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Virtual Lecture on To Love is To Act: Les Miserables and Victor Hugo

October 14 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Increasingly intrigued that people find Les Misérables uplifting and inspiring despite its tragedies, Professor Marva Barnett began exploring why. In this talk, she’ll recount her journey and its outcome: her new book, To Love Is to Act: Les Misérables and Victor Hugo’s Vision for Leading Lives of Conscience. Victor Hugo’s last written words, “To love is to act,” epitomize his love of freedom, democracy, and all people. In essays interweaving Hugo’s life with Les Misérables and pointing to the novel’s contemporary relevance, To Love Is to Act explores Hugo’s thought-provoking guiding principles. Professor Barnett will also describe how she pursued insights from artists who captured the novel’s heart in the famed musical, including Les Mis creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (who contributed the book’s foreword) and the award-winning Jean Valjean, Hugh Jackman, among others.

An expert on Victor Hugo, University of Virginia Professor Emerita Marva Barnett was named Chevalier des Palmes académiques for her contributions to Hugo studies. She published her bilingual anthology, Victor Hugo on Things That Matter, with Yale University Press in 2010—and is currently creating an all-English version with UVA colleague Robert F. Cook. Her co-edited French volume of 101 letters to Hugo from his lover and muse, Juliette Drouet, appeared in France in 2012. Marva twice hosted Les Mis creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg as UVA artists-in-residence and has discussed Hugo’s Les Misérables with hundreds of UVA undergraduates. In January 2019, she offered in Paris the J-Term course “Victor Hugo’s Paris.” Regularly invited to speak about Hugo in the U.S. and France, Marva recently represented the Americas at the 2019 Havana international colloquium “Victor Hugo, Visionary for Peace.”

Following her lecture, there will be a period of audience Q&A.

Registrants will receive the Zoom link via email prior to the event. We ask that participants register by 12:00 p.m. the day of the event.

If you have questions, email us at uvanyc@uvanyc.org.

RSVP here.