Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: Illustrations by Émile Bayard
When Les Misérables was first published in 1862, it was illustrated by Émile Bayard, whose rendering of little Cosette perfectly captures the essence of what Hugo means by les misérables. To me it’s mostly in the eyes and the tiny mouth, but the massive broom in her hands as she sweeps adds to the sadness. Bayard’s image of Cosette’s face is known the world over, thanks to the Cameron Mackintosh musical, as it was adapted and used in countless promotional posters, advertisements, album covers–almost anything connected with the musical.
But Bayard created dozens of other illustrations for the novel, many of which you’ve already seen if you’ve been following the read-along here at One Catholic Life or on Twitter. I love his illustrations and will continue to use them as we make our way through the book. For this week’s post I’m recapping some of my favorite images so far, along with a few I didn’t get the chance to use. Do you have a favorite among them? All of the following images illustrate scenes from the first forty-two chapters of the book–no spoilers, now!