The escape through the belly of the beast seems designed to be put on a cinema screen. Fear of the dark, fear of getting lost, fear of drowning and of being shut in – all these ‘nightmare buttons’ can be operated by a solo performer in a relatively inexpensive set. It’s not especially difficult to show his victory over the obstacles in his path, and his moral triumph also has a visible shape: the inert but still living body on his back belongs to a young man Valjean has reason to wish to see dead, for if he survives he will steal from him the object of his affection and care and his whole raison d’être. As he carries his heavy burden through stinking water that almost comes up to his eyes, Valjean turns from Hercules and Theseus into a Christ-like figure bearing his own cross. The episode in the sewers makes Les Misérables something grander than a novel in the nineteenth-century mode. It reaches out towards the creation of a legend and the transformation of a character into a myth.
—David Bellos,The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Miserables
But what we do know is that the works he completed in the months and years after he had written this extraordinary will—which also contained specific instructions as to how his property was to be distributed after his death, and which has become known as the “Heiligenstadt Testament”—bear witness to a major change in his development. To say that he broke new ground is to understate the matter grossly: Beethoven altered the course of Western music. In the astonishingly individualistic compositions that he produced between the ages of thirty-two and forty-two, he extended the boundaries of tonality, lengthened and transmuted the old forms, and allowed intensely personal expression much freer rein than it had previously known in music.
—Harvey Sachs, The Ninth: Beethoven and the World In 1824