Hugo Victor 1802 - 1885 (83)

A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.



Les Miserables

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Victor Hugo was a French novelist, dramatist and poet, representative of French Romanticism. He was also involved with politics, starting as a conservative supporter of the monarchy to come up to a radical democratic. He was born in the city of Besancon in eastern France, his father was a declared atheist and democratic general of Napoleon while his mother was of an old aristocratic family, royalist and devout Catholic. With such divergence, his parents often lived apart, eventually they divorced in 1813. Victor moved with his mother to Paris. From an early age he began to make translations from Latin and wrote poetry. At age 15 he was awarded by the French Academy for one of his poems. Later he gave up his studies in law and lived very poorly for a year in an attic, writing with great perseverance and diligence. When his first poetry collection was published, he got a royal grant by king Louis. In 1822 he married Adele Fouche, they didn't manage an idyllic relationship, Victor maintained a long-term love affair with actress Juliette Ntroue. In 1826 he was a knonwn poet with the collection “Odes and Ballads” but poetry was not particularly helpful to his economic situation. After 1830 he wrote plays that had a big success, and then the novel Notre Dame which was translated in many languages, offering him recognision and money. In 1841 his daughter died by drowning and the next ten years he didn’t publish anything. He was devoted to the political support of King Louis-Philip, who in 1845 named him a member of the Upper House where he gave speeches against the death penalty and social injustice. After the revolution of 1848 and the proclamation of the Second French Republic, he was elected MP. When Napoleon III catalyzes democracy, Victor inflicted upon him and forced to flee disguised in Brussels to avoid arrest. He started a twenty year period of self-exile in the British island of Jersey and then in Guernsey island where he completed his masterpiece "The Les Misérables" an epic novel of 50 years of French history that was a publishing phenomenon, although Pope Pius enlisted it in prohibited works.

In 1859 Napoleon III offered amnesty to all political exiles but Hugo didn’t want to give him the satisfaction to return. Shortly after the announcement of the third French Republic and the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he returned to his country. In 1871 after the defeat of France and the predominance of the French Commune he left the country again. The next few years were tragic for his family. In 1871 died one of his son, in 1872 his daughter were put in a lunatic asylum and in 1873 his other son died as well. In 1876 Victor was called a lifetime senator, in February 1881 were organized a nationwide celebration to mark the entrance in his ninth decade of life. In a grand parade he was honored by 60.000 of his countrymen, he took alive a rare glory for spiritual creator. Hugo was one of the most prolific and versatile writers, he managed to establish himself as a poet, novelist and playwright. As a playwright he encountered enormous successes, such as the performance of Lucrezia Borgia and some failures before deciding, together with Alexander Dumas, to establish a place exclusively dedicated to romantic theater. In France, his contribution in poetry is considered equally important as the writing of his nine novels. He was a great admirer of ancient Greek writers, he made in his work many references to them. He died on May 22, 1885. His last words were: I see a black light.