The story continues as Ursus takes care of Gwynplaine and the baby, Dea, using Gwynplaine and his clown-like deformity in a comedic performance at fairs and carnivals to make money.
Author: Victor Hugo
Publisher: Boston : Estes and Lauriat
Category: French fiction
The Man Who Laughs features one of Hugo's most compelling characters, Gwynplaine, a boy whose face has been forcibly deformed to appear as though he is always smiling. After being attacked and abandoned, Gwynplaine finds a blind, orphaned infant in the wilderness. Nearly starving himself, he carries the dying baby to a nearby shack, the home of carnival performer, Ursus, and his pet wolf, Homo.?The story continues as Ursus takes care of Gwynplaine and the baby, Dea, using Gwynplaine and his clown-like deformity in a comedic performance at fairs and carnivals to make money. Gwynplaine falls in love with Dea, and just before confessing his love, is taken away by Wapentake, a servant of Queen Anne. After an incredibly interesting series of events, Gwynplaine escapes to reunite with his family, but he may be too late.?Although one of Hugo's more obscure works, The Man Who Laughs has been alluded to in several contemporary films and writings. H.G. Wells'?The Island of Doctor Moreau refers to the novel when Moreau is explaining the nature of his crazy experiments. J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories features a short story entitled The Laughing Man featuring a disfigured character. Most notably, the appearance of the Joker from the famous Batman comics and movies was inspired by the clown-like, permanent smile of Gwynplaine. While certainly not his most famous work, Hugo's The Man Who Laughs has made a lasting impression, even over 100 years after it was written.