Poetry Madness
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview



Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
  1. $19.59 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$9.98
Sale Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and "Les Miserables"

by

The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and "Les Miserables" Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It was one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century and Tolstoy called it "the greatest of all novels." Yet today Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is neglected by readers and undervalued by critics. In The Temptation of the Impossible, one of the world's great novelists, Mario Vargas Llosa, helps us to appreciate the incredible ambition, power, and beauty of Hugo's masterpiece and, in the process, presents a humane vision of fiction as an alternative reality that can help us imagine a different and better world.

Hugo, Vargas Llosa says, had at least two goals in Les Misérables--to create a complete fictional world and, through it, to change the real world. Despite the impossibility of these aims, Hugo makes them infectious, sweeping up the reader with his energy and linguistic and narrative skill. Les Misérables, Vargas Llosa argues, embodies a utopian vision of literature--the idea that literature can not only give us a supreme experience of beauty, but also make us more virtuous citizens, and even grant us a glimpse of the "afterlife, the immortal soul, God." If Hugo's aspiration to transform individual and social life through literature now seems innocent, Vargas Llosa says, it is still a powerful ideal that great novels like Les Misérables can persuade us is true.

Review:

"The volcanic hugeness of the novel does not seek to change reality but to replace it." Benjamin Lytal, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"In The Temptation of the Impossible, one of the world's great novelists, Mario Vargas Llosa, helps us to appreciate the incredible ambition, power, and beauty of Hugo's masterpiece. Victor Brombert, Fabula

Review:

"Among the best parts are when Vargas Llosa goes at it from a writer's point of view." The Complete Review

Review:

"Novelist Mario Vargas Llosa contributes to the canon with his provoking and insightful study of 19th century French novelist." Robert Hicks, San Francisco Chronicle

Synopsis:

"It is always interesting when a writer of Vargas Llosa's distinction discusses a great novelist, bringing to bear a luminous awareness of the craft of fiction. The Temptation of the Impossible is written with considerable zest, discrimination, and enthusiasm. Raising practical and theoretical points about the art of the novel, Vargas Llosa never loses sight of Hugo's specific achievement. I recommend this book without hesitation."--Victor Brombert, author of Trains of Thought

Synopsis:

It was one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century and Tolstoy called it "the greatest of all novels." Yet today Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is neglected by readers and undervalued by critics. In The Temptation of the Impossible, one of the world's great novelists, Mario Vargas Llosa, helps us to appreciate the incredible ambition, power, and beauty of Hugo's masterpiece and, in the process, presents a humane vision of fiction as an alternative reality that can help us imagine a different and better world.

Hugo, Vargas Llosa says, had at least two goals in Les Misérables--to create a complete fictional world and, through it, to change the real world. Despite the impossibility of these aims, Hugo makes them infectious, sweeping up the reader with his energy and linguistic and narrative skill. Les Misérables, Vargas Llosa argues, embodies a utopian vision of literature--the idea that literature can not only give us a supreme experience of beauty, but also make us more virtuous citizens, and even grant us a glimpse of the "afterlife, the immortal soul, God." If Hugo's aspiration to transform individual and social life through literature now seems innocent, Vargas Llosa says, it is still a powerful ideal that great novels like Les Misérables can persuade us is true.

About the Author

Mario Vargas Llosa is a prolific novelist and essayist whose literary criticism includes "A Writer's Reality, Letters to a Young Novelist", and studies of Flaubert and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.. One of his books of essays, "Making Waves" (Penguin), won the National Book Critics Circle Award. His novels include "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto", and "The Feast of the Goat". Born in Peru, he now divides his time among Lima, London, and Madrid.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Victor Hugo, the Ocean 1

Chapter I. The Divine Stenographer 11

Chapter II. The Dark Vein of Destiny 34

The Law of Chance or the Order of Coincidence 34

The Irresistible Traps 41

The Ambush in the Gorbeau Tenement 43

The Barricade at la Chanvrerie 45

The Paris Sewers 47

Elusive Freedom 52

Chapter III. Touchy Monsters 56

A Character without Qualities 57

The Saint 61

The Just Man 65

A Puritan World 70

The Fanatic 75

An Angel with a Dirty Face 80

Collective Characters 84

Chapter IV. The Great Theater of the World 87

Adjectives to Describe the Show 89

Performance, Beauty, and Life 92

Light and Shadow 95

Sets 96

The Victor at Waterloo 97

Human Putrefaction 98

Life as Fiction 102

Chapter V. Rich, Poor, Leisured, Idle, and Marginal 105

Reformist Idealism 110

The Just 114

A Society Rebuilt 118

The Victims: Confinement and Women 120

A Source of Social Injustice: The Law 122

A Stupid and Cruel Monster 124

Chapter VI. Civilized Barbarians 131

Long Live Death! 132

Slow-Motion Progress 134

Victor Hugo and the Insurrection of 1832 138

Chapter VII. From Heaven Above 146

The Enumeration of the Infinite 148

Attempting the Impossible 154

The Total Novel or the Deicidal Impulse 156

Chapter VIII. The Temptation of the Impossible 165

Notes 179

Index 185

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691131115
Author:
Vargas Llosa, Mario
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Translator:
King, John
Author:
King, John
Author:
Llosa, Mario Vargas
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
European - French
Subject:
Hugo, Victor
Subject:
French
Subject:
Comparative Literature
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
May 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

Other books you might like

  1. Complete Dictionary of Symbols Used Trade Paper $12.95
  2. Crime and Punishment Used Mass Market $3.50
  3. Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme... New Trade Paper $18.25
  4. The French Revolution: A History... Used Trade Paper $10.00

Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
» Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
» Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » World Wildlife

The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and "Les Miserables" Sale Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.98 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691131115 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The volcanic hugeness of the novel does not seek to change reality but to replace it."
"Review" by , "In The Temptation of the Impossible, one of the world's great novelists, Mario Vargas Llosa, helps us to appreciate the incredible ambition, power, and beauty of Hugo's masterpiece.
"Review" by , "Among the best parts are when Vargas Llosa goes at it from a writer's point of view."
"Review" by , "Novelist Mario Vargas Llosa contributes to the canon with his provoking and insightful study of 19th century French novelist."
"Synopsis" by , "It is always interesting when a writer of Vargas Llosa's distinction discusses a great novelist, bringing to bear a luminous awareness of the craft of fiction. The Temptation of the Impossible is written with considerable zest, discrimination, and enthusiasm. Raising practical and theoretical points about the art of the novel, Vargas Llosa never loses sight of Hugo's specific achievement. I recommend this book without hesitation."--Victor Brombert, author of Trains of Thought
"Synopsis" by , It was one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century and Tolstoy called it "the greatest of all novels." Yet today Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is neglected by readers and undervalued by critics. In The Temptation of the Impossible, one of the world's great novelists, Mario Vargas Llosa, helps us to appreciate the incredible ambition, power, and beauty of Hugo's masterpiece and, in the process, presents a humane vision of fiction as an alternative reality that can help us imagine a different and better world.

Hugo, Vargas Llosa says, had at least two goals in Les Misérables--to create a complete fictional world and, through it, to change the real world. Despite the impossibility of these aims, Hugo makes them infectious, sweeping up the reader with his energy and linguistic and narrative skill. Les Misérables, Vargas Llosa argues, embodies a utopian vision of literature--the idea that literature can not only give us a supreme experience of beauty, but also make us more virtuous citizens, and even grant us a glimpse of the "afterlife, the immortal soul, God." If Hugo's aspiration to transform individual and social life through literature now seems innocent, Vargas Llosa says, it is still a powerful ideal that great novels like Les Misérables can persuade us is true.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.