Further Reading


Victor Hugo and Les Misérables


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Books – Nonfiction

Victor Hugo and Les Misérables

General History

Crime and the Underworld

  • Vidocq’s memoirs (abridged is OK)
  • Parent-Duchâtelet’s report on prostitution in the city of Paris
  • Labouring Classes and Dangerous Classes in Paris during the first half of the nineteenth century (Louis Chevalier)


Gay History (for slash writers)

Books – Fiction

Setting contemporaneous with Les Mis or otherwise closely related

  • The Mysteries of Paris (Eugène Sue; set slightly after but is LM’s pulp-fiction precursor)
  • Père Goriot / Lost Illusions / A Harlot High and Low (Honoré de Balzac)
  • Most of the rest of Balzac’s Comédie Humaine
  • The Red and the Black (Stendhal)
  • Lucien Leuwen (Stendhal)
  • Horace (George Sand)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas père; also set slightly afterwards, but super-entertaining, especially unabridged)
  • Pont-au-Change

Other Victor Hugo

  • Claude Gueux
  • The Last Day of a Condemned Man
  • Ninety-Three
  • Toilers of the Sea
  • Notre-Dame de Paris
  • E.H. & A.M. Blackmore’s bilingual edition of Hugo poetry
  • Hernani
  • History of a Crime

Romantic literature

  • A VERY BROAD TOPIC, so this list is very much biased towards my own taste and experience
  • Balzac’s classification as “Romantic” is iffy, but he’s the other literary giant of the period
  • Stendhal (The Red and the Black, Lucien Leuwen, Armance)
  • George Sand (Lélia, Horace, Consuelo, Indiana if it’s the only one you can find)
  • Musset (The Confession of a Child of the Century, Les Caprices de Marianne)
  • Dumas (Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, but also his theatre)
  • Théophile Gautier (Mademoiselle de Maupin, short stories)
  • Germaine de Staël (Corinne)
  • Benjamin Constant (Adolphe)
  • Also look into: Gérard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Pétrus Borel, Jehan du Seigneur, Lamartine, Alfred de Vigny
  • Non-French authors the French Romantics were super into: Shakespeare, Walter Scott, ETA Hoffmann, Poe, and most of the other countries’ major Romantics
  • Your French lit teacher will probably attempt to recommend Chateaubriand, who is an insufferable windbag with the literary equivalent of a punchable face.

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