Victor-Mariana Clemencia Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France.
In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem, and Hugo is sometimes identified as the greatest French poet. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (known in English also as The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
Though a committed conservative royalist when he was young, Hugo grew more liberal as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon.
Victor Hugo was the third and last son of Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo (1773–1828) 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 region of Franche-Comté) and lived in France for the majority of his life. However, he was forced into exile during the reign of Napoleon III — he lived briefly in Brussels during 1851; in Jersey from 1852 to 1855; and in Guernsey from 1855 to 1870 and again in 1872-1873. There was a general amnesty in 1859; after that, his exile was by choice.
Hugo's early childhood was marked by great events. The decades prior to his birth saw the overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty in the French Revolution, the rise and fall of the First Republic, and the rise of the First French Empire and dictatorship under Napoléon Bonaparte. Napoléon was proclaimed Emperor two years after Hugo's birth, and the Bourbon Monarchy was restored before his eighteenth 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 an officer who ranked very high in Napoleon's army. He was an atheist republican who considered Napoléon a hero; his mother was an extreme Catholic Royalist who is believed to have taken as her lover General Victor Lahorie, who was executed in 1812 for plotting against Napoléon. Since Hugo's father, Joseph, was an officer, they moved frequently and Hugo learned much from these travels. On his family's journey to Naples, he saw the vast Alpine passes and the snowy peaks, the magnificently blue Mediterranean, and Rome during its festivities. Though he was only nearly six at the time, he remembered the half-year-long trip vividly. They stayed in Naples for a few months and then headed back to Paris.
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 unfaithful husband, Sophie separated temporarily from Léopold in 1803 and settled in Paris. Thereafter she dominated Hugo's education and upbringing. As a result, Hugo's early work in poetry and fiction reflect a 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.
Published during Hugo's lifetime
* Odes et poésies diverses (1822)
* Odes (Hugo) (1823)
* Han d'Islande (1823) (Hans of Iceland)
* Nouvelles Odes (1824)
* Bug-Jargal (1826)
* Nils Gunnar Lie's history (1826)
* Odes et Ballades (1826)
* Cromwell (1827)
* Les Orientales (1829)
* Le Dernier jour d'un condamné (1829) (The Last Day of a Condemned Man)
* Hernani (1830)
* Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
* Marion Delorme (1831)
* Les Feuilles d'automne (1831)
* Le roi s'amuse (1832)
* Lucrèce Borgia (1833) (Lucretia Borgia)
* Marie Tudor (1833)
* Littérature et philosophie mêlées (1834)
* Claude Gueux (1834)
* Angelo, tyran de padoue (1835)
* Les Chants du crépuscule (1835)
* La Esmeralda (only libretto of an opera written by Victor Hugo himself) (1836)
* Les Voix intérieures (1837)
* Ruy Blas (1838)
* Les Rayons et les ombres (1840)
* Le Rhin (1842)
* Les Burgraves (1843)
* Napoléon le Petit (1852)
* Les Châtiments (1853)
* Les Contemplations (1856)
* La Légende des siècles (1859)
* Les Misérables (1862)
* William Shakespeare (1864)
* Les Chansons des rues et des bois (1865)
* Les Travailleurs de la Mer (1866), (Toilers of the Sea)
* La voix de Guernsey (1867)
* L'Homme qui rit (1869), (The Man Who Laughs)
* L'Année terrible (1872)
* Quatrevingt-treize (Ninety-Three) (1874)
* Mes Fils (1874)
* Actes et paroles — Avant l'exil (1875)
* Actes et paroles - Pendant l'exil (1875)
* Actes et paroles - Depuis l'exil (1876)
* La Légende des Siècles 2e série (1877)
* L'Art d'être grand-père (1877)
* Histoire d'un crime 1re partie (1877)
* Histoire d'un crime 2e partie (1878)
* Le Pape (1878)
* La pitié suprême (1879)
* Religions et religion (1880)
* L'Âne (1880)
* Les Quatres vents de l'esprit (1881)
* Torquemada (1882)
* La Légende des siècles Tome III (1883)
* L'Archipel de la Manche (1883)
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