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Victor Hugo - Biography & Works


Les Misérables

Victor HugoVictor Hugo is one of the most important French Romantic writers. The two most popular works of Hugo are “Les Miserables” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, published in our literature collection.

Victor Hugo was born in Besançon on February 26th, 1802. Hugo's father Joseph-Léopold-Sigisbert Hugo was an officer in Napoleon's army. Victor Hugo was raised by his mother Sophie Trébuchet, after she separated from his father.

Between 1815 to 1818 Hugo was educated in the Pension Cordier School in Paris. At this age he began to write tragedies and poetry, and translated Virgil.

Hugo’s first collection of poems, "Odes Et Poesies Diverses" was published in 1822 and it gained its author a royal pension from king Louis XVIII. In 1823 Victor Hugo published his first novel "Han D'Islande", which appeared first anonymously.

At age of 20, Victor Hugo married Adèle Foucher in 1822.

Hugo’s famous historical work “Notre-Dame de Paris” (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”), published in 1831, confirmed his dominance amongst the Romantics and brought him an instant success.

In the 1830s Victor Hugo published numerous volumes of lyric poetry. His poetic style was rich, passionate and full of powerful rhythms and sounds.

In his later life Hugo became involved in politics as a supporter of the republican form of government. After three unsuccessful attempts, Hugo was elected in 1841 to the Académie Francaise.

After Napoléon III's coup d'état in 1851, Hugo left France believing his life was in danger. Hugo remained in exile in the Channel Islands for 19 years, until the fall of Napoléon III in 1870. During this period of his life, he wrote one of his best works including Les Misérables (1862).
When he returned to France, the whole country hailed him as a national hero.

Hugo died in Paris on May 22, 1885 and more than two million people joined his funeral procession in Paris.

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