Saturday, May 22, 2010

Deathday: Victor Hugo 1802-1885 French Author

Victor-Marie Hugo (French pronunciation: [viktɔʁ maʁi yˈɡo]) (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France.

In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem, and Hugo is sometimes identified as the greatest French poet. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (known in English also as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).

Though a committed conservative royalist when he was young, Hugo grew more liberal as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time.

Victor Hugo's death on 22 May 1885, at the age of 83, generated intense national mourning. He was not only revered as a towering figure in literature, he was a statesman who shaped the Third Republic and democracy in France. More than two million people joined his funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he was buried. He shares a crypt within the Panthéon with Alexandre Dumas and Émile Zola. Most large French towns and cities have a street named for him. The avenue where he died, in Paris, now bears his name.

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