Victor Hugo

Born in Besancon, France in 1802, Victor Hugo was a novelist, poet, and playwright whose voluminous works defined the romantic movement.

Hugo was educated both privately and in Paris schools. He was a precocious child, deciding at an early age to become a writer. In 1817 he was honored for a poem by the French Academy and five years later he published the first volume of poetry, "Miscellaneous Odes and Poems". This was followed by the novel Han of Iceland in 1823 and BugJargal in 1824.

In the preface to his long historical drama Cromwell (1827) Hugo made a case for diversion from the classical restrictions. The plea quickly became the manifesto of the romantic school. Censors banned Hugo's second drama Marion de Lorme which was based on the life of a French courtesan in the 17th century. Hugo answered the ban in 1830 with his poetic drama, "Hernani" which had a bestselling premiere.

The period of 1823-43 was the most prolific of Hugo's career with the publishing of one of his most well-known novels "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and over a dozen other novels and books of poetry.

Hugo married his childhood friend Ade Foucher in 1822, and the two had five children together, four of whom lived past infancy.

In 1843, Hugo's daughter Leopoldine drowned at the age of 19 along with her husband during a boating accident. Distraught over her death, Hugo turned from poetry and took a more active role in politics. In 1845 he was made a peer of France by then King Louis Philippe and in 1851, following the unsuccessful revolt against president Louis Napoleon (later Emperor Napoleon III) fled to Belgium.

In 1855 he started an exile on the island of Guernsey that would last for 15 years. While living on Guernsey, he created his longest and probably most famous work "Les Miserables".

Hugo went back to France after the fall of the Second Empire in 1870 and took back up his role in politics. He was elected first to the National Assembly and later to the Senate. He was revered as a political figure in his time and died of pneumonia in 1885.

Hugo's work set a standard for the rhetorical and poetic tastes of generations of French youth, and he is still considered one of the finest French poets.

After his death his body lay in state under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was later bourne, in accordance with his wishes, on a pauper's hearse and buried in the Pantheon, the burial place of many of France's most famous citizens.

Les Miserables

"Les Miserables" (or, as it is often shortened, "Les Mis") is a novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The title is French, translating in English to "The Wretched Ones". The book is nearly 3,000 pages long and considered an epic. It is set in France and spans the course of 17 years, starting in 1815 and ending in 1832. Looking at the way of law and effortlessness, the novel … [Read more...]

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

The novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" is a work by a world-famous writer named Victor Hugo who is also known for his work "Les Miserables". The novel was published in 1831 and it is one of his famous books. With this book Hugo tried out the "historical novel". That type of novel was famous in the 19th century, and it remained popular until today. Despite the historical background, … [Read more...]