80 pages 2 hours read

Victor Hugo

Les Miserables

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1862

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Part 4, Books 1-7Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4, Book 1 Summary: "A Few Pages of History"

The narrator discusses the two years immediately following the July Revolution, which took place in France in 1830. Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815, which gave the French monarchy an opportunity to reestablish itself in France. The new regime struggles to match Napoleon's success, however. France is marked by military failures and growing social inequality, as the monarchy tries to undo any social progress achieved in the revolutionary era. Pressure on the monarchy increases until a revolt breaks out in June 1830. Even after the revolution, however, many of the problems remain. Louis-Philippe is made the King of France, and his attempts to appease the masses succeed only in making everyone even more furious. As such, he is "held responsible for all the charges history lays against him" (605), though the narrator describes how the conditions in France made another revolution inevitable. Social inequities remain, and in 1932 the students rally around Enjolras as he tries to lead another revolt in Faubourg Saint-Antoine, one of the Parisian districts. People make their own ammunition, and the police fail to seize the revolutionaries.