Welcome, gentle reader! Ever paged your way through a huge, sprawling 19th-century French novel and wondered...
    What's so noteworthy about the number eighteen?
        What does Theocritus have to do with Cosette's taking a stroll on a breezy day?
            Who in Hell is Ugolino?
                We take a stab at these questions, and more, in...


Approximate number of annotations: 186
Number of chapters covered: 38

(Note that a single entry often contains multiple annotations within.
Not counted: entries for which there is no info yet; chapters needing no annotation.)

Welcome to Annotating Victor Hugo's Les MisÚrables, an effort to annotate the marvelously rich proliferation of literary, classical, historical, and geographical references Hugo uses throughout his novel. Many of them were undoubtedly more familiar to his readers when the book was published in 1862, but nearly a century and a half later, time has widened the gulf of ready comprehension and reading some of the denser passages can feel akin to trying to wade through molasses. (Vol. III, Book One, Chapters X and XI (the introduction of Paris), with their page-long sentences packed end-to-end with references, are excellent examples.)

For more info about this site, including updates, see the "About" page.

Map images in the above menu are taken from an 1832 map of Paris, fittingly the year in which the uprisings took place. The illustration of Cosette is by Emile Bayard (1862), now in the public domain.