09:00 Conference registration in the Harry Bound Room at Les Côtils Centre.
09:30 Beautiful inside & out, by Gérard Audinet
‘Beautiful inside and out.’ Does the soul have a face? We are all familiar with the concept of ‘inner beauty,’ but how do artists approach the problem of depicting it? This illustrated talk will reflect on the representations of ugliness and beauty in later arts and media of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Man who Laughs.’
10: 30 Break for discussion, coffee or tea
11:00 Justice in The Man who laughs, by Myriam Roman
The novel examines the judicial system and questions its contribution to a horrifying perversion of the sacred nature of justice. It seems unique in asking a fundamental question: is there such a thing as divine injustice?, through a set of metaphors which conjure up, on a cosmic scale, terrifying images of trial and punishment.
12:00 Victor Hugo & The sea by Gregory Stevens Cox
Book launch. At the start of his exile, Hugo set himself a grand project – to study l’Océan. He threw himself into the project with enthusiasm – he learned about all aspects of the sea. He wove his knowledge, sentiments, and observations into his poetry and into two great novels – ‘The Toilers of the Sea’ and ‘The Man who Laughs.’
12:30 Buffet lunch
13:30 L’Homme qui rit & its many faces, by Bradley Stevens
150 Years of Grins and Grimaces. This illustrated talk discusses the story’s diverse appeal and various guises in print, on screen, and on stage, including Bristol Old Vic’s acclaimed musical entitled ‘The Grinning Man’. Drawing on his interviews with the show’s cast and creative team.
14:30 Disability & deformity in L’Homme qui rit, by HannaH Thompson
‘L’Homme qui rit’ is a novel about the power of non-normative bodies. This illustrated talk will argue that Hugo’s depictions of his characters’ disabilities and deformities are surprisingly modern: rather than seeing disability as a problem, Hugo celebrates it as a radical and politically progressive way of life.
15:30 Break for discussion, tea or coffee.
16:00 How The man who laughs was received, by Gérard Pouchain
The verdicts of Juliette Drouet and the caricaturists. How did Victor Hugo’s masterwork go down with his most acute, but very different, critics?
16:30 – 17:00 Speakers Panel, Q & A
18:00 Conference Supper on Les Côtils Terrace.
20:00 An evening celebrating the music of Boublil and Schönberg at St. James Concert Hall
Together with lyricist Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg created two of the greatest international successes in the history of musical theatre, ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘Miss Saigon.’ In a rare public encounter, Claude-Michel Schönberg will sit down with writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson to discuss his journey from songwriter, record producer and singer.