Saturday, January 19, 2013

Books Like This Cannot Be Useless

Have you guys seen Les Miserables? I haven't. I've heard good things, though. People are saying our man Russell Crowe can't sing worth a nickel, which, if it's true, is too bad because his character, Javert, has the most fun song in the world. I don't even love musical theater, and it's hard for me to not bellow out the song Stars at the top of my lungs whenever I hear it. Or think about it.
And so it has beeeen and so it's written on the doorwaaaaay to paradise that those who falter and thooose who fall must paaaaaay the priiiiiice.

 Anyway. I read the book Les Miserables in high school, and loved it. It was, at the time, the longest book I'd ever read and I remember taking a lot of pride in it (and probably, very obnoxiously, lugging the huge hardcover edition I was reading everywhere I went so my loved ones could also take pride--between eye rolls).

There are two parts of this novel that still stay with me -- a passage titled The Lark, in which Cosette is introduced, and the preface. Get a load of this preface, you guys. Lord in heaven. Victor Hugo was not messing around.

SO long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

Take THAT any author who ever has to answer the question "Why did you write this book?"


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