Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is a literary classic showcasing the world of peasants in France during the 19th century. While this novel is loved and adored by many across the world, understanding the historical context around it can be extremely difficult. This is due to the many years the novel spans and the location of France. The goal of this digital humanities project is to visually illustrate the historical moments surrounding the timeline of Les Mis, as well as connect them to the storyline. This would be done on one cohesive timeline that is easily scrollable and readable. Having both historical events and plot points on the same timeline allows scholars and students to easily make connections between the story of the novel, as well as the world surrounding it. This will save a great deal of time during the research process as it will give a solid jumping off point for deeper research in the text and the history, and a reference for an overall understanding.
The historical events surrounding the timeline of the book would be highlighted in one colour, and the plot points of the book would be highlighted in another colour. When accessing the timeline, not only will dates be available for historical events, but if possible location. When looking at plot points, short summaries of the events will be available to better contextualize the point. While I do not have a specific program that I have decided to use for this project, some promising timeline creation programs are Sutori, my Histro, and Timeline Js. However, I am still exploring other options to find the best fit for this project. As well as the timeline, a private comment and annotation tool will be available for users to make notes and annotations, making this project even more beneficial to their research. While these comments and annotations will be private, there will be a space for users to share ideas and ask questions about the novel and its history.
While this digital humanities project would initially begin with just Les Miserables, this platform would make it possible for scholars to add and create timelines for several other novels to outline the plot and historical points. The goal of this project would be to expand the database of timelines for novels with strong ties to their historical context. Overall, this project is intended to help to share and contextualize the world of Les Miserables, both within the novel and the world of 19th century France. With this knowledge, the hope is that students and scholars would be able to glean a greater understanding of the history and plot and apply it to their research. As well, this project would like to allow other scholars to bring their own understanding and research for other novels and create historical timelines for them. By making this project digital, it gives a wider reach to be accessed quickly from anywhere.