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New Dominion Bookshop to host Les Misérables expert Marva Barnett

New Dominion BookshopNew Dominion Bookshop will host a book talk and signing with author and UVA Professor Emerita Marva Barnett on Saturday, March 28, from 4-5 p.m.

Barnett’s new book, To Love Is to Act: Les Misérables and Victor Hugo’s Vision for Leading Lives of Conscience, will be released from Swan Isle Press this spring.

This launch event is free to attend and open to the public.

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.

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, Barnett was invited to represent the American continent at international Hugo colloquia in ParisHavana, and Guernsey, where she spoke, for example, about the first person to read Les Misérables and about Jean Valjean, emissary of peace.

At UVA, Barnett 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,

About New Dominion Bookshop

Serving Albemarle and Central Virginia since 1924, New Dominion Bookshop is the oldest independent bookseller in Virginia. Located in Historic Downtown Charlottesville, New Dominion is a general trade bookshop that serves as the hub for readings and other literary events in the community.

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