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The Man Who Laughs

By Victor Hugo
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Book Description

Ursus was a man, Homo a wolf: the former a travelling mountebank, the latter his faithful companion. Gwynplaine was abducted as an infant, and cruelly mutilated so that his face shows the permanent smile of a clown. Abandoned by his abductors some years later, Gwynplaine rescues a blind baby girl from the frozen corpse of her mother at the foot of a gibbet. Time passes, and the young girl christened Dea comes to love Gwynplaine. Being blind, she is unaware of his disfigurement, but from passing her fingers over his face, assumes that he is always happy. Ursus and Homo meet up with Gwynplaine and Dea, and travel around England performing at funfairs. After some vicissitudes, Gwynplaine is, surprisingly, summoned to the court of Queen Anne, where it is revealed that he is in fact the missing heir of the murdered Lord Linnaeus Clancharlie, Marquis of Corleone. He is, accordingly, installed as an English peer; but when he addresses the House of Lords is ridiculed for his clownish features. He renounces his peerage and rejoins his companions, who resolve to abandon England forever. During the voyage, while Ursus sleeps, Dea reveals to Gwynplaine her secret passion for him, then dies. Gwynplaine drowns himself. Victor Hugos gothic tale has been the inspiration of numerous plays, films (the first in 1909) novels and short stories. Following a distinguished career as a civil servant, James Hogarth acquired a reputation as a versatile and punctilious translator. His translations span travel guides, archaeological texts, and novels. In 2002 he won the French-American Foundation Translation Prize for his English translation of Victor Hugos Travailleurs de la Mer. He died in 2006.

Table of Contents
  • The Man Who Laughs
  • A Romance of English History
    • CONTENTS.
      • Preliminary Chapter.—Ursus
      • Another Preliminary Chapter.—The Comprachicos
    • PART I.
    • BOOK THE FIRST.—NIGHT NOT SO BLACK AS MAN.
      • I.—Portland Bill
      • II.—Left Alone
      • III.—Alone
      • IV.—Questions
      • V.—The Tree of Human Invention
      • VI.—Struggle between Death and Night
      • VII.—The North Point of Portland
    • BOOK THE SECOND.—THE HOOKER AT SEA.
      • I.—Superhuman Laws
      • II.—Our First Rough Sketches Filled in
      • III.—Troubled Men on the Troubled Sea
      • IV.—A Cloud Different from the Others enters on the Scene
      • V.—Hardquanonne
      • VI.—They Think that Help is at Hand
      • VII.—Superhuman Horrors
      • VIII.—Nix et Nox
      • IX.—The Charge Confided to a Raging Sea
      • X.—The Colossal Savage, the Storm
      • XI.—The Caskets
      • XII.—Face to Face with the Rock
      • XIII.—Face to Face with Night
      • XIV.—Ortach
      • XV.—Portentosum Mare
      • XVI.—The Problem Suddenly Works in Silence
      • XVII.—The Last Resource
      • XVIII.—The Highest Resource
    • BOOK THE THIRD.—THE CHILD IN THE SHADOW.
      • I.—Chesil
      • II.—The Effect of Snow
      • III.—A Burden Makes a Rough Road Rougher
      • IV.—Another Form of Desert
      • V.—Misanthropy Plays Its Pranks
      • VI.—The Awaking
    • PART II.
    • BOOK THE FIRST.—THE EVERLASTING PRESENCE OF THE PAST. MAN REFLECTS MAN.
      • I.—Lord Clancharlie
      • II.—Lord David Dirry-Moir
      • III.—The Duchess Josiana
      • IV.—The Leader of Fashion
      • V.—Queen Anne
      • VI.—Barkilphedro
      • VII.—Barkilphedro Gnaws His Way
      • VIII.—Inferi
      • IX.—Hate is as Strong as Love
      • X.—The Flame which would be Seen if Man were Transparent
      • XI.—Barkilphedro in Ambuscade
      • XII.—Scotland, Ireland, and England
    • BOOK THE SECOND.—GWYNPLAINE AND DEA.
      • I.—Wherein we see the Face of Him of whom we have hitherto seen only the Acts
      • II.—Dea
      • III.—"Oculos non Habet, et Videt"
      • IV.—Well-matched Lovers
      • V.—The Blue Sky through the Black Cloud
      • VI.—Ursus as Tutor, and Ursus as Guardian
      • VII.—Blindness Gives Lessons in Clairvoyance
      • VIII.—Not only Happiness, but Prosperity
      • IX.—Absurdities which Folks without Taste call Poetry
      • X.—An Outsider's View of Men and Things
      • XI.—Gwynplaine Thinks Justice, and Ursus Talks Truth
      • XII.—Ursus the Poet Drags on Ursus the Philosopher
    • BOOK THE THIRD.—THE BEGINNING OF THE FISSURE.
      • I.—The Tadcaster Inn
      • II.—Open-Air Eloquence
      • III.—Where the Passer-by Reappears
      • IV.—Contraries Fraternize in Hate
      • V.—The Wapentake
      • VI.—The Mouse Examined by the Cats
      • VII.—Why Should a Gold Piece Lower Itself by Mixing with a Heap of Pennies?
      • VIII.—Symptoms of Poisoning
      • IX.—Abyssus Abyssum Vocat
    • BOOK THE FOURTH.—THE CELL OF TORTURE.
      • I.—The Temptation of St. Gwynplaine
      • II.—From Gay to Grave
      • III.—Lex, Rex, Fex
      • IV.—Ursus Spies the Police
      • V.—A Fearful Place
      • VI.—The Kind of Magistracy under the Wigs of Former Days
      • VII.—Shuddering
      • VIII.—Lamentation
    • BOOK THE FIFTH.—THE SEA AND FATE ARE MOVED BY THE SAME BREATH.
      • I.—The Durability of Fragile Things
      • II.—The Waif Knows Its Own Course
      • III.—An Awakening
      • IV.—Fascination
      • V.—We Think We Remember; We Forget
    • BOOK THE SIXTH.—URSUS UNDER DIFFERENT ASPECTS.
      • I.—What the Misanthrope said
      • II.—What He did
      • III.—Complications
      • IV.—Moenibus Surdis Campana Muta
      • V.—State Policy Deals with Little Matters as Well as with Great
    • BOOK THE SEVENTH.—THE TITANESS.
      • I.—The Awakening
      • II.—The Resemblance of a Palace to a Wood
      • III.—Eve
      • IV.—Satan
      • V.—They Recognize, but do not Know, Each Other
    • BOOK THE EIGHTH.—THE CAPITOL AND THINGS AROUND IT.
      • I.—Analysis of Majestic Matters
      • II.—Impartiality
      • III.—The Old Hall
      • IV.—The Old Chamber
      • V.—Aristocratic Gossip
      • VI.—The High and the Low
      • VII.—Storms of Men are Worse than Storms of Oceans
      • VIII.—He would be a Good Brother, were he not a Good Son
    • BOOK THE NINTH.—IN RUINS.
      • I.—It is through Excess of Greatness that Man reaches Excess of Misery
      • II.—The Dregs
    • CONCLUSION.—THE NIGHT AND THE SEA.
      • I.—A Watch-dog may be a Guardian Angel
      • II.—Barkilphedro, having aimed at the Eagle, brings down the Dove
      • III.—Paradise Regained Below
      • IV.—Nay; on High!
  • THE LAUGHING MAN.
    • A ROMANCE OF ENGLISH HISTORY.
  • PRELIMINARY CHAPTER.
    • URSUS.
    • I.
    • II.
    • III.
    • IV.
  • ANOTHER PRELIMINARY CHAPTER.
    • THE COMPRACHICOS.
    • I.
    • II.
    • III.
    • IV.
    • V.
    • VI.
  • PART I.
  • BOOK THE FIRST.
    • NIGHT NOT SO BLACK AS MAN.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • PORTLAND BILL.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • LEFT ALONE.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • ALONE.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • QUESTIONS.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • THE TREE OF HUMAN INVENTION.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • STRUGGLE BETWEEN DEATH AND LIFE.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • THE NORTH POINT OF PORTLAND.
  • BOOK THE SECOND.
    • THE HOOKER AT SEA.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • SUPERHUMAN LAWS.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • OUR FIRST ROUGH SKETCHES FILLED IN.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • TROUBLED MEN ON THE TROUBLED SEA.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • A CLOUD DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS ENTERS ON THE SCENE.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • HARDQUANONNE.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • THEY THINK THAT HELP IS AT HAND.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • SUPERHUMAN HORRORS.
  • CHAPTER VIII.
    • NIX ET NOX.
  • CHAPTER IX.
    • THE CHARGE CONFIDED TO A RAGING SEA.
  • CHAPTER X.
    • THE COLOSSAL SAVAGE, THE STORM.
  • CHAPTER XI.
    • THE CASKETS.
  • CHAPTER XII.
    • FACE TO FACE WITH THE ROCK.
  • CHAPTER XIII.
    • FACE TO FACE WITH NIGHT.
  • CHAPTER XIV.
    • ORTACH.
  • CHAPTER XV.
    • PORTENTOSUM MARE.
  • CHAPTER XVI.
    • THE PROBLEM SUDDENLY WORKS IN SILENCE.
  • CHAPTER XVII.
    • THE LAST RESOURCE.
  • CHAPTER XVIII.
    • THE HIGHEST RESOURCE.
  • BOOK THE THIRD.
    • THE CHILD IN THE SHADOW.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • CHESIL.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • THE EFFECT OF SNOW.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • A BURDEN MAKES A ROUGH ROAD ROUGHER.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • ANOTHER FORM OF DESERT.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • MISANTHROPY PLAYS ITS PRANKS.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • THE AWAKING.
  • PART II.
  • BOOK THE FIRST.
    • THE EVERLASTING PRESENCE OF THE PAST: MAN REFLECTS MAN.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • LORD CLANCHARLIE.
    • I.
    • II.
    • III.
    • IV.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • LORD DAVID DIRRY-MOIR.
    • I.
    • II.
    • III.
    • IV.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • THE DUCHESS JOSIANA.
    • II.
    • III.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • THE LEADER OF FASHION.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • QUEEN ANNE.
    • I.
    • II.
    • III.
    • IV.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • BARKILPHEDRO.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • BARKILPHEDRO GNAWS HIS WAY.
  • CHAPTER VIII.
    • INFERI.
  • CHAPTER IX.
    • HATE IS AS STRONG AS LOVE.
  • CHAPTER X.
    • THE FLAME WHICH WOULD BE SEEN IF MAN WERE TRANSPARENT.
  • CHAPTER XI.
    • BARKILPHEDRO IN AMBUSCADE.
  • CHAPTER XII.
    • SCOTLAND, IRELAND, AND ENGLAND.
  • BOOK THE SECOND.
    • GWYNPLAINE AND DEA.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • WHEREIN WE SEE THE FACE OF HIM OF WHOM WE HAVE HITHERTO SEEN ONLY THE ACTS.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • DEA.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • "OCULOS NON HABET, ET VIDET."
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • WELL-MATCHED LOVERS.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • THE BLUE SKY THROUGH THE BLACK CLOUD.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • URSUS AS TUTOR, AND URSUS AS GUARDIAN.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • BLINDNESS GIVES LESSONS IN CLAIRVOYANCE.
  • CHAPTER VIII.
    • NOT ONLY HAPPINESS, BUT PROSPERITY.
  • CHAPTER IX.
    • ABSURDITIES WHICH FOLKS WITHOUT TASTE CALL POETRY.
  • CHAPTER X.
    • AN OUTSIDER'S VIEW OF MEN AND THINGS.
  • CHAPTER XI.
    • GWYNPLAINE THINKS JUSTICE, AND URSUS TALKS TRUTH.
  • CHAPTER XII.
    • URSUS THE POET DRAGS ON URSUS THE PHILOSOPHER.
  • BOOK THE THIRD.
    • THE BEGINNING OF THE FISSURE.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • THE TADCASTER INN.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • OPEN-AIR ELOQUENCE.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • WHERE THE PASSER-BY REAPPEARS.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • CONTRARIES FRATERNIZE IN HATE.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • THE WAPENTAKE.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • THE MOUSE EXAMINED BY THE CATS.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • WHY SHOULD A GOLD PIECE LOWER ITSELF BY MIXING WITH A HEAP OF PENNIES?
  • CHAPTER VIII.
    • SYMPTOMS OF POISONING.
  • CHAPTER IX.
    • ABYSSUS ABYSSUM VOCAT.
  • BOOK THE FOURTH.
    • THE CELL OF TORTURE.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • THE TEMPTATION OF ST. GWYNPLAINE.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • FROM GAY TO GRAVE.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • LEX, REX, FEX.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • URSUS SPIES THE POLICE.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • A FEARFUL PLACE.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • THE KIND OF MAGISTRACY UNDER THE WIGS OF FORMER DAYS.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • SHUDDERING.
  • CHAPTER VIII.
    • LAMENTATION.
  • BOOK THE FIFTH.
    • THE SEA AND FATE ARE MOVED BY THE SAME BREATH.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • THE DURABILITY OF FRAGILE THINGS.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • THE WAIF KNOWS ITS OWN COURSE.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • AN AWAKENING.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • FASCINATION.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • WE THINK WE REMEMBER; WE FORGET.
  • BOOK THE SIXTH.
    • URSUS UNDER DIFFERENT ASPECTS.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • WHAT THE MISANTHROPE SAID.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • WHAT HE DID.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • COMPLICATIONS.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • MOENIBUS SURDIS CAMPANA MUTA.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • STATE POLICY DEALS WITH LITTLE MATTERS AS WELL AS WITH GREAT.
  • BOOK THE SEVENTH.
    • THE TITANESS.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • THE AWAKENING.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • THE RESEMBLANCE OF A PALACE TO A WOOD.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • EVE.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • SATAN.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • THEY RECOGNIZE, BUT DO NOT KNOW, EACH OTHER.
  • BOOK THE EIGHTH.
    • THE CAPITOL AND THINGS AROUND IT.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • ANALYSIS OF MAJESTIC MATTERS.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • IMPARTIALITY.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • THE OLD HALL.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • THE OLD CHAMBER.
  • CHAPTER V.
    • ARISTOCRATIC GOSSIP.
  • CHAPTER VI.
    • THE HIGH AND THE LOW.
  • CHAPTER VII.
    • STORMS OF MEN ARE WORSE THAN STORMS OF OCEANS.
  • CHAPTER VIII.
    • HE WOULD BE A GOOD BROTHER, WERE HE NOT A GOOD SON.
  • BOOK THE NINTH.
    • IN RUINS.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • IT IS THROUGH EXCESS OF GREATNESS THAT MAN REACHES EXCESS OF MISERY.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • THE DREGS.
  • CONCLUSION.
    • THE NIGHT AND THE SEA.
  • CHAPTER I.
    • A WATCH-DOG MAY BE A GUARDIAN ANGEL.
  • CHAPTER II.
    • BARKILPHEDRO, HAVING AIMED AT THE EAGLE, BRINGS DOWN THE DOVE.
  • CHAPTER III.
    • PARADISE REGAINED BELOW.
  • CHAPTER IV.
    • NAY; ON HIGH!
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