Join us as we celebrate the release of Marva Barnett’s book To Love Is to Act: Les Misérables and Victor Hugo’s Vision for Leading Lives of Conscience. A signing will follow. This event will be free and open to the public.
About the Book: Victor Hugo’s last written words, “To love is to act,” epitomize his philosophy. Hugo’s love of freedom, democracy, and all people—especially the poor and wretched—drove him not only to write his epic Les Misérables but also to follow his conscience. In essays interweaving Hugo’s life with Les Misérables and pointing to the novel’s contemporary relevance, To Love Is to Act explores his thought-provoking guiding principles, including his belief in the transfigurative power of forgiveness, love’s essential divinity, and our potential for change and redemption in the midst of struggle.
Enriching the book are insights from artists who captured the novel’s heart in the famed musical: Les Mis creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (who contributed the book’s foreword), producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, director Tom Hooper, and two award-winning Jean Valjeans, Colm Wilkinson and Hugh Jackman.
About the Author: Marva Barnett has been named Chevalier des Palmes académiques in recognition of her contributions to Victor Hugo studies. A University of Virginia Professor Emerita, she has published Victor Hugo on Things That Matter with Yale University Press and, in France, a co-edited volume of letters to Hugo from his lover and muse, Juliette Drouet.
Most recently, Marva was invited to represent the American continent at international Hugo colloquia in Paris, Havana, and Guernsey, where she spoke, for example, about the first person to read Les Misérables and about Jean Valjean, emissary of peace. At UVA, Marva has taught Les Misérables to hundreds of undergraduates and hosted Les Mis creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg as artists-in-residence in 2014 and 2017. Marva connects with her readers through her website, marvabarnett.com.