Sentiments Abstractly Christian by Addison H. Hart

Sentiments Abstractly Christian

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, and the Catholic Imagination

by Addison H. Hart

In 1985, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables opened to less than enthusiastic critical acclaim. The majority of critics were dismissive of the production. “There is a string of impressive sights over the three-and-a-quarter hours,” wrote John Hiley, “but little to grip the ear and still less to trouble the mind.”1 Susie Mackenzie chimed in: “[O]ur admiration is solicited not on the grounds of something truthful and profound, not on the grounds of something intelligent and stimulating, but on the grounds of melodrama, contrivance and artifice.”2 Lynn Gardner called the production a “load of sentimental old tosh,”3 and Christopher Edwards wrote it off as simply “sentimental and melodramatic.”4

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Addison H. Hart is retired from active ministry as parish priest and university chaplain. He is the author of Knowing Darkness: On Skepticism, Melancholy, Friendship, and God and The Yoke of Jesus: A School for the Soul in Solitude (both from Eerdmans). His forthcoming book is a study of the Sermon on the Mount. He lives and writes in Norheimsund, Norway.


more on Catholic from the online archives

29.3—May/June 2016

Health of the Nation

A Deathbed Reflection on Catholic Social Teaching & Our Future Prospects by Karl D. Stephan

27.5—Sept/Oct 2014

The Hundred Years' War

The Culture of Death's Campaign Against the Catholic Church by Brantly Millegan

31.6—November/December 2018

Enduring Sacrilege

The Slow Vindication of Leon Podles by S. M. Hutchens

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

25.3—May/Jun 2012

The Soul of Liberty

Calls for Freedom, Democracy & Secularism End Up with None of the Above by Hunter Baker

32.3—May/June 2019

Theodicies & Messy Desks

on the Infinite Problem of Goods & Evil by Hugh Hunter

27.6—Nov/Dec 2014

Tales of Forbidden Stereotypes

Real-Life Men & Women & the Tragic Loss of Human Comedy by Anthony Esolen

00