Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables

posted in: Literature | 0

The whirlwind pace of the new Les Misérables movie inspired me to pull out my books to re-read the novel. I noticed my English copies are starting to fall apart, and I became curious what year they were printed. I started looking around the internet and came across someone else’s post on the same topic. In fact if you look at the link, his book looks very similar to mine.

And I am excited that this post finally led me to some information that will help me put a date on my own copy. A link about the company A L Burt says that the company had different addresses over the course of their operation, from 1883-1937. The address on my book below was apparently from 1900-1912. So there you go, it is at least 100 years old.

I would like to purchase a new, unabridged version in a readable translation – any suggestions on the best edition?

To give an idea of other things going on in my great grandmother’s household around the time theses books were published, I took a photo of a few of my postcards:

The top left one was sent on Dec. 22, 1908 at 10:30 pm to my great great grandmother by her grown child. The top right was received by my great grandmother, about a year before she got married, sent Dec. 20, 1908 at 3 pm from Toronto. The bottom one I find particularly special. It was sent to my 3-year-old grandfather on Dec. 20, 1923. I have a 3-year-old son, so it is fun picturing what my grandpa was like at that age, receiving this card. The front of it reads, “To A Nice Little Boy Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! May old Santa with his presents Fill your heart with joy.”

These Les Misérables books belonged to grandpa’s sister at some point in her life, but I am not sure where she got them from and at what point. Her name is written in the front in pencil.

My French set came from an antique bookstore in Toronto, when my husband (then beau) picked them up for me. I started reading this one last night, but noticed it too is falling apart. And while I was surprised that I can understand almost every word of it, I may get tired of reading it in French at some point.

I am not sure of the date of these volumes either, but a brief glance at a website about this publisher in French shows that they published from the address in my book from 1911-1925, so it would have been from around the same period.


0 Responses

  1. There’s something special about old books. It almost seems like each tear and tatter somehow adds to the story.

  2. I googled these Frechs versions since I have a very nice copy here (in Denmark). The “first” owner wrote her name, place and year in the the books: name, place, 1924. It’s printed in Great Britain, but your version might be a New York edition…

  3. Jacqueline

    How much are these books worth

  4. I love old books. I have a copy of ‘Ambulance No. 10’ by Leslie Buswell that is not only signed by the author under his picture, but he wrote a note to a friend, Carl Bantley, on the inside cover. No can tell me if it is worth something(?), should I donate it to a museum(?) or library(?)

    • That sounds cool. I am not a book expert – so far, I’ve kept any antique books I have. I work at a national historic site and we often get people wanting to donate things to the site. I would recommend finding a museum or charity that it is most relevant to, such as the writer’s home town, to be sure it is a good fit.

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