On the 26th of February 1802, in Besançon, France, the child of Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo and Sophie Trébuchet was born. He was baptized Victor Hugo. At that moment no one knew that he would grow up to be one of the greatest French authors of all times. By the age of 13, Hugo understood that his calling was literature. He started writing poetry and several of his poems won awards. He became an important writer during the Romantic movement in the 1820s. The play “Hernani” amplified his fame.
During the 19th century, the Notre-Dame Cathedral was falling apart. Wishing to bring attention back to the neglected monument, Victor Hugo started writing Notre-Dame de Paris in 1829. The book was published in 1831 and, as the writer hoped, brought the famous Cathedral back into the spotlight. Notre-Dame was thus restored. This novel focused on everyone in Paris, from the King of France to the sewer rats. This writing style was later used by Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert and Charles Dickens.
During the 1830s Hugo wrote several plays and poems. He also started writing a longer novel about misery and social injustice. In 1862, the novel was finally finished. Its title was Les Misérables. Initially, only the first part of the novel, “Fantine” was published. The copies were sold rapidly and had enormous impact. Although it was reviewed harshly by critics, the novel was extremely popular with the masses.
Nowadays Les Misérables is his most famous work. It has been adapted for cinema, television and numerous stage shows.
Victor Hugo’s last novel was published in 1874 and was entitled Quatre-vingt-treize. It deals with the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Nowadays it is considered one of his best novels, although at that time Hugo’s popularity was declining.
Hugo died on the 22nd of May, 1885 from pneumonia. He was 83 years old at that time. Did you know that, during the June Rebellion, a moment portrayed in Les Misérables, Victor Hugo was almost caught in the crossfire between the rebels and the militia?
( Source: VictorHugo; Image source: wikipedia )
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