Les Miserables(1862) is the 19th century work of French author Victor Hugo. Every one of Victor Hugo's books were banned in 1850 by Tsar Nicholas I, since Hugo's depiction of royalty were considered...less than flattering, shall we say? His works were also listed on the infamous Index Librorum Prohibitorum which was the Catholic Church's list of books forbidden to members of the faith.
Les Miserables made the Index in 1864 and according to Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds, stayed there until 1959. Books were usually placed there for being critical of the clergy or the papacy. In 1904, it was banned from a Philadelphia school because it contained a French word associated with prostitution (grisette- a working class woman, "good-time girl").
Les Miserables is the story of Jean Valjean, a former criminal who finds redemption. It's about compassion and was a commentary on French society. Miserables refers to the wretchedly poor in France.