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Victor Hugo Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 26 February 1802Besançon, Doubs, France
Date of Death 22 May 1885Paris, France  (pneumonia)
Birth NameVictor Marie Hugo
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Although Hugo was fascinated by poems from childhood on, he spent some time on the polytechnic university of Paris until he dedicated all his work to literature. He was one of the few authors who were allowed to reach popularity during lifetime and one of the leaders of French romance.

After the death of his daughter 'Leopoldine' in 1843 he started a career in politics and became member of the Paris chamber where he fought for left ideas. After the reestablishing of monarchy he had to go into exil to Guernesey (1851 - 1870) where his literal work became more important, e.g. "Les Miserables" was written during that period. After his return to Paris he did not join politics anymore.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm

Victor-Marie Hugo was born on February 26, 1802, in Besançon, France. His father, Joseph-Leopold Hugo, was a general in Napoleon's army who served as Military Governor in Italy and Spain. His mother, Sophie Trebuchet, had an affair with his father's commander, who was shot in 1812 for plotting against Napoleon. At that time young Victor studied at College Louis-le-Grand. In 1819 he founded a review, the "Conservateur Litteraire". In 1822 he published his first collection of poems, "Odes et Poesies Diverses". It gained him ao a royal pension from King Louis XVIII.

He shot to international fame as a playwright with his play "Hernani" (1830). It played to full houses in many countries and had a lasting impact on 19th-century theatre. It also was made into an eponymous opera by Giuseppe Verdi. Hugo's play, "Le roi s'amuse" (1832), became another Verdi opera, "Rigoletto", which has been a staple of many theaters ever since. Hugo's next big theatrical hit was "Lucrezia Borgia" (1833), starring Juliette Drouet, who was a former mistress of Napoleon. In 1834 "Lucrezia Borgia" was transformed into a libretto for the eponymous opera by Gaetano Donizetti.

Drouet became Hugo's life-long mistress and muse. She inspired him to write several volumes of lyrical poetry dedicated to her. She was loyal to Hugo and their relationship lasted for 50 years, until her death in 1882. She was recognized even by Hugo's wife, and was accepted in the family. At the same time Hugo had another affair with Léonie d'Aunet, who was an inspiration for his collection of poetry of an intensely sexual content. It was published as "Mme. Biard poems" in 1848. Hugo remained being a ladies man throughout his life. In 1878 he suffered from a mild stroke after having an exhaustive "game" with his maid. After recovery Hugo continued relationship with Juliett Drouet.

Hugo was an important political figure of his time. His political career was based on his support of Republicanism as a democratic form of government. In 1841 he was appointed Pair de France. He entered the Higher Chamber, where he became a strong proponent of freedom of the press. His position against the death penalty and social injustice gained him tremendous popularity in all layers of society. In 1851, when Napoleon III seized power, Hugo declared him a traitor to the Republic of France. After that Hugo's life was in grave danger. He managed to escape to Brussels, then to the island of Guernsey, where he would live with his family in exile for almost twenty years, until 1870. After the unpopular Napoleon III fell from power, Hugo returned to the Third Republic, and was elected to the Senate.

He published over 50 novels and plays during his lifetime, followed by 20 more posthumous publications. Hugo's literary works had a profound influence on such writers as Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens, among many others. "Les Misérables" (1862) became one of the most well known novels of the 19th century and remains influential in contemporary culture. It became a popular Broadway musical, and was also adapted for film and television more that 40 times in many countries, with the best known film version being made in 1995 (Les misérables (1995)) starring Liam Neeson. The 1996 animated version of his book "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)) was nominated for an Oscar.

Victor Hugo was among the most important cultural figures of his time. He was also acknowledged for his political work in shaping democracy and the Third Republic. He died on May 22, 1885, in Paris. His burial ceremony was that of a statesman, and his funeral procession was attended by an estimated one million people. He was laid to rest in the Pantheon on Paris, France.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (1)

Adèle Fourcher (12 October 1822 - 1868) (her death) (4 children)

Trivia (18)

Appointed Pair de France. (1845)
Had a mistress, Juliette Gauvain (aka Juliette Drouet), for 50 years, although he had many other affairs. He escaped sentencing for adultery in 1845 by royal pardon. His wife, Adèle, became involved with critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve shortly after their marriage, although the nature of the relationship is uncertain.
His brother, Eugène, went mad when Hugo married Adèle Fourcher, whom the brothers had known since childhood and whom Eugène was secretly in love with. He died at Charenton Asylum on 20 February 1837.
"Les Misérables" is the source for 48 operas; "Notre Dame de Paris" (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is the source for 16 operas.
Mortified to be descended from commoners - his father was a soldier who rose to be a general in Napoléon Bonaparte's army; his mother was the daughter of a sea captain - he "adopted" more illustrious Hugo ancestors, and designed a crest for himself with the words "Ego Hugo."
Children: Léopold (16 July - 10 October 1823); Léopoldine (28 August 1824 - 4 September 1843); Charles (4 November 1826 - 13 March 1871); François-Victor (28 October 1828 - 26 December 1873); Adèle (24 August 1830 - 21 April 1915). Some biographers give Charles's birth date as 3 November 1826, and Adèle's as 28 July 1830. Adèle's unrequited love for an English soldier was the basis of the film The Story of Adele H (1975).
He was at the bedside of Honoré de Balzac when he died.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche included Hugo in his list of "impossible people", describing him as "a lighthouse in a sea of absurdity."
In 1848, he announced his candidacy for president of the French Republic, but he got very few votes.
He won a seat in the National Assembly in 1871, but soon resigned out of frustration with the political process.
In 1884, just months before his death, Hugo visited the massive construction site of The Statue of Liberty. He was said to be impressed and said "The idea, it is everything.".
His remains were interred at the Pantheon in Paris, France.
In addition to having been adapted into a hit stage musical, Les Miserables has also been the basis for two hit television series. Roy Higgins modeled Richard Kimble, the main character of The Fugitive, on Jean Valjean. His pursuer, Gerard, was so named because it sounded similar to Javert. This was also used as the basis for Dr. Banner moving from town to town in The Incredible Hulk, with Javert as the basis for his pursuer, journalist Jack McGee.
The appearance of Gwynplaine, the hero of The Man Who Laughs; especially as portrayed by Conrad Veidt, was the inspiration for the appearance of Batman's greatest enemy, The Joker.
The publication of Les Miserables led to the shortest ever correspondence at that point in history. Hugo was in England when it was published, and therefore didn't know how successful it would be. His single-character telegraph to his publisher was simply a question mark, signifying that he was asking how the publication was going. His publisher indicated it was a hit with a single-character response: an exclamation point.
His novel Les Miserables became a hit among Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. In fact, in reference to the novel, they often referred to themselves as "Lee's Miserables." Ironically, Hugo was anything but a southern sympathizer. He wrote a strongly worded public letter condemning the U.S. government for the then-pending execution of abolitionist John Brown, and even created a painting of the tragic event itself.
Was a personal favorite of Ayn Rand, who was inspired to become a writer from reading his books.
Pantheon, Paris, France [1996]

Personal Quotes (23)

Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Certain thoughts are prayers. They are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
The left-handed are precious; they take places which are inconvenient for the rest.
A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.
Nothing awakens a reminiscence like an odor.
Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view?
To rescue from oblivion even a fragment of a language which men have used and which is in danger of being lost--that is to say, one of the elements, whether good or bad, which have shaped and complicated civilization--is to extend the scope of social observation and to serve civilization.
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
Imagination is intelligence with an erection.
Popularity? It is glory's small change.
Man lives by affirmation even more than he does by bread.
[on bravery] Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
[on the future] There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
Caution is the eldest child of wisdom.
To die is nothing. Not to live is frightful.
Not being heard is no reason for silence.
A writer is a World trapped inside a person.
Common sense is in spite of, not because of, Education.
The Devil may visit us, but God lives here.
The Paradise of the Rich is made from the Hell of the Poor.
Music is noise that thinks.
Men become accustomed to poison by degrees.

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