Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Invited talk
University of Birmingham: French Research Lectures
My lecture was entitled: 'Miss Miz: the Face of 'Les Misérables' in Popular Culture'. The character of the waif Cosette has become central to the ongoing phenomenon of 'Les Misérables' thanks to her status as the poster girl for the 1980s stage adaptation, which has become the world's longest running musical. But this status reveals deep tensions in the cultural reception of Hugo’s novel and its afterlives. This lecture explored both the overlooked complexities of how Hugo figures gender and how adapters have subsequently represented the character of Cosette. Drawing on recent developments in both adaptation studies and gender studies, this book ascertains how one of France’s most enduring exports has been appropriated by different adapters, and what these fortunes reveal about what Hugo’s story has come to mean for contemporary audiences. Adhering to a methodology which understands adaptations as meaningful and multimedia readings of a source, I address the various cultural functions that Hugo’s story may be seen to perform today.