Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780997228762 Will Publish February 2020

To Love Is to Act

Les Misérables and Victor Hugo’s Vision for Leading Lives of Conscience

Marva A. Barnett

To Love Is to Act

Marva A. Barnett

Distributed for Swan Isle Press

320 pages | 18 halftones | 6 x 9
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780997228762 Will Publish February 2020
“To love is to act”— “Aimer, c’est agir.”  These words, which Victor Hugo wrote three days before he died, epitomize his life’s philosophy. His love of freedom, democracy, and all people—especially the poor and wretched—drove him not only to write his epic Les Misérables but also to follow his conscience. We have much to learn from Hugo, who battled for justice, lobbied against slavery and the death penalty, and fought for the rights of women and children. In a series of essays that interweave Hugo’s life with Les Misérables and point to the novel’s contemporary relevance, To Love Is to Act explores how Hugo reveals his guiding principles for life, including his belief in the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. Enriching the book are insights from artists who captured the novel’s heart in the famed musical, Les Mis creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg,  producer of the musical Les Misérables Cameron Mackintosh, film director Tom Hooper, and award-winning actors who have portrayed Jean Valjean: Colm Wilkinson and Hugh Jackman. 
Review Quotes
Jean-Marc Hovasse, Research Director at the Paris Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
“Marva Barnett, a top expert on Les Misérables, has had a brilliant insight: this novel cannot be reduced to its origins, its making, its publication, or its reception—all of which have been recounted a hundred times. Her goal, instead, is to dive right to the heart of the book: to show what it actually says on life’s essential topics, to explain its undiminished power to fascinate, its eternal newness. To accomplish this, she has concentrated in unparalleled fashion on its most successful adaptation, the record-setting musical—and she offers a contrarian itinerary, a stimulating and lively one that mixes quotes with musings, images with accounts, dialogues with secrets, from Mis to Misérables, from actors to roles, from the movie to the novel.”
Hugh Jackman, actor
“In Les Misérables, Victor Hugo inspires us with both his humanity and his fight to eliminate poverty, which is to me still our greatest issue today. In To Love Is to Act, Marva Barnett insightfully explores Hugo’s call upon us to live through love and conscience, to ask ourselves just what we are prepared to stand up for and what we are prepared to do. Particularly after playing Jean Valjean, I admire Valjean’s tenacity to fight through his regrets and pain and to commit himself to an ideal, to work selflessly for something higher than himself. Readers of To Love Is to Act will find themselves intrigued by Hugo’s guiding life principles and, like fans of Les Mis, aspiring to be better people every day.”
Sir Cameron Mackintosh, producer of the musical Les Misérables
"Victor Hugo’s monumental story remains an uplifting triumph because at its beating heart there is always a ray of light that inspires the survival of the human spirit in a dark, unjust and dangerous world. The story’s social resonance remains as potent now as when it was first published over 150 years ago. The characters of Les Misérables are so brilliantly observed that new generations recognise and embrace them as their own all over the world. That this great novel has also inspired one of the most successful, powerful and emotional musicals of all time is a dream I have no doubt Hugo would have liked to dream himself as it has brought his masterwork to a far wider audience than he could ever have dreamed of."
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