Victor Hugo, the great French playwright

Victor Hugo, the great French playwright

Victor Hugo was one of the most important writers of French literature and the greatest exponent of Romanticism. He was active in politics and, as a playwright, he played all genres. Widely recognized by the society of the time, he was the creator of works that are still exhibited in our theaters today.

He was born on February 26 in Besançon (France) into an upper-class family. His father was general of the French Empire, for which they enjoyed a great reputation. Victor Hugo He spent his childhood in Paris, although he alternated times when he traveled with his father to Naples and Spain. In 1811, he moved to Madrid, where he entered a boarding school, until two years later he returned to Paris.

At this moment is when the young Victor Hugo began to compose some verses. In a completely self-taught way he was able to learn to use rhyme and measure, until he is able to do his “Cahiers de vers français”, Inspired by Cahteaubriand. At fifteen years of age, he obtained a mention of the French Academy and, at seventeen, the highest award in the Floral Games of Toulouse.

His first work was published in 1822, under the title "Odes and various poems”. This work was the one that began to give him the consideration of being one of the axial figures of the romantic movement, a theory that he corroborated by collaborating in “The muse française"Between 1823 and 1824. However, full adherence to the ideals of the new generation came with his drama in verse"Cromwell"In 1827. The preface of this work is considered by historians as the first great manifesto of French romanticism, since it says it contains the phrase:"In favor of the freedom of art against the despotism of systems, codes and rules”.

Before his great romantic work, his "New Odes" had already appeared in 1823, his "Ballads" in 1826, as well as the novels "Han from Iceland" and Bug-Jargal. But from the following years, his personal life went into free fall. Victor Hugo She witnessed an acute marital crisis with Adèle Fouchet, so she ended up falling into the hands of her assistant, Juliette Drouet.

It might seem that this time was terrible for the playwright, but the truth is that a series of capital works emerged that would increase his prestige and recognition. Among them are the poetic compilations "Las Orientales" in 1829, "Autumn leaves" in 1831 and "The songs of twilight" in 1835. In addition, to this must be added the deepening that Víctor Hugo made in the genre of historical dramas, such as, “Marion delorme"In 1831,"Lucrecia Borgia"In 1833 and" Hernani "in 1830.

This title was set in Spain at the beginning of the 16th century and its protagonist was the so-called “Battle of Hernani”, In which the conservative audience of French comedy and the young romantics led by Théophile Gautier clashed. The world of the novel also benefited from the inspiration of Victor Hugo and featured the famous "Our Lady of Paris" in 1831. It was a tragedy that was dominated, like many of his works, by the idea of fatality.

This period of great works was followed by one of stagnation in the life of the writer, who focused his attention on political and worldly life. I enter the courts, supporting the group of liberals who faced Carlos X, leading to the Paris Revolution of 1830. A few years later, in 1845, he was named a French peer by Louis Philippe of Orleans. His publications during this time are quite rare, but he published the descriptive letters for "The Rhine" in 1842 and the drama "The Burgraves" in 1843.

After a decisive turn in its political ideology, it adhered to the republican cause at the moment in which the French Republic was sinking. This fact was the trigger that in January 1852 he was included in the list of those outlawed by Napoleon III, forcing him to go into exile in Brussels, Jersey and Guernsey, successively, not returning to France until September 1870, after nineteen years of exile. It was the time in which he made the affirmation of his genius and in which his work acquired greater depth and a determined will to bear witness.

Against Louis Napoleon he directed the pamphlet “Napoleon the little"In 1852 and the satires of" Los Castigos "in 1853. His next three books of poems represented the culmination of his participation in this genre. The first was "The contemplations"In 1856; the second, his monumental historical-mythical projection cycle "The legend of the centuries", which he published in 1859, 1877 and 1883; and the third, the "Songs of the streets and forests"In 1865. In the field of the novel, three other works decisively ratified his mastery as a great epic prose writer:" Les miserables "in 1862,"The workers of the sea"In 1866 and"The man who laughs”In 1869.

Again in France, in 1871 Víctor Hugo was elected deputy of the Constituent Assembly and, although he did not approve of the Commune, he defended its representatives after the violent repression that followed his defeat. In these bloody events, works such as “The terrible year"In 1872 and the novel"Ninety three”In 1874, centered on the French Revolution and the repressions of the Vendée.

The misfortune of his career occurred in July 1878, when he suffered a cerebral congestion that practically prevented him from continuing to write. He tried to do more work, but it was very difficult work. At his death, on May 22, 1885, national funerals were held and he was buried in the Pantheon. His posthumous titles include “Things seen”, “The doom years" and his "1830-1848 Diary”.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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