The Last Day of a Condemned Man by Victor Hugo

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"Before hearing my death sentence I was aware that my lungs breathed, that my heart beat, and that my body lived in the community of other men; now, I plainly saw that a barrier had sprung up between them and me. Nothing was the same as before." The imprisoned narrator of this profoundly moving novel awaits execution—and waits, and waits. Although his guilt is undeniable, his essential humanity emerges as he struggles with the certainty of impending death.
Victor Hugo's impassioned early work carries the same power and universality as Les Misérables. A vocal opponent to the barbarity of the guillotine, Hugo attempted to arouse compassion in the service of justice. This tale distills his beliefs and offers a highly significant contribution to the ongoing debate over the death penalty. A new Foreword by activist David Dow examines the message and relevance of Hugo's story to modern society.

About Victor Hugo

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Laurence M. Porter has published twelve books, including Victor Hugo (1999), and a hundred articles and chapters. He was a National Endowment for the Humanties Senior Fellow in 1998. He teaches French at Michigan State University, where he won the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1995.
Published March 7, 2012 by Dover Publications. 128 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

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This impassioned early (1829) work, which depicts the "six-week death agony and . . . day-long death rattle" of a condemned prisoner awaiting execution, isn't so much fiction as it is a broadside against the barbarity of the guillotine.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Last Day of a Condemned Man

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