30 January 1876 – 22 May 1885
9 February 1871 – 1 March 1871
24 April 1848 – 3 December 1851
7 January 1841 – 22 May 1885
Victor Marie Hugo
26 February 1802
|Died||22 May 1885 (aged 83)|
(m. 1822; died 1868)
|Occupation||Writer, poet, |
|French literary history|
Victor Marie Hugo (French:
Hugo was at the forefront of the
Though a committed
Victor Hugo was the third son of
Hugo's childhood was a period of national political turmoil. Napoleon was proclaimed
Since Hugo's father was an officer, the family moved frequently and Hugo learned much from these travels. On a childhood family trip to
At the beginning of her marriage, Hugo's mother Sophie followed her husband to posts in Italy (where Léopold served as a governor of 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
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,
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
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