Title: Les Misérables
Author: Victor Hugo, Lascelles Wraxall
Publisher: Lovell, Coryell & Company. No date. Research reveals date to be between 1896-1897.
Condition: Hardcover, decorative cloth. Gilt to top edge. Part of Lovell’s Standard Series. Pages tanned but clean. Binding tight. No foxing. Scarce.
About this edition:
This edition is very interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all, it’s very likely to be a pirated copy – the publisher John Lovell was quite a schemer who sold many cheap paperback editions of famous books, most of which were pirated. This particular imprint of his, Lovell, Coryell & Company, was started in 1891 and specialised in publishing fancier copies of those cheap paperbacks.
Also, this translation by Lascelles Wraxall, first published in England in 1862, was the only one authorized by Victor Hugo himself. It’s not easy to find pre-1900 copies of Wraxall’s translation, making this book quite scarce and also adding to the evidence that this is a pirated copy.
We’ve determined the publishing date to be most likely 1896, or possibly early 1897, since the company shut down in 1897. The company’s address, as listed on the title page, was 310-318 Sixth Avenue (New York) – an office they moved to only in 1896.
About Les Misérables:
Les Misérables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century.
Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption.
Examining the nature of law and grace, the novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. Les Misérables has been popularized through numerous adaptations for the stage, television, and film, including a musical and a film adaptation of that musical.