Presentation and History of Victor Hugo

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We are undisputed fans of reading and we are going to introduce you to Victor Hugo.

Victor Hugo is one of the greatest French writers. Whether it was poems, plays or even novels, he knew how to captivate his listeners with the help of his pen. Come discover his political and sentimental life.

In this article, we will see:

  • Quick information
  • Hugo's biography
  • An aside on his political life
  • Works recognized by all

Let's start now by discovering information about Victor Hugo.

Presentation of Victor Hugo

Portrait of Vicot Hugo

Here are some important points to summarize the character of Victor Hugo.

  • Birth: February 26, 1802 in Besançon
  • Death: May 22, 1885 (aged 83)
  • French nationality
  • Activity: Poet, Novelist, Playwright
  • Children: Léopold Hugo, Léopoldine Hugo, Charles Hugo, François-Victor Hugo, Adèle Hugo
  • Spouse: Adèle Foucher (1822 to 1868)

The story of one of the greatest French writers

He was born on February 26, 1802 . He is the last of three children . His two eldest children were Abel Joseph Hugo (1798-1855) and Eugène Hugo (1800-1837). He spent his entire youth in Paris.

Adèle Foucher , childhood friend and future wife, says he started writing at a very young age. He taught himself to write, and it was at the age of 15 that he participated in his first poetry competition , later he would participate in other competitions, people would realize his undeniable talent.

In June 1821 his mother died, which affected him deeply. Subsequently he married his childhood friend Adèle Foucher. They conceived five children together, the first, Léopold, in 1823, only lived a few months. Léopoldine followed in 1824, Charles in 1826, François-Victor in 1828 and Adèle in 1830.

Adèle, then abandoned by her husband, begins an unfaithful relationship with his best friend.

In 1833, he met Juliette Drouet , she became his mistress and remained so until her death, for 5 years. He loved writing poems in the name of this love, they had a “Birthday Book” notebook that they kept together.

Victor Hugo had countless mistresses in his life, Léonie d'Aunet from 1844 to 1851, Alice Ozy in 1947 even though his son Charles already had a relationship with her.

On September 4, 1843, Léopoldine , her eldest daughter, died drowned in the Seine with her husband. When he heard the news through the newspapers, he was in the Pyrenees, with his mistress Juliette. He will blame himself for it all his life thinking that a divinity had punished him because of his infidelity. He will be consumed by grief, this will inspire several poems in his collection of Contemplations such as “ Tomorrow, from dawn …”. From that moment, until his exile, Hugo stopped writing.

In February 1848 he became mayor of the 8th arrondissement of Paris. Which marks his entry into politics.

At the beginning of December 1851, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte staged a coup d'état, Victor Hugo tried to resist without success. Having become an opponent of power, he headed towards Brussels. His exile will last 19 long years . 18 months later, he joined Jersey, an island between France and England.

He was then expelled from Jersey in 1855 because of writings considered disturbing, he sailed for the neighboring island Guernsey.

In 1859 Napoleon allowed all the condemned to return to France, Hugo refused and said “Faithful to the commitment I made to my conscience, I will share the exile of freedom until the end” .

It was towards the end of his exile that he began to write again and it was on September 5, 1870 that he returned to France like a hero, the day after the proclamation of the Republic.

He was elected to the national assembly and sat in Bordeaux on February 8, 1871, he resigned shortly after because of a disagreement. A little over a month later his son Charles died suddenly of apoplexy. In 1876 he was elected senator .

He died in 1885 following pulmonary congestion and as a sign of fate on the birthday of his mistress Juliette Drouet with whom he had a passionate relationship. He is and will remain an emblematic figure of the republic and an outstanding writer.

He had a ceremony worthy of the greatest, two million people and several thousand delegations came to pay their last respects. He now rests in the Pantheon and has international recognition .

What to remember about Victor Hugo?

We are going to tell you about Victor Hugo's involvement in politics. He has participated in this field at national and European level.

His report to the Republic

In 1848, when he was mayor of the 8th arrondissement of Paris, Mr. Hugo had some reservations about the Republic. But only a year later he was one of the most fervent defenders of this regime, because he realized that only the republic could allow progressive ideas to emerge and succeed.

Its relationship to Europe

This great man is a pioneer in the thought of European unification . He wanted to combine unity and diversity . During the peace congress in 1849 he said “A day will come when we will see these two immense groups, the United States of America, the United States of Europe [...]”. In his immense wisdom, he was able to foresee the future of our continent.

Some works written by the author

Victor Hugo was very productive throughout his life, here is a selection which lists his most famous writings:

Poetry :

  • Odes and Ballads (1828)
  • The Orientals (1829)
  • Autumn Leaves (1831)
  • Punishments (1853)
  • The Contemplations (1856)
  • The Legend of the Centuries (1859, 1877, 1883)

Theater :

  • Cromwell (1827)
  • Hernani (1830)
  • Marion de Lorme (1831)
  • Lucrezia Borgia (1833)
  • Mary Tudor (1833)
  • Ruy Blas (1838)


  • The Last Day of a Convict (1829)
  • Notre-Dame de Paris (1831)
  • Les Miserables (1862)
  • The Sea Workers (1866)
  • Ninety-three (1874)

3 memorable quotes from Victor Hugo

Here are 3 quotes from the writer's works:

“Almost no one is so pure from sin as not to deserve punishment.” Victor Hugo, The Contemplations

“Everything that is dead as a fact is alive as a teaching.” Victor Hugo, The little ones

“The future, empty-handed ghost, which promises everything and has nothing!” Victor Hugo, Pile of stones

Some sources: Wikipedia , Google , Larousse , France Culture