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Thoughts: The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who LaughsThe Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, pathetic division of an intellect, of a will, of a brain, between two brothers who are enemies! the Phantom of Poverty and the Phantom of Wealth! Abel and Cain in the same man!

Romanticism at its finest – or should I say at its most indulgent.

Hugo weaves a tale thematically similar to his others – ascending his poetic podium to lecture on the plight of the socially disenfranchised and the tragically fated – with his signature ability to embellish dualities which simultaneously describe unity between characters and symbols. If we follow him; find our place in his monolithic scope of the human experience, we may even catch a glimpse of warm redemption and happiness within the .

I enjoyed the symbolic feuds and implied parleys. I appreciated the ideas. But I did not myself envision any of them. Hugo takes it upon himself to think for the reader – to analyze every thought-process and action, every scene and character dynamic, leaving the poor reader to either swallow the spoonfuls or reject them outright. But what real choice do we have but to swallow them? It is, afterall, Victor Hugo.

Nevertheless, I admit that his analyses, his definitive romantic tendency to “tell” rather than “show”, even with flawlessly chosen words and artful dictation, burdened the reading experience with a sense of arduous journeying rather than blissful discovery.

But I cannot think of any better lecturer than Victor Hugo.

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Posted by on October 11, 2014 in Victor Hugo

 

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