Victor Hugo, the shining light of French Romanticism, was an indefatigable campaigner against the death penalty. This unique anthology of his controversial writings on crime and punishment reveals the author's generosity of spirit and his pity for the condemned. However, as always in Hugo, a degree of endearing self-glorification is never absent. The Last Day of a Condemned Man, while not seeking to minimalize its protagonist's responsibility for the murder he has committed, reminds the reader of the mental anguish endured by a man condemned to a cell. Claude Gueux is a documentary account of the martyrdom of a prisoner driven to crime by poverty, and to murder by the casual brutality of a head warder. Also included are Hugo's moving diary entries recording his visits to the prisons of La Roquette and the Conciergerie.