The lesser known facts about famous French novelist-poet Victor Hugo!

Victor Hugo

Facts of Victor Hugo

Full Name: Victor Hugo
Age: 218 years 1 months
Birth Date: February 26, 1802
Horoscope: Pisces
Lucky Number: 10
Lucky Stone: Aquamarine
Lucky Color: Sea Green
Best Match for Marriage: Cancer, Scorpio
Death Date: May 22, 1885
Birth Place: Besançon, France
Father's Name: Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo
Mother's Name: Sophie Trébuchet
Marital Status: Not Known
Gender: male
Profession: poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement
Education: Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Height / How tall? : 5 feet 10 inches (1.78m)
Nationality: French
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French writer Victor Hugo wrote the epic historical novel ‘Les Miserables’. He was not only a writer, poet, and artist, but also a human rights activist, politician and a saint. His novels reflect his thinking about society and the wrongs in it. There are a number of lesser-known facts about Victor Hugo’s life and work which we enumerate below!

Where was Victor Hugo born?

Victor Hugo was born in France, Besançon in the eastern region of Franche-Comté to be precise, in the year 1802. But Victor fled to Britain where he stayed for over 15 years. His parents were Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo (1774–1828) and Sophie Trébuchet (1772–1821). He was the third son and his elder brothers were Abel Joseph Hugo(1798–1855) and Eugène Hugo (1800–1837).

Source: Al Jazeera (Victor Hugo)

His father used to serve Napolean and was a General in the Napoleonic Wars. His mother was a Catholic Royalist. These conflicting political views of his parents meant that his childhood was one of political turmoil.

His childhood was also one where travels were frequent due to his father’s job. This helped since Victor learned from these trips and exposure to different places, people, and culture. His mother was tired of all the travels and decided to remain in Paris later with her children. She was the person who had a major role in Victor’s education and upbringing. Hence her influence on his tender mind was stronger. It was only after the 1848 Revolution that Victor veered towards Republicanism and freethought.

 Victor Hugo Writings

Victor experienced a lot during his childhood travels and decided to pen them down into a novel. His first novel was released in 1823. The second took 3 years to be published and came out in 1826. From 1829-1840, Victor had produced 5 volumes of his poems. This strengthened his position as the world’s most famed poet and lyricist.

Source: Daily Express (Victor Hugo)

1943 marked the death of his daughter Leopoldine due to drowning. Victor was deeply hurt by this event and had never recovered from this loss in his life. He wrote multiple poems on her and dedicated to her memory.

The main and strong influencer of his writings was France’s, François-René de Chateaubriand. Victor had vowed that he would be ‘chateaubriand or nothing’-such of the influence. He had got fame before he reached 30. His 1822 publication of poem collection provided him with a royal pension from Louis XVIII. In 1931, he published The Hunch-back of Notre Dame and was quickly translated into other languages of Europe. This novel caused a great change and restoration and preservation of tourist hotspots began soon after in Paris.

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Les Miserables and Britain

Victor’s novel The Last Day of a condemned man was published in 1932 and is considered a precursor of his greatest work Les Miserables. Victor started work on Les Miserables in 1845 and it took him 17 years to complete. The major part of the work was written in Britain where Victor had self-exiled himself from 1851. It released in 1862 and became the most famous work of French literature.

Victor had a premonition that Les Miserables would gain popularity.

Source: ebay (Les Miserables novel)

He had written to his publisher :

“My conviction is that this book is going to be one of the peaks, if not the crowning point of my work.”

Victor-the social activist

Victor always favored justice and equality. He used his fame to push for social changes. His novels explored poverty, misery, injustice, politics, and moral philosophy.

Victor-the politician

Victor was elected to France’s National Assembly in 1848 and he used his position to fight for human rights, an end to poverty, free education to children, and universal suffrage. He campaigned for the

Source: Classic FM (Victor Hugo)

abolishment of death penalty.

His further works

Victor wrote Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea) which was released in 1866. His next novel was The Man Who Laughs (1869). His next released in 1874 and was called Ninety-three.

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 Victor Hugo relationships

Victor got engaged to his childhood friend Adèle Foucher (1803–1868) secretly and against his mother’s wishes. He married her in 1822 after his mother’s death in 1821.

Source: Buzzfeed (Victor Hugo’s mistress Juliet)

His first son Leopold was born and died in 1823. On 28 August 1824, his second child a daughter Leopoldine was born but she died when she was 19. He had other children with his wife-Charles (4 November 1826), François-Victor (28 October 1828), and Adèle (Musician) (24 August 1830). He also had mistresses and a number of casual affairs.

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 Victor Hugo death

Victor returned to Paris in 1970 and was declared a national hero. He was very optimistic about humanistic progress. In 1879, he had said:

“In the twentieth century war will be dead, the scaffold will be dead, hatred will be dead, frontier boundaries will be dead, dogmas will be dead; man will live.”

He had a mild stroke in 1878, his daughter Adele was admitted to an asylum and his 2 sons died. His loyal mistress,  Juliette Drouet died in 1883. On 22 May 1885, Victor breathed his last and the death was attributed to pneumonia. He was given a state funeral and there were more than 2 million people for his last procession.

Source: Earn the necklace (Victor Hugo)

A number of memorials were built in his honor and in Vietnam, he is venerated as a saint.

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