VICTOR HUGO Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Victor Hugo (February 26, 1802 - May 22, 1885) was a French author, the most important of the Romantic authors in the French language. His major works include the novels The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, and a large body of poetry.


Life and work


Hugo was born in Besancon, Doubs in the region of Franche-Comte. He lived in exile during the reign of Napoleon III - in Jersey 1852-1855 and in Guernsey from 1855 until his return to France in 1870.


Although Hugo is better known to the English-speaking world as a novelist, it was as a poet that he broke new ground. The French poetic traditions were as well-established in his time as the English ones were before the time of the Romantic poets, and Hugo’s contribution may be compared with that of Wordsworth. He believed that the poet’s purpose should be two-fold:


To echo universal sentiment by revealing his own feelings, uniting the voices of mankind, nature and history.
To guide the reader: “faire flamboyer l’avenir” - to lead the way.


In his epic, La Legende des Siecles, he attempts, by reference to historical events, to depict humanity’s struggle to emerge from obscurity into enlightenment.


Hugo was the Honorary President and founder of the Association Litteraire et Artistique Internationale (ALAI) in 1878 in Paris which gave itself the objective of creating an international convention for the protection of literary and artistic properties which was achieved eight years later with the Berne Convention on September 9, 1886.


Hugo died in Paris on May 22, 1885. His death, and the spontaneous national mourning which followed, inspired the French government to reinvent the Pantheon in Paris as a temple in homage to the great men (and, eventually, women) of France. He is buried in its necropolis.


Hugo also became one of the three primary saints worshipped in the Vietnamese religion Cao Dai.