As long as there are ignorance and poverty on Earth, books such as this one may not be useless.
Those words have held true. The book was published in 1862— over a 150 years ago—and it was a breakout hit that still hasn’t lost its popularity nor its relevance.
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This might have something to do with the musical. Heck, maybe it has everything to do with the musical, but to test that theory out is PBS, who is coming in at full swing.
PBS’ adaption of Les Miserables isn’t a musical, but instead an in-depth look at the classic story about poverty, desperation, and redemption. Forbes writes that the screenwriter, Andrew Davies, who is known for his adaptions such as Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV series) and War & Peace (2016 TV series), “preserves Hugo’s intricate plotting, striking historical vignettes, powerful themes and evocative characterizations”.
The television series is set to be a six-part adaptation of the famous story. Here, we follow fugitive Jean Valjean, played here by Dominic West (James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty on The Wire) who is relentlessly followed by Inspector Javert, played here by David Oyelowo, who infamously took on the role of Dr. King in Selma.
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The rest of the cast includes Lilly Collins, who played Collins Tuohy in The Blind Side and more recently led Netflix film To the Bone will be Fantine, a young woman forced into prostitution.
Image Via Variety
Adeel Akhtar, who played Naveed in The Big Stick, will be devious and devious Thénardier.
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Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth II on Season 4 of The Crown and just won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in The FavoriteI, will be devious and cruel Madame Thénardier.
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Ellie Bamber, who played Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, will be Cosette, the daughter of Fantine and the adopted daughter of Valjean. Josh O’Connor, plays Prince Charles on Season 4 of The Crown, will be Marius, Cosette’s young lover.
“Lilly [Collins] was saying the other day that, you know, in one song lyric, in one line, she has a whole episode. You know, what happened to her? Where did she come from? Who did she fall in love with, how did he treat her? How did she end up a prostitute on the street? And we get to see all that. And so I think that anyone who loved the musical would really love this.”
A greater understanding of characters I already love? That’s got my ear, so I’ll tune in.
All audiobooks feel long when you’re unable to concentrate on them—so imagine how much trouble you’d have with these behemoths. To understand just how long a really long audiobook actually is, let’s compare that length to some more familiar reads. Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s classic The Brothers Karamazovis famous as both a literary classic and a book you lied about reading, probably from fear of the decade it would take you to finish. It’s also famous for its staggering length: 824 pages and thirty-four hours. (Congratulations to yourselves for your patience, Dostoyevsky fans. And congratulations to those of you who listened to the audiobook.)
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If you’re not into the classics, the longest book you actually read might have been A Game of Thrones: a Song of Ice and Fire. That’s 624 pages and thirty-three hours. Some people call Audible the Netflix of audiobooks, but this audiobook would be much harder to binge. If these seem impossibly long to you, you’re going to have to adjust your standards. The Brothers Karamazov ranks #15 on the list of longest audiobooks, with A Song of Ice and Fire at a respectable #18. You might be asking yourself, “how are these not higher on the list?” This is how:
1. Fifty Lectures
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Takaaki Yoshimoto‘s Fifty Lecturesis what the title would indicate: fifty lectures from Yoshimoto’s long tenure as a philosopher, poet, and literary critic. But the title doesn’t give any indication of the length… which is a lot longer than fifty hours. At 113 hours and forty-three minutes, Fifty Lectures is the longest audiobook of all time. You don’t have to do the math to tell how long that is—but if you did want to do the math, you’d know that listening to the book would take five full consecutive days. Since a commercial flight around the world takes fifty-one minimum hours, it would be faster to do it twice than listen to this entire book.
When you Google search Leo Tolstoy‘s War and Peace, the first suggestion is “War and Peace is so long.” Weighing nearly four pounds, War and Peace is also 1,251 pages and 587,287 words long, making it a serious heavy-hitter. It’s no wonder that, with a monumental page count, it’s sixty-two hours and eighteen minutes long. It would be a wonder if you managed to listen to the whole thing.
4. Les Miserables
Everyone attempting to actually read Les Mis Image Via Pinterest.com
Fans sometimes affectionately, sometimes furiously, refer to Victor Hugo‘s monstrous novel as ‘The Brick.’ Since the novel is large enough to be used as a blunt force murder weapon, the comparison is appropriate. Les Miserables, a story of the rich cultural context of the French Revolution, is one of the world’s longest novels, 1,900 pages in its original French. Naturally, it also contains one of the world’s longest published sentences; this one is over 800 words. Maybe Victor Hugo can pull it off, but your English teacher won’t want you to try. If you can’t get through this sentence, you’re not going to make it through the fifty-six hours and fifty-four minutes of audiobook.
The son of a father to whom history will accord certain attenuating circumstances, but also as worthy of esteem as that father had been of blame; possessing all private virtues and many public virtues; careful of his health, of his fortune, of his person, of his affairs, knowing the value of a minute and not always the value of a year; sober, serene, peaceable, patient; a good man and a good prince; sleeping with his wife, and having in his palace lackeys charged with the duty of showing the conjugal bed to the bourgeois, an ostentation of the regular sleeping-apartment which had become useful after the former illegitimate displays of the elder branch; knowing all the languages of Europe, and, what is more rare, all the languages of all interests, and speaking them; an admirable representative of the “middle class,” but outstripping it, and in every way greater than it; possessing excellent sense, while appreciating the blood from which he had sprung, counting most of all on his intrinsic worth, and, on the question of his race, very particular, declaring himself Orleans and not Bourbon; thoroughly the first Prince of the Blood Royal while he was still only a Serene Highness, but a frank bourgeois from the day he became king; diffuse in public, concise in private; reputed, but not proved to be a miser; at bottom, one of those economists who are readily prodigal at their own fancy or duty; lettered, but not very sensitive to letters; a gentleman, but not a chevalier; simple, calm, and strong; adored by his family and his household; a fascinating talker, an undeceived statesman, inwardly cold, dominated by immediate interest, always governing at the shortest range, incapable of rancor and of gratitude, making use without mercy of superiority on mediocrity, clever in getting parliamentary majorities to put in the wrong those mysterious unanimities which mutter dully under thrones; unreserved, sometimes imprudent in his lack of reserve, but with marvellous address in that imprudence; fertile in expedients, in countenances, in masks; making France fear Europe and Europe France! Incontestably fond of his country, but preferring his family; assuming more domination than authority and more authority than dignity, a disposition which has this unfortunate property, that as it turns everything to success, it admits of ruse and does not absolutely repudiate baseness, but which has this valuable side, that it preserves politics from violent shocks, the state from fractures, and society from catastrophes; minute, correct, vigilant, attentive, sagacious, indefatigable; contradicting himself at times and giving himself the lie; bold against Austria at Ancona, obstinate against England in Spain, bombarding Antwerp, and paying off Pritchard; singing the Marseillaise with conviction, inaccessible to despondency, to lassitude, to the taste for the beautiful and the ideal, to daring generosity, to Utopia, to chimeras, to wrath, to vanity, to fear; possessing all the forms of personal intrepidity; a general at Valmy; a soldier at Jemappes; attacked eight times by regicides and always smiling; brave as a grenadier, courageous as a thinker; uneasy only in the face of the chances of a European shaking up, and unfitted for great political adventures; always ready to risk his life, never his work; disguising his will in influence, in order that he might be obeyed as an intelligence rather than as a king; endowed with observation and not with divination; not very attentive to minds, but knowing men, that is to say requiring to see in order to judge; prompt and penetrating good sense, practical wisdom, easy speech, prodigious memory; drawing incessantly on this memory, his only point of resemblance with Caesar, Alexander, and Napoleon; knowing deeds, facts, details, dates, proper names, ignorant of tendencies, passions, the diverse geniuses of the crowd, the interior aspirations, the hidden and obscure uprisings of souls, in a word, all that can be designated as the invisible currents of consciences; accepted by the surface, but little in accord with France lower down; extricating himself by dint of tact; governing too much and not enough; his own first minister; excellent at creating out of the pettiness of realities an obstacle to the immensity of ideas; mingling a genuine creative faculty of civilization, of order and organization, an indescribable spirit of proceedings and chicanery, the founder and lawyer of a dynasty; having something of Charlemagne and something of an attorney; in short, a lofty and original figure, a prince who understood how to create authority in spite of the uneasiness of France, and power in spite of the jealousy of Europe, — Louis Philippe will be classed among the eminent men of his century, and would be ranked among the most illustrious governors of history had he loved glory but a little, and if he had had the sentiment of what is great to the same degree as the feeling for what is useful.
That sentence was pretty much a brick of text all by itself.
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David McCullough‘s biography of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman is 1,120 pages and 464,000 words, a giant clocking in at fifty-three hours and twenty minutes of audiobook time. Think that’s wild? You’d be right—and at $94 to listen, the price is even crazier. Truman might not be the longest audiobook, but it is the most expensive. If the length doesn’t deter you, the cost might… or maybe your interest in Harry S. Truman surpasses all your other instincts.
Everyone knows Les Miserables, even those of us who think the length is miserablé. It’s pretty likely you’ve seen both the musical or the movie, but neither is the original. It’s far less likely that you’ve read Victor Hugo‘s original Les Miserables, even though it’s packed with hilarious capers, deep friendships, and horrifying deaths. Fans call the novel ‘The Brick’ for a reason—at 1,900 pages, it’s one of the longest novels in history. Given that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 607 pages and needed two movies to cover all the important parts, it’s a little surprising that the Les Miserables movie directors thought that they could tell the story in under three hours. After watching it, some fans thought they would never get the retelling they deserve.
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Devotees of ‘The Brick‘ have one common complaint when it comes to the recent movie and musical: where did 80% of the story go? The novel depicts much deeper relationships between characters… and their relationships to historical events. Those who have read and love ‘The Brick’ also have complaints about the story itself, including and mostly limited to why does Victor Hugo spend hundreds of pages describing the sewers of Paris? Rife with French history and cultural context, the novel occasionally has more in common with a textbook than its honestly monstrous size. So here’s the compromise—a TV show that you won’t die before finishing. (No guarantees that the characters won’t die before the show is over.)
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The series, which has just begun airing on the BBC, will run for six weeks. Jean Valjean actor Dominic West believes that the TV production will remind viewers more of the source material. For those who believe the show will be a rehash of the same plot, West promises that viewers “should expect grand ambition from the series, which avoids the songs of the musical theatre production and 2012 film.” The star-studded cast also features The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesactress Lily Collins and Selma actor David Oyelowo. You’ll want to barricade yourself in your room to finish this one right away!
It looks like Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables has gone from classic novel to beloved musical to Academy Award-winning movie and is now becoming a TV mini-series. The six-part adaption will be a collaboration between BBC One and Masterpiece, and, just like the movie adaption, the cast is star-studded yet again. Dominic West will play Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo will portray Javert, while Lily Collins will take on the role of Fantine, and Adeel Akhtar will play Monsieur Thenardier nad. Madame Thenardier will be played by Olivia Colman.
Image Via Variety
The mini-series will actually be a different take on the story with writer Andrew Davies, adapting storylines from the original novel rather than the musical.
Photos from Deadlinehighlight the show’s main characters: West’s Jean Valjean, Oyelowo’s Javert and Collin’s Fantine.
Image Via Deadline
According to Deadline, the story will focus on the many layers of Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse relationship set against the backdrop of civil in post-Napoleonic France. The series started filming this past February, with Tom Shankland directing.
Other well-known cast members include Ellie Bember (Nocturnal Animals) playing Cosette, Erin Kellyman (Raised By Wolves) as Eponine and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) as Marius.
Executive producers will be Davies and Bethan Jones for BBC Studios, Mona Qureshi for BBC One and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. West and Oyelowo have also taken executive producer credits.
The Weinstein Company was originally associated with the project then their involvement was scrubbed back in October after the slew of allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The mini-series will air later this year on BBC One and Masterpiece.
If you’re a writer out there then you know it can take time to finish a work of art. Whether its a short story or an epic novel, a lot of time and thought goes into finishing a story. I recently wrote an article about 12 challenging books readers struggle to finish and while researching it I learned that it took James Joyce 17 years to finish Finnegans Wake. I repeat 17 years. While that figure seemed shocking, it certainly wasn’t the only story that took a long time to see daylight. Here are 6 popular books that took at least ten years to write:
When he wasn’t writing naughty love letters to his wife Nora or reeling from the success of Ulysses, James Joyce completed Finnegans Wake over the course of 17 years while in Paris, only two years before his death. Given the novels complexity, intricate language, and use of allusions, its no wonder it took the author a long time to write it. Joyce allegedly predicted that it would take readers an equal amount of time to read it and it looks like he was right, as the novels length and complexity make it one of the books readers struggle with finishing the most.
Though the actual figure has been debated, it’s generally accepted that it took Tolkien at least 12 years to finish his iconic trilogy. Tolkien worked on the series in varying degrees between 1937 and 1949 while also working as a professor at Pembroke college. Though it took ages to see publication, the time was clearly worth it as its success has shown.
Since so much time has passed since Les Miserables was published, there is some debate as to whether it took 12 or 17 years to complete but either way, it took a long time. Hugo reportedly began working on the historical novel in 1845 but was forced to put it aside due to political tension and exile for a time until he was able to continue working on it and it was eventually published in 1862.
This iconic American classic was written while Mitchell was recovering from an ankle injury and, interestingly enough, she never actually intended on publishing it. After a friend allegedly said something along the lines of “Imagine, you writing a book!” Mitchell decided to publish it after all and I’m sure her friend regretted saying anything in the first place.
Though The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger’s only novel, and fairly short, it took the author 10 years between the time he started writing it and the time it was published. The novel has gone on to become one of the most read and banned novels of all time. Though it’s been successful, Salinger reportedly struggled with the criticism it received soon after it was published and spent his lifetime regretting having written it.