Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
The Preface to Les Miserables
By Victor Hugo
(The poet and humanitarian of France, 18021885, has in this passage set forth the purpose of one of the half-dozen greatest novels of the world)
SO long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the agethe degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual nightare not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.