Victor Hugo

(1802 – 1885)

Victor HugoBiographical Sketch

Victor Marie Hugo (Besançon, France, February 26, 1802 – Paris, France, 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best known French writers. In France, Hugo’s literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).

Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo’s views changed as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time.

After three unsuccessful attempts, Hugo was finally elected to the Académie Française in 1841, solidifying his position in the world of French arts and letters. Thereafter he became increasingly involved in French politics. He was elevated to the peerage by King Louis-Philippe in 1841 and entered the Higher Chamber as a pair de France, where he spoke against the death penalty and social injustice, and in favour of freedom of the press and self-government for Poland. However, he was also becoming more supportive of the Republican form of government and, following the 1848 Revolution and the formation of the Second Republic, was elected to the Constitutional Assembly and the Legislative Assembly.

When Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) seized complete power in 1851, establishing an anti-parliamentary constitution, Hugo openly declared him a traitor to France. He relocated to Brussels, then Jersey, from which he was expelled for supporting a Jersey newspaper that had criticised Queen Victoria, and finally settled with his family at Hauteville House in Saint Peter Port, Guernsey, where he lived in exile from October 1855 until 1870.

While in exile, Hugo published his famous political pamphlets against Napoleon III, Napoléon le Petit and Histoire d’un crime. The pamphlets were banned in France, but nonetheless had a strong impact there. He also composed or published some of his best work during his period in Guernsey, including Les Misérables, and the three widely praised collections of poetry Les Châtiments (1853), Les Contemplations (1856) and La Légende des siècles (1859).

Because of his concern for the rights of artists and copyright, he was a founding member of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale, which led to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. He was buried in the Panthéon.

Read more about Victor Hugo on Wikipedia.

 

Major Awards and Honors

Légion d’Honneur
  • 1825: Chevalier de la Légion
Académie Française
  • 1842: Elected to membership
Pair de France
  • 1845

 

Bibliography

Novels
  • Han d’Islande (1823)
    (Hans of Iceland; The Demon of the North)
  • Burg-Jargal (1826)
    (The Slave-King)
  • Le Dernier Jour d’un Condamné (1829)
    (Last Day of Condemned Man)
  • Notre-Dame de Paris (1831)
    (The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Notre-Dame of Paris)
  • Claude Gueux (1834)
  • Les Misérables (1862)
  • Les Travailleurs de la Mer (1866)
    (The Toilers of the Sea)
  • L’Homme Qui Rit (1869)
    (The Man Who Laughs; The Laughing Man)
  • Quatrevingt-Treize (1874)
    (Ninety-Three; 1793)
  • Oeuvres (1885 – 1897)
  • Oeuvres Complètes (1904 – 1952)
  • Oeuvres Romanesques (1962)
Plays
  • Le Château du Diable (1812)
    (The Devil’s Castle)
  • Irtamène (1816)
  • Athélie ou les Scandinaves (1817)
  • Inez de Castro (1818)
  • Cromwell (1827)
  • Amy Robsart (1827)
  • Marion de Lorme (1829)
  • Hernani (1830)
  • Le Roi s’Amuse (1832)
    (The King Takes His Amusement; The King Amuses Himself)
  • Lucrèce Borgia (1833)
    (Lucrezia Borgia)
  • Marie Tudor (1833)
    (Mary Tudor)
  • Angelo, Tyran de Padoue (1835)
    (Angelo)
  • Esmeralda (1836)
  • Ruy-Blas (1838)
  • Les Jumeaux (1839)
    (The Twin Brothers)
  • Les Burgraves (1843)
    (The Burgraves; The Governors)
  • La Forêt Mouillée (1854)
  • La Grand-Mère (1865)
  • Mille Francs de Récompense (1866)
    (The Fool’s Revenge)
  • L’Intervention (1866)
  • Mangeront-ils? (1867)
  • Margarita (1869)
  • L’Epée (1869)
  • Esca (1869)
  • Welf, Castellan d’Osbor (1869)
  • Les Gueux (1872)
  • Torquemada (1882)
  • Le Théâtre en Liberté (1886)
    (Free Plays)
  • Théâtre (1963)
Poetry
  • Cahiers de vers Français (1815)
  • Ode sur la Mort du Duc de Berry (1820)
  • Odes et Poésies Diverses (1822)
    (Odes and Various Poems; Miscellaneous Odes and Verses)
  • Nouvelles Odes (1824)
  • Odes et Ballades (1826 – 1828)
    (Odes and Ballads)
  • Les Orientales (1829)
    (Oriental Poems; Songs from the East)
  • Les Feuilles d’Automne (1831)
    (Autumn Leaves)
  • Les Chants du Crépuscule (1835)
    (Twilight Songs; Songs at Daybreak; Songs of Twilight)
  • Les Voix Intérieures (1837)
    (Inner Voices)
  • Les Rayons et les Ombres (1840)
    (Sunbeams and Shadows)
  • Les Châtiments (1853)
    (Punishments)
    Contains: Waterloo!
    (The Battle of Waterloo)
  • Les Contemplations (1856)
  • La Légende des Siècles (1859 – 1877)
    (The Legend of th Centuries; The Legend of the Ages)
  • Les Chansons des Rues et des Bois (1865)
    (Songs of Lane and Wood)
  • L’Année Terrible (1872)
    (The Terrible Year)
  • L’Art d’Être Grand-Père (1877)
    (The Art of Being a Grandfather)
  • Le Pape (1878)
  • La Pitié Suprême (1879)
    (The Supreme Pity)
  • Religions et Religion (1880)
    (Religion and Religions)
  • L’Âne (1880)
    (The Ass)
  • Les Quatre Vents de l’Esprit (1881)
    (The Four Winds of the Spirit)
  • La Fin de Satan (1886)
    (The End of Satan)
  • Toute la Lyre (1888-93)
    (The Whole Lyre)
  • Dieu (1891)
    (God)
  • Les Années Funestes (1898)
    (The Fatal Years)
  • La Dernière Gerbe (1902)
    (Last Gleanings)
  • Océan (1942)
  • Poésies Complètes (1961)
  • Oeuvres Poétiques (1964)
  • Selected Poems (2002)
Victor Hugo on Politics and Society
  • Littérature et Philosophie Mêlées (1834)
    (Literature and Philosophy Mingled)
  • Discours sur la Misère (1849)
  • Discours sur la Liberté de l’Enseignement (1850)
    –Pour une instruction gratuite et obligatoire.
  • Discours sur le Suffrage Universel (1850)
  • Discours sur la Liberté de la Presse (1850)
  • Discours contre le Projet de Révision de la Constitution inspiré par Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1851)
  • Napoléon le Petit (1852)
    (Napoleon the Little; The Little Napoleon)
  • Lettre contre l’Écrasement du Soulèvement Polonais (1863)
  • Lettre de Soutien aux Combattants Mexicains (1863)
    – Contre l’expédition de Napoléon III au Mexique.
  • William Shakespeare (1864)
  • La Voix de Guernsey (1867)
  • Actes et Paroles:
    • Avant l’Exil (1875)
      (Before Exile)
    • Pendant l’Exil (1875)
      (During Exile)
    • Depuis l’Exil (1876)
      (Since Exile)
  • Discours sur la Serbie (1876)
  • L’Histoire d’un Crime (1877)
    (History of a Crime)
  • Oeuvres Politiques (1964)
  • Victor Hugo contre la Peine de Mort (2001)
  • Écrits Politiques (2002)
  • Le Droit et la Loi et Autres Textes Citoyens (2002)
  • Combats Politiques et Humanitaires (2002)
  • Écrits sur la Peine de Mort (2002)
  • Intellectual Autobiography: Ideas on Literature, Philosophy and Religion (2002)
Travelogues
  • Le Rhin: Lettres à un Ami (1842)
    (Excursions Along the Banks of Rhine; The Rhine: A Tour from Paris to Mayence by the Way of Aix-La-Chapelle)
  • Alpes et Pyrénées (1890)
    (The Alps and Pyrenees)
  • France et Belgique (1892)
  • Suisse (1892)
  • Les Fantômes de Jersey (1991)
    (Conversations with Eternity)
Correspondence and Memoirs
  • Lettres de Victor Hugo aux Bertin, 1827 – 1877 (1890)
  • Correspondance 1815 – 1882 (1896-1898)
  • Choses Vues (1897 – 1900)
    (Things Seen)
  • Post-Scriptum de ma Vie (1901)
    Original title: Contemplation Suprême.
  • Lettres à la Fiancée 1820 – 1822 (1901)
    (The Love Letters of Victor Hugo 1820 – 1822)
  • Correspondance entre Victor Hugo et Paul Meurice (1909)
  • Carnets Intimes: 1870-1871 (1953)
  • Journal: 1830 – 1848
  • Journal de ce que j’apprends Chaque Jour (1965)
  • Victor Hugo Publie Les Misérables: Correspondance avec Albert Lacroix, Août 1861 – Juillet 1862 (1970)
  • Correspondance entre Victor Hugo Et Pierre-J. Hetzel (1979)
  • Correspondance Croisée (1986)
    – With Charles Nodier.
  • Correspondance Familiale et Écrits Intimes
    • Tome 1: 1802 – 1828 (1988)
    • Tome 2: 1828 – 1839 (1991)
  • Correspondance Amoureuse: Lettres de Victor Hugo à Juliette Drouet; Lettres de Juliette Drouet à Victor Hugo (2001)
  • The Letters of Victor Hugo from Exile, and After the Fall of the Empire (2002)
  • The Memoirs of Victor Hugo (2002)
Drawings
  • Victor Hugo: Dessins (1985)
  • Dessins de Victor Hugo (1862)
  • Strophes et Dessins (1994)
  • Shadows of a Hand: The Drawings of Victor Hugo (1998)
  • Victor Hugo: Récits et Dessins de Voyage (2001)
  • Victor Hugo, l’Exil: L’Archipel de la Manche (2001)
Online editions of Victor Hugo’s works:

 

A Selection of Quotes

Les Misérables

“There are men who dig for gold; [Monseigneur Bienvenu] dug for compassion.”

“He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.”

Cable by Victor Hugo (then in exile) to his publisher, upon publication of Les Misérables“?”
The publisher’s response: “!”

William Shakespeare

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Find more quotes by Victor Hugo on Wikiquote and Goodreads.

 

Links

 

%d bloggers like this: