Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables, upon which the musical production is closely based, was published in 1862. Born to a middle-class family, Hugo rose to fame and controversy as a novelist and playwright; his other most famous work is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. During the reign of Napoleon, he jeopardized his life and career by leading rebellious protests against the new Empire. While in exile, he wrote Les Misérables, which was a huge popular success. Notably, neither the novel nor the musical adaptation take place during the French Revolution proper; both are set during the minor

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