london, Uncategorized

PPFF #161: Les Mis

Good morning,

Apologies for skipping last week’s – a little personal affairs hiccup. Speaking of hiccups it looks like London had something pretty major happen to her this week. Condolences to those who unfortunately lost their lives – not that I knew any of them but hey, it could have been any one of us.

Moving on. To distract myself from all this madness, I pulled out from my bookshelf, a copy of Les Miserables (abridged version, obviously – none of us have any time for that verbose gibberish in its entirety despite the book’s epic masterpiece status). When I started reading the editor’s preface to the book, I came across something interesting (so, yes, I naturally stopped pretending that i actually wanted to read the book itself). The editor claimed to have decided to edit and publish that abridged version in order to make accessible what is otherwise an extremely long book with a large amount of unrelated essays which neither advance the plot (or even subplot) nor reveal anything about its characters – he went on further to explain that this was because back in the days writers in Europe (by which he meant mostly England and France), writers got paid per word. So I was naturally sceptical. Paid by the word? Like ‘old clothes sold by weight‘?

So I did my due diligence to substantiate this claim and it turned out while there’s some truth to it, the editor probably wanted to sound deliberately provocative and sensational. Basically, Les Mis was a serial novel published in installments in periodicals – basically a 19th century equivalent of a box-set (think ‘Game of Thrones’ rather than recycled clothes). Just like the series that we see on Netflix today, back in the days writers would keep going only if the story proved to be popular, or if not, the publisher would kill off the story. Just like I might kill off this blog if no one reads it.

Have a good Friday