- Hugo, Victor
- (1802-1885)poet, novelist, playwrightvictor Hugo, whose voluminous works provided the single greatest impetus to the romantic movement in France, was born in Besançon, the son of one of napoleon's generals. Along with his mother and brothers, Hugo followed his father to italy and spain before returning to Paris, where he took up writing ("i want to be Chateaubriand, or nothing"). He married Adèle Foucher, dedicating to her his Odes et Ballades (1822-28), in which he attempted to reconcile the classical and romantic styles. This was followed by his novels Hans d'Islande (1823) and Bug-Jargal (1824). Then, in his Préface de Cromwell (1827), he emerged as the leader of the romantics. in Orientales(1829), Hugo defended the principle of artistic freedom, an idea that quickly became the manifesto of the romantic movement and culminated in his poetic drama, Hernani (1830), which had a tumultuous premiere and ensured the success of romanticism. it was later adapted by Giuseppe Verdi for his opera Ernani (1844). Hugo's social and humanitarian concerns were expressed in Le Dernier Jour d'un condamné (1829), and he became a voice for moral and political, as well as literary, ideas. The period from 1829 to 1843 was the most productive of Hugo's career. His great historical novel, Notre-Dame de Paris (1831) was a tale set in 15th-century Paris. It made him extremely popular and brought him election to the Académie Française (1841). Another novel of this period, Claude Gueux (1834), was an eloquent indictment of the French penal and social systems. Hugo also wrote several well-received volumes of lyric poetry, including Les feuilles d'automne (1831), Les chants du crépuscule (1837), and Les Rayons et les Ombres (1840). His dramatic successes include Le roi s'amuse (1832), which was the basis for Verdi's Rigoletto (1851); the prose drama Lucrèce Borgia (1833); and a melodrama, Ruy Blas (1838). The failure of his next work, Les Burgraves (1843), and the death of his daughter in that same year caused him to turn from writing and to take a more active role in politics. Raised as a Bonapartist, Hugo had become a royalist and was made a peer in 1845 by King louis-philippe. But by the time of the revolution of 1848, he had become a republican. In 1851, in the aftermath of the unsuccessful revolt against President Louis-Napoleon, Hugo fled to Belgium and, in 1855, began a 15-year exile on the island of Guernsey. While in exile, he composed scurrilous verse satire and also completed his longest and most famous work, Les Misérables (1862). Hugo returned to France in 1870 and resumed his role in politics; he was elected to the National Assembly and later to the senate. Among the most notable of his later works are L'Art d'être grand-père (1877) and Quatre Vents de l'esprit (1881). All of Hugo's works have set the standard for generations of French youth, and he is still considered one of France's greatest poets. After his death on May 22, 1885, he was given a state funeral, his body lying in state under the arc de triomphe and later borne, in accordance with his wishes, on a pauper's hearse for internment in the Panthéon.
France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.