Miss Miz: Cosette, the Face of Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables'

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic talk, debate, discussion


This public talk, upon invitation from the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society, was a version of a research paper I'd given in Birmingham the previous year that I'd heavily modified for a public audience of 200. The description was as follows: By the 21st century Cosette had become the ‘face’ of ‘Les Misérables’, but what can the character of Cosette tell us about how Victor Hugo’s most famous work has been read and adapted since it was completed in Guernsey in the early 1860s? As the poster girl for Boublil and Schönberg’s wildly popular stage musical adaptation, Cosette has become emblematic of Les Misérables as a story of romance and revolution, yet her cossetted role as a female character and her rags-to-riches tale have also been criticised for promoting a socially and economically conservative order. In this talk, Hugo specialist Bradley Stephens from the University of Bristol looks at over a century and a half of the novel’s afterlife as one of the most adapted works in literary history and asks what really lies behind the face of Les Misérables.
Period20 May 2017
Event titleMiss Miz? Cosette, the Face of Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables'
Event typeOther


  • Victor Hugo, Gender, Les Miserables, Adaptation