Victor Hugo – Writer

VICTOR-HUGO_top100VictorMarie Hugo (26 February 180222 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 and then from 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. He also produced more than 4,000 drawings, which have since been admired for their beauty, and earned widespread respect as a campaigner for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.

hugo les miserable_top100Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo’s views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French franc banknotes. Hugo published his first novel Han d’Islande,the year following his marriage, 1823 and his second, Bug-Jargal,three years later 1826. Between 1829 and 1840, he published five more volumes of poetry (Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’automne, 1831; Les Chants du crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; and Les Rayons et les ombres, 1840), cementing his reputation as one of the greatest elegiac and lyric poets of his time.

victor-hugo2_top100Hugo was profoundly influenced by François-René de Chateaubriand, the famous figure in the literary movement of Romanticism and France‘s pre-eminent literary figure during the early 19th century. In his youth, Hugo resolved to be “Chateaubriand or nothing“, and his life would come to parallel that of his predecessor in many ways. Like Chateaubriand, Hugo furthered the cause of Romanticism, became involved in politics, and was forced into exile due to his political stances. His first collection of poetry, Odes et poésies diverses, was published in 1822, when Hugo was only 20 years old, and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Though the poems were admired for their spontaneous fervour and fluency, the collection that followed four years later in 1826, Odes et Ballades, revealed Hugo to be a great poet, a natural master of lyric and creative song.

hugo drawing_top100Hugo produced more than 4,000 drawings. Originally pursued as a casual hobby, drawing became more important to Hugo shortly before his exile, when he made the decision to stop writing to devote himself to politics. Drawing became his exclusive creative outlet during the period 1848–1851. Hugo worked only on paper, and on a small scale; usually in dark brown or black pen-and-ink wash, sometimes with touches of white, and rarely with colour. The surviving drawings are surprisingly accomplished and “modern” in their style and execution, foreshadowing the experimental techniques of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.

More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Hugo

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