Collins. BBC Studios will handle distribution for the series.
Based on the original novel, the miniseries will not include the songs from the Les Misérables musical.
Cast and characters
- Dominic West as Jean Valjean
- David Oyelowo as Javert
- Lily Collins as Fantine
- Adeel Akhtar as Monsieur Thénardier
- Olivia Colman as Madame Thénardier
- Erin Kellyman as Éponine
- Ellie Bamber as Cosette
- Josh O’Connor as Marius Pontmercy
- Joseph Quinn as Enjolras
- Derek Jacobi as Bishop Myriel
- Archie Madekwe as Courfeyrac
- Turlough Convery as Grantaire
- Reece Yates as Gavroche