Les Miserables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title. However several alternatives have been used, including The Miserable, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims and The Dispossessed. Les Miserables Volume I, the story begins in 1815 in Digne, as the peasant Jean Valjean, just released from 19 years' imprisonment in the galleys five for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family and fourteen more for numerous escape attempts is turned away by inn-keepers because his yellow passport marks him as a former convict. He sleeps on the street, angry and bitter.