Les Misérables – Victor Hugo

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Victor Hugo wrote the Les Miserables book in 1862, during a period when France was going through some rough times. It is regarded as one of the greatest novels ever written.

The Les Misérabless story is set in Paris and takes place from about 1789 to 1832. The story centers around Jean Valjean, an ex-prisoner who was sent to prison for 19 years after stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and her seven children.

On his release, he struggles to escape his past and is pursued by police officer Javert. Download the Les Miséables PDF to follow Jean Valjean on his journey of redemption, love and forgiveness.

Les Miserables PDF | Free PDF Download

Les Misérables PDF Download

You can download your free copy of The Les Misérables PDF by clicking the button below. Depending on what device you are using, the book will either open in a new tab or download to your device.

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Is Les Misérables PDF Book Free To Download?

Yes, it is! Les Misérables was published in 1862 so it is now in the public domain. You are therefore welcome to download and read it for free. We hope you enjoy it!

Les Misérables Q&A

What Is The Main Point Of Les Misérables?

Les Misérables is a book about love, courage, heartbreak, justice, passion, mercy, family and human dignity. It explores just how resilient the human spirit can be, especially when pushed to its limits.

Is Les Mis A True Story?

Les Mis is not a true story, although it was inspired by a real-life event that Victor Hugo witnessed in 1846. It was an extremely cold February day and while out, Victor Hugo saw the police arresting a man dressed in rags. Onlookers told him that the man was being arrested for stealing a loaf of bread. This incident became the inspiration for Jean Valjean, who we see stealing a loaf of bread at the beginning of the story.

How Many Les Misérables Books Are There?

Les Misérables was published in five volumes. Each of the five volumes is divided into several books. Each book is then divided into chapters. In total, there are 48 books and 365 chapters.

Who Is The Narrator Of Les Misérables?

Victor Hugo doesn’t specifically tell us who the narrator of the story is. The narrator however often moves outside the timeline of the story to touch on other historical events that actually took place. It is thought that Victor Hugo is the narrator as well as the author.

Was Javert A Real Person?

Javert was not a real person. It is however said that he was based on the same person that Jean Valjean was based on—Eugéne Francois Vidocq. Eugéne Francois Vidocq was well known in the 19th century and his life was the inspiration for many authors, including Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Honoré de Balzac and Victor Hugo.

Just like Jean Valjean, Eugéne Francois Vidocq was an ex-criminal who was also notorious for escaping from prison. And just like Javert, he went into law enforcement. He started the world’s first private detective agency in 1831 after his business went bankrupt.

How Old Is Cosette In Les Misérables?

Cosette is rescued by Valjean when she is 8 years old when her mother, Fantine dies. Valjean promises that he will take care of Cosette and he raises her like his own daughter. She meets Marius when she is 17 years old and eventually marries him.

Who Is The Bishop In Les Misérables?

Bishop Myriel is the Bishop of Digne in Les Misérables. Bienvenu de Miollis was the inspiration for his character. Bienvenu de Miollis was the the Bishop of Digne from 1805 to 1838.  

In the book, the Bishop of Digne gives Valjean a place to stay after he leaves prison. When Valjean is caught stealing silver, the Bishop says that he gave Valjean the silver as a gift. After giving Valjean two more silver candlesticks he tells him that he must become “an honest man”. The Bishop’s kindness inspires Valjean to become a better person and sets him on the path of redemption.

Les Misérables Movies & Adaptations

Since its first publication, Les Misérables has been the inspiration for many movies, TV series, radio and theatre productions. In fact, Les Miserables is the longest-running musical of all time! Its first theatre production opened in London in 1985, and since then there have been 11,000 performances running for over 30 years.

How Many Les Misérables Movies Are There?

Over the years there have been seven movies made. These include:

  • 1934 – French film directed by Raymond Bernard
  • 1935 – Directed by Richard Boleslawski – Nominated for the Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Assistant Director at the 8th Academy Awards.
  • 1952 – Directed by Lewis Milestone
  • 1958 – Directed by Jean-Paul Le Chanois
  • 1982 – Directed by Robert Hossein
  • 1995 – Directed by Claude Lelouch
  • 1998 – Directed by Billie August and starring Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean; , Geoffrey Rush as Javert; Uma Therman as Fantine; and Claire Danes as Cosette
  • 2012 – Directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean; Russell Crowe as Javert; Anne Hathaway as Fantine; and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette.

The latest version of Les Miserables is a British TV series that stars Dominic West, David Oyelowo and Lily Collins.

Which Les Misérables Movie Is The Best?

The 2012 adaptation of Les Misérables was a huge success, with it earning about $100 million worldwide in its first six days alone. It also received many nominations and went on to win numerous awards in 2012/2013:

  • Academy Awards – Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Makeup And Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing
  • American Film Institute – Movie Of The Year
  • British Academy Film Awards – Best Actress In A Supporting Role (Anne Hathaway), Best Makeup and Hair, Best Sound, Best Production Design
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards – Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway)
  • Dorian Awards – Film Performance of the Year (Anne Hathaway)
  • Golden Globe Awards – Best Motion Picture, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman), Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway)
  • Hollywood Film Festival – Best Trailer, Producer of the Year
  • Spotlight Awards
  • Huston Film Critics Society – Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Original Song (Suddenly)
  • London Film Critics Circle – Supporting Actress Of The Year (Anne Hathaway)
  • New York Film Critics Online – Movie of the Year, Best Supporting Actress ( Anne Hathaway)
  • Satellite Award – Best Cast, Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Original Song (Suddenly), Best Sound
  • Saturn Awards – Best Costume
  • Screen Actors Guild Award – Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Anne Hathaway)
  • Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association – Best Acting Ensemble, Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway)
  • Young Artest Award – Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actress Ten and Under (Isabelle Allen)

Anne Hathaway certainly cleaned up 🙂


Les Misérables is a wonderful story that is a must-read for everyone. Victor Hugo’s wonderful characters and amazing story are sure to stick with you for a long time! Download your free copy of the Les Miserables PDF here.