Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo

Peer of France (1845–48)
Victor Hugo by Étienne Carjat 1876 - full.jpg
Woodburytype of Hugo by Étienne Carjat, 1876
Senator of Seine
In office
30 January 1876 – 22 May 1885
Member of the National Assembly
for Gironde
In office
9 February 1871 – 1 March 1871
Member of the National Assembly
for Seine
In office
24 April 1848 – 3 December 1851
Member of the Académie française
In office
7 January 1841 – 22 May 1885
Preceded byNépomucène Lemercier
Succeeded byLeconte de Lisle
Personal details
Victor Marie Hugo

(1802-02-26)26 February 1802
Besançon, Doubs, France
Died22 May 1885(1885-05-22) (aged 83)
Paris, France
Resting placePanthéon, Paris
Political partyParty of Order (1848–51)
Independent liberal (1871)
Republican Union (1876–85)
Adèle Foucher
(m. 1822; died 1868)
EducationLycée Louis-le-Grand
OccupationWriter, poet, journalist, drawer
Writing career
GenreNovel, dramaturgy, theatre, poetry
Literary movementRomanticism
Notable works
Years active1829–1883


Victor Marie Hugo (French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo] (About this soundlisten); 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris), 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations (The Contemplations) and La Légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages).

Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement with his play Cromwell and drama Hernani. Many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime and after his death, including the musicals Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Misérables. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, and campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.

Though 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 in Paris. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French currency.

Personal life

Victor Hugo was the third son of Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo (1774–1828) and Sophie Trébuchet (1772–1821); his brothers were Abel Joseph Hugo (1798–1855) and Eugène Hugo (1800–1837). He was born in 1802 in Besançon in the eastern region of Franche-Comté. On 19 November 1821, Léopold Hugo wrote to his son that he had been conceived on one of the highest peaks in the Vosges Mountains, on a journey from Lunéville to Besançon. " This elevated origin, he went on, seems to have had effects on you so that your muse is now continually sublime."[1] Léopold Hugo was a freethinking republican who considered Napoleon a hero; by contrast, Sophie Hugo was a Catholic Royalist who was intimately involved with her possible lover General Victor Lahorie,[2] who was executed in 1812 for plotting against Napoleon.

Hugo's childhood was a period of national political turmoil. Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of the French two years after Hugo's birth, and the Bourbon Monarchy was restored before his 13th birthday. The opposing political and religious views of Hugo's parents reflected the forces that would battle for supremacy in France throughout his life: Hugo's father was a high-ranking officer in Napoleon's army until he failed in Spain (one of the reasons why his name is not present on the Arc de Triomphe).

Since Hugo's father was an officer, the family moved frequently and Hugo learned much from these travels. On a childhood family trip to Naples, Hugo saw the vast Alpine passes and the snowy peaks, the magnificently blue Mediterranean, and Rome during its festivities.[3] Though he was only five years old at the time, he remembered the six-month-long trip vividly. They stayed in Naples for a few months and then headed back to Paris.

At the beginning of her marriage, Hugo's mother Sophie followed her husband to posts in Italy (where Léopold served as a governor of Avellino, a province near Naples) and Spain (where he took charge of three Spanish provinces). Weary of the constant moving required by military life and at odds with her husband's lack of Catholic beliefs, Sophie separated temporarily from Léopold in 1803 and settled in Paris with her children. Thereafter she dominated Hugo's education and upbringing. As a result, Hugo's early work in poetry and fiction reflect her passionate devotion to both King and Faith. It was only later, during the events leading up to France's 1848 Revolution, that he would begin to rebel against his Catholic Royalist education and instead champion Republicanism and Freethought.

Young Victor fell in love with and became secretly engaged to his childhood friend Adèle Foucher (1803–1868), against his mother's wishes. Because of his close relationship with his mother, Hugo waited until after her death (in 1821) to marry Adèle in 1822.

Adèle and Victor Hugo had their first child, Léopold, in 1823, but the boy died in infancy. On 28 August 1824, the couple's second child, Léopoldine was born, followed by Charles on 4 November 1826, François-Victor on 28 October 1828, and Adèle on 28 July 1830.

Hugo's eldest and favourite daughter, Léopoldine, died aged 19 in 1843, shortly after her marriage to Charles Vacquerie. On 4 September, she drowned in the Seine at Villequier, pulled down by her heavy skirts when a boat overturned. Her young husband also died trying to save her. The death left her father devastated; Hugo was travelling with his mistress at the time in the south of France, and first learned about Léopoldine's death from a newspaper he read in a café.[4]

He describes his shock and grief in his famous poem À Villequier:

Hélas ! vers le passé tournant un œil d'envie,
Sans que rien ici-bas puisse m'en consoler,
Je regarde toujours ce moment de ma vie
Où je l'ai vue ouvrir son aile et s'envoler!

Je verrai cet instant jusqu'à ce que je meure,
L'instant, pleurs superflus !
Où je criai : L'enfant que j'avais tout à l'heure,
Quoi donc ! je ne l'ai plus !

Alas! turning an envious eye towards the past,
inconsolable by anything on earth,
I keep looking at that moment of my life
when I saw her open her wings and fly away!

I will see that instant until I die,
that instant—too much for tears!
when I cried out: "The child that I had just now—
what! I don't have her any more!"

He wrote many poems afterwards about his daughter's life and death, and at least one biographer claims he never completely recovered from it. His most famous poem is probably Demain, dès l'aube (Tomorrow, At Dawn), in which he describes visiting her grave.

Hugo decided to live in exile after Napoleon III's coup d'état at the end of 1851. After leaving France, Hugo lived in Brussels briefly in 1851, before moving to the Channel Islands, first to Jersey (1852–1855) and then to the smaller island of Guernsey in 1855, where he stayed until Napoleon III's fall from power in 1870. Although Napoleon III proclaimed a general amnesty in 1859, under which Hugo could have safely returned to France, the author stayed in exile, only returning when Napoleon III was forced from power as a result of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. After the Siege of Paris from 1870 to 1871, Hugo lived again in Guernsey from 1872 to 1873, before finally returning to France for the remainder of his life.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Виктор Гюго
Afrikaans: Victor Hugo
Alemannisch: Victor Hugo
العربية: فكتور هوغو
aragonés: Victor Hugo
armãneashti: Victor Hugo
asturianu: Victor Hugo
Avañe'ẽ: Victor Hugo
Aymar aru: Victor Hugo
azərbaycanca: Viktor Hüqo
تۆرکجه: ویکتور هوقو
Bân-lâm-gú: Victor Hugo
башҡортса: Виктор Гюго
беларуская: Віктор Гюго
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Віктор Юго
Bislama: Victor Hugo
български: Виктор Юго
Boarisch: Victor Hugo
bosanski: Victor Hugo
brezhoneg: Victor Hugo
буряад: Виктор Гюго
català: Victor Hugo
Чӑвашла: Виктор Гюго
čeština: Victor Hugo
Cymraeg: Victor Hugo
Deutsch: Victor Hugo
Ελληνικά: Βίκτωρ Ουγκώ
español: Victor Hugo
Esperanto: Victor Hugo
estremeñu: Victor Hugo
euskara: Victor Hugo
Fiji Hindi: Victor Hugo
føroyskt: Victor Hugo
français: Victor Hugo
Gaeilge: Victor Hugo
Gàidhlig: Victor Hugo
galego: Victor Hugo
贛語: 雨果
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Victor Hugo
한국어: 빅토르 위고
Արեւմտահայերէն: Վիքթոր Հիւկօ
hrvatski: Victor Hugo
Ilokano: Victor Hugo
Bahasa Indonesia: Victor Hugo
interlingua: Victor Hugo
Interlingue: Victor Hugo
íslenska: Victor Hugo
italiano: Victor Hugo
Kabɩyɛ: Victor Hugo
Kapampangan: Victor Hugo
ქართული: ვიქტორ ჰიუგო
қазақша: Виктор Гюго
Kiswahili: Victor Hugo
Kreyòl ayisyen: Victor Hugo
kurdî: Victor Hugo
Кыргызча: Виктор Гюго
لۊری شومالی: ڤیکتور ھوگو
Latina: Victor Hugo
latviešu: Viktors Igo
Lëtzebuergesch: Victor Hugo
lietuvių: Victor Hugo
Limburgs: Victor Hugo
Lingua Franca Nova: Victor Hugo
Livvinkarjala: Victor Hugo
la .lojban.: viktor.ugos
lumbaart: Victor Hugo
magyar: Victor Hugo
македонски: Виктор Иго
Malagasy: Victor Hugo
მარგალური: ვიქტორ ჰიუგო
مازِرونی: ویکتور هوگو
Bahasa Melayu: Victor Hugo
Minangkabau: Victor Hugo
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Victor Hugo
Mirandés: Victor Hugo
монгол: Виктор Гюго
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဗစ်တာဟူးဂိုး
Nāhuatl: Victor Hugo
Nederlands: Victor Hugo
нохчийн: Гюго, Виктор
Nordfriisk: Victor Hugo
norsk nynorsk: Victor Hugo
Nouormand: Victor Hugo
occitan: Victor Hugo
олык марий: Виктор Гюго
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Victor Hugo
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਵਿਕਤੋਰ ਊਗੋ
پنجابی: وکٹر ہیوگو
Picard: Victor Hugo
Piemontèis: Victor Hugo
polski: Victor Hugo
português: Victor Hugo
Qaraqalpaqsha: Victor Hugo
română: Victor Hugo
Runa Simi: Victor Hugo
русиньскый: Віктор Гюґо
русский: Гюго, Виктор
саха тыла: Гюго Виктор
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱦᱩᱜᱚ ᱵᱷᱤᱠᱴᱚᱨ
संस्कृतम्: विक्टर ह्यूगो
Seeltersk: Victor Hugo
sicilianu: Victor Hugo
Simple English: Victor Hugo
slovenčina: Victor Hugo
slovenščina: Victor Hugo
ślůnski: Victor Hugo
српски / srpski: Виктор Иго
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Victor Hugo
svenska: Victor Hugo
Tagalog: Victor Hugo
Taqbaylit: Victor Hugo
татарча/tatarça: Виктор Гюго
Türkçe: Victor Hugo
Türkmençe: Wiktor Gýugo
українська: Віктор Гюго
vèneto: Victor Hugo
vepsän kel’: Gügo Viktor
Tiếng Việt: Victor Hugo
Volapük: Victor Hugo
Winaray: Victor Hugo
Yorùbá: Victor Hugo
粵語: 雨果
Zazaki: Victor Hugo
žemaitėška: Victor Hugo