Re-Reading Les Misérables

Thoughts and commentary on Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.

The Underminers

Another parallel in introducing groups: Patron-Minette (the worst of the Paris underworld) and the ABC society. They’re explicitly linked in that they both work under the surface of society, one to improve it and one to prey on it. Hugo describes philosophers and political thinkers as miners, and criminals as underminers. This has gotten me thinking about the double meanings of miserables described in the first episode of the Les Mis Reading Companion, which I finally got around to listening to!

A few notes on top of the scumbag report from my last read-through:

Babet “underlined his smiles and put quotation marks around his gestures.” — that’s got to be figurative. No way do air quotes go back that far.

I still think the description of Claquesous sounds like Batman. He is the night. Appears and disappears without warning. Always masked. Terribly mysterious.