Victor Hugo – French author
Victor Hugo was a French writer (poet, novelist and playwright), head and theoretician of French Romanticism, member of the French Academy (1841).
Vicomte Victor Marie Hugo was born on February 26, 1802 in Besancon. He was the youngest of three brothers. The father of the writer, Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo, was a general in Napoleon’s army, his mother, Sophie Trebuchet, was the daughter of Nantes ship-owner. Early childhood Victor spent in Marseille, in Corsica, on the Elbe (1803-1805), in Italy (1807), Madrid (1811), where his father served. Travels left a deep impression in the soul of the poet, and prepared him to a romantic view of the world.
In 1813, Hugo’s mother, who had an affair with General Lagorio, left her husband and settled with her son in Paris.
From 1814 to 1818 he studied at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. At the age of 14, he began his creative work. He wrote an unpublished tragedy Yrtatine, which was dedicated to his mother, Athelie ou les scandinaves and drama Louis de Castro.
In 1819 he received two awards at the competition Jeux Floraux for the poem Vierges de Verdun and the ode Rétablissement de la statue de Henri III.
In 1819-1821 he published Le Conservateur littéraire.
In October 1822 Hugo married Adele Foucher. They had five children.
The novel Notre Dame de Paris was published in 1831.
From 1830 to 1843 Victor worked almost exclusively for the theater. However, he published several collections of poetry.
In 1841, Hugo was elected to the French Academy and in 1848 he was elected to the National Assembly.
Hugo was an opponent of the coup d’état in 1851 and when Napoleon III proclaimed himself emperor, the writer was in exile. In 1870, after the fall of Napoleon III, Hugo returned to France and was elected senator in 1876.
The Man Who Laughs (fr. L’Homme qui rit) was one of the most famous novels of Victor Hugo, written in the 60s of XIX century. The novel was completed on August 23, 1868, and on April 19 – May 8, 1869 it was published in Lacroix.
Victor Marie Hugo died of pneumonia on May 22, 1885 in Paris. He was 84 years old. The funeral of the famous writer continued for ten days; it was attended by about a million people.
Juliette Drouet and Victor Hugo
The love story of the French poet, writer, playwright Victor Hugo and extraordinary woman, who sacrificed her life for the sake of her beloved, still touches the hearts of those who have ever heard of this wonderful love.
Victor Marie Hugo, French national pride, the author of well-known Notre Dame de Paris and Les Miserables, was born in Besancon. He was brought up by his mother, Sophie Trebuchet, imperious and strong-willed woman. When he first fell in love with the charming young Adele Foucher, she categorically forbade maintaining any relationship. When the future novelist was sixteen years old, his parents divorced, and three years later, Victor’s mother died. His father allowed him to meet his beloved, because he didn’t want his son suffer. In that time Victor became interested in poetry seriously.
The first collection of his poems was enthusiastically greeted by the king, Louis XVIII, and he appointed a young poet a pension of 1200 francs a year. On October 12, 1822 Victor married Adele in the Parisian church of Saint-Sulpice and two years later the young wife gave birth to a daughter. Happy family life with five children, a loving wife, fame, made Hugo happy. It lasted for eleven years. The writer became famous and rich; he created not only the literary masterpieces, but also reached the heights in the drama. His plays were staged with success in France’s most famous theaters. It would have continued for many years, if not the case that changed the life of the writer and turned a shy, timid young man into in a narcissistic, self-confident man.
This happened in 1833, when Hugo met the young actress, one of the most beautiful and brilliant women of Paris. Juliette Drouet (real name – Julien Gauvin) became his passion. Their relationship lasted for long fifty years. And nothing could destroy the wonderful novel, a beautiful love story, where there was a lot of grief and happiness, ups and downs, despair and tears, sacrifices and strange gifts of destiny.
The writer and the young actress met in one of Paris theaters at a rehearsal of Hugo’s play Lucrezia Borgia, where Juliette had small, but bright enough role. Beautiful, temperamental, charming actress could not go unnoticed. Smart, free-thinking and independent, she had numerous lovers and lived luxurious life. She loved the rich costumes, jewelry, restaurants, and secular evenings. By 26 the actress had daughter, whose father was sculptor Claire Pradier.
The day of their meeting Hugo remembered forever. Many years later, he said her: “I have two birthdays, both in February. For the first time, I was born on February 26, 1802 by my mother, and the second time I was reborn in your arms, through your love, on February 16, 1833 …”
Juliette realized that she fell in love and needed only her “favorite Victor.”
A year after they met Hugo dedicated his new novel, Ge Claude, to Juliette. On the front page there was the inscription: “To my angel…”
Very soon Paris was talking about their love affair. Friends tried to persuade Victor to break up with the actress. But Hugo did not think to leave the charming beauty.
Juliette Drouet left the stage and devoted her life to beloved. She became a shadow of the writer, his guardian angel, a slave to perform all the desires of her master. Juliette copied manuscripts and when the writer was expelled from France she silently followed him into exile. The actress suffered and continued to love him: “See you – means to live; hear from you – means to think; kiss you – means ascend to heaven …”
The famous collection The Song of Twilight was completely dedicated to his beloved. The writer repeatedly admitted that his love was the most important thing in the world.
Hugo often spent nights with other women. Once Juliette counted his mistresses from 1848 to 1849 and there were 200 of them.
In 1868, after the death of the legitimate wife, Juliette moved into Victor’s house. From that day on, they lived together. On January 1, 1883, Juliette wrote: “My beloved, I do not know where I’ll be on this date next year, but I’m happy … I love you.”
Six months later, on May 11, 1883, she died of cancer. In desperation, Hugo could not even come to the funeral.
Life lost its meaning for him. Favorite daughter Leopoldina drowned in the Seine, the youngest daughter finished her life in a psychiatric hospital, two his sons died, his wife and beloved Juliette also died. Renowned genius was alone. He died of a heart attack on May 22, 1885, the birthday of his faithful lover. His body is now buried in the Pantheon, next to the great men of France.
Before Juliette’s death Hugo presented her with his photo on the back of which was a brief inscription: “50 years of love. This is the best of marriages.”