French court clears two Les Miserables sequel novels

December 22nd, 2008 - 2:17 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 22 (ANI): A French court has cleared two modern-day sequels to Victor Hugo’’s classic book Les Miserables, insisting that they do not constitute a threat to the integrity of the original novel.

In 2001, Hugos great, great grandson Pierre had filed a lawsuit against novelist Francois Ceresa, who wrote the two sequels using the characters and style of Les Miserables.

He demanded 685,000 euros in damages from Ceresa, and sought to ban the two books.

However, the court ruled in favour of Ceresa, and said that the Hugos novel was in the public domain, meaning Ceresa was therefore free to invent a sequel.

“Francois Ceresa, who does not pretend to have Victor Hugo’’s talent, is free to pursue his own personal expression, which does not necessarily act on all the levels that Victor Hugo was able to access,” the BBC quoted the judges as saying.

“We can”t criticise the author of this sequel… not to have respected the learned construction of the primary work, which functions on many levels through philosophical and historical asides.

“He is also free to develop the characters that he brings back to life in new situations,” they added.

Hugo’’s family were particularly furious over the resurrection of policeman Inspector Javert, who drowned in the Seine in the course of Les Miserables for the modern sequels.

However, the judges decided it was not sufficient reason to ban the sequels.

“The general spirit of Les Miserables can not be reduced to Javert’’s fate, but embraces a much wider social and philosophical project,” they added. (ANI)

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