Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs is a good story poorly executed. Set in England c. 1700, the story revolves around the fortunes of a young man, Gwynplaine, who was surgically disfigured in infancy so that he appears always to be hideously laughi...
The Man Who Laughs (also published under the title By Order of the King from its subtitle in French ) is a novel by Victor Hugo, originally published in April 1869 under the French title L'Homme qui rit. It is "a dark novel about royal and aristocratic despotism", but Hugo intended parallels between the England depicted and the France of Louis-Philippe and the Régence.
The novel concerns the life of a young nobleman, disfigured as a child on the orders of the king, his protector and companion the vagabond philosopher Ursus and the baby girl he rescues during a storm. The action takes place in England in the late 16th and early 17th century, and is famous for the mutilated face – in a permanent laugh – of the hero, Gwynplaine. The book has inspired many artists, dramatists and film-makers.
Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs is a good story poorly executed. Set in England c. 1700, the story revolves around the fortunes of a young man, Gwynplaine, who was surgically disfigured in infancy so that he appears always to be hideously laughing.Victor Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables,
1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris), 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations (The Contemplations) and La Légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages).
Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement with his play Cromwell and drama Hernani. Many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime and after his death, including the musicals Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, and campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.
Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon in Paris. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French currency.
I remember when I just started to read the book – I never imagined it would turn out to be so appealing!
The best word to describe this book is "emotional." I found the description of the relationship between Gwynplaine and the little girl really touching. Even though I wasn't familiar with this kind of feeling before, I must say I truly understood everything they felt for each other. The descriptions were written very evocatively which made it easier to read. They usually contain great comparisons which help you easily imagine what writer wanted to explain.
Also, what I found particularly interesting is the way France and England were described, and it helped me learn a lot. The age is so specifically described that I could easily imagine the streets and traditions and understand the mentality of characters in that period. I read many books related to this age, but this one in my opinion details everything in the clearest possible way.
In conclusion, I advise everyone reads this book, particularly those who have a special interest in this dark age and for those who like truly emotional love stories.
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