Victor Hugo

So , short title, indeed. Do I need to tell you more? For me the name means France, there are a few more but none as high as Victor Hugo. From time of my early life I read his books first in Spanish, then in English, and finally in French all good.  When we speak fo traditions and literary mind set, he probably means France more than anyone else. For me ,the men is huge.

I cannot find photos but so what, I need to tell you about my France, the deep France, the ones known by others on books and me on beliefs and the thank you to be here, and the many thank you’s to my dear late wife Martine, who show me all about France. I remember.

For me a lousy writer to write about Victor Hugo is a monumental task, one I am not up to it, but will do my best to tell you a bit about the men and France or is it France and then the men, Victor Hugo.

Victor Hugo born at Besançon, February 2, 1802. He married Adéle Foucher in 1822, very early. He went into battle with his work of Hernani in 1830. Entered the Académie Française in 1841 ,entered the City council of Paris in 1845. In  1851 exile to Brussels, return from exile 1868, Senator in 1876, death in Paris and national funeral on May 22 1885 to be entered into the Panthéon. Indeed well deserve all of it.

Victor-Marie Hugo is the son of the Empire General Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo , reaching Count status himself, according to the family tradition, by Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain, and garrisoned in the Doubs at the time of the birth of his son, and Sophie Trebuchet, young woman from the bourgeoisie of Nantes.

On October 12, 1822, he married his childhood friend, Adéle Foucher, born in 1803, in the Church Saint-Sulpice in Paris, she gave birth to five children: Leopold ; Leopoldine ; Charles , François – Victor; and Adele, the only one who survives her illustrious father, but whose mental state, very soon failing, will earn her long years in a health home.

Beginning of February 1804 and the family elects domicile at 76 rue Neuve-des-Petites-Champs. It will remain for almost five years in this apartment of the 2éme arrondissement which unfortunately remains nothing and which today corresponds to no. 20 rue Danielle-Casanova. The couple lives with Adele’s parents. They moved to 90, rue de Vaugirard; then the family moved the following year into a house at 11 rue   Notre-Dame-des-Champs. In May 1830, the family moved again to the Rue Jean-Goujon; where Adele, had their last child. They will live on Rue Jean-Goujon until October 1832. In 1832, Victor Hugo settled in an apartment of the Hôtel de Rohan-Guémené, at no 6 Place Royale, which became Place des Vosges in 1848. For sixteen years, the author of Notre-Dame-de-Paris will write several of his major works here.

At the end of November 1878, Victor Hugo moved to 130, Avenue Eylau, in a mansion in the 16éme arrondissement that belonged to the Princess of Lusignan. It is here that on 27 February 1881, more than 600 000 people will parade under its windows to celebrate its entry into its 80th birthday! Later that year, Avenue Eylau will be renamed Avenue Victor-Hugo , the house is now at 124 Avenue Victor Hugo.

In 1837, Victor Hugo, the journalist Anténor Joly and the writer Alexandre Dumas, committed the creation of a theater that will leave its full place to the romantic dramaturgy, of which Victor Hugo is one of the most illustrious representatives: the Theatre de la Renaissance settled in the premises of the Salle Ventadour, a few steps from the Rue des Petites-Champs where, as a child, the young Victor Hugo had discovered Paris. The theater did not managed to cover its costs and ceases its activity in May 1841. The new Renaissance Theater will be inaugurated on March 8, 1873 at 20, Boulevard Saint-Martin, 10éme arrondissement of Paris.

He is considered one of the most important French-language writers, indeed. He is, also a political figure and a committed intellectual who played a major role in the history of the 19C. It occupies a prominent place in the history of French letters in the 19C, in genres and fields of a remarkable variety. In the theater, Victor Hugo manifests himself as one of the leaders of French romanticism when he exposes his theory of romantic drama in the prefaces that introduce Cromwell in 1827 then Hernani in 1830 which are real manifests, then by his other dramatic works: Ruy Blas in 1838, but also Lucréce Borgia and the Le Roi s’amuse (king has fun). Victor Hugo is also a lyric poet with collections such as Odes and Ballades (1826), Les Feuilles d’Automne (Autumn Leaves 1831) or Contemplations (1856), but he is also a poet committed against Napoleon III in Les Châtiments (Punishment 1853) or even an epic poet with the La Légende des siècles (legend of Centuries 1859 and 1877). His novels also met with great popular success, including Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), and even more with the Les Misérables (wretches of 1862). His multiple work also includes political speeches in the House of Peers, the Constituent Assembly and the legislature, including the death penalty, school or Europe, travel accounts like the Rhine, 1842, or things seen, posthumous, 1887 and 1890, an abundant correspondence, as well as numerous sketches and drawings in pen and wash.

Victor Hugo was a poet, drama writer, romance novel writer that also had a political career. The humanistic message on the speech of 9 july 1849 in the National Assembly of France (Assamblée Générale) and entered in conflict with Louis Napoléon Bonaparte future Napoleon III. To defend their rights of authors and prove that they live off their writing he found the societe of people of letters or sociéte des gens de letters in 1838 initial members included Honoré Balzac Alexandre Dumas, Théophile Gautier, George Sand, and Victor Hugo etc

In 1852 Louis Napoléon Bonaparte propose change in the constitution of the 2nd Republic and Victor Hugo oppose them, the National Assembly refuses the changes ,but his family goes in danger by the police more friendly to Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. His son Charles Hugo is arrested and put in the Conciérgerie, other son Francois-Victor joined him a few weeks later. The coup d’état comes on the night of Dec 2 1851 Victor Hugo tries to get the people of Paris to raise up in arms but the repression is huge, even his friend Alexandre Dumas suggested for him to go into exile and he does. Napoleon III is firmly in his coup d état and the police searched for Victor Hugo. The mistress of Victor Hugo in Sept 1852 was Juliette Drouet and she helped him hide and escape. There is another important mistress at the time name Léonie d’Aunet wife of painter Francois-Auguste Biard who with the knowledge of his formal wife Adéle for seven years, Juliette does not know this. Victor and Leonie are caught by the police she goes two months in jail but not him as adultery was not condemn then and until 1975!!!

In 1843 during a vacation trip to Spain coming back by La Rochelle , he takes the news that his oldest daughter Léopoldine and husband drown in a boat ride in the Seine river. From this date and for a long while until his exile he stop all ,no theater, no novels, not a poem,nothing, as the shock of his daughter death is huge.

Exile in Brussels in 1851 he lived at No 16  Grand Place in the Maison du Moulin à Vent then, No. 27 Grand Place in the Maison du pigeon , and he writes a small journal Napoleon le petit or little napoleon. Juliette Drouet, does not live far away from him, while here, she is in an apartment in the Galeries Saint Hubert where today there is a library call Librairie Tropismes . Victor Hugo patronized the places in the gallery and one today rename the Tavern du Passage where he meets with other writers exile in Brussels such as Rimbaud, Verlaine, etc all in Brussels to able to think freely.

Eventually, he goes to the island of Jersey to lived with Adéle and family. Here while they settle down at Saint Helier in the neighborhood of Marine Terrace, his mistress Juliette comes in at Havre des Pas. In the 1860’s upon returning from Jersey , his wife Adéle and children lived at a house in the Place des Barricades in Brussels. In 1862, he is back in Brussels and settled in a house at the rue des Colonies.

Victor Hugo writes here the Les Contemplations, les Châtiments etc. Eventually he is force to leave the island and goes to Guernsey followed by Juliette. Victor Hugo acquired a house in Hauteville House and rent a house for Juliette a few meters away, his sons Charles and François Victor do visits and in 1863 Adéle dedicates a book to Juliette ;Victor Hugo raconte par un temoin de sa vie (Victor Hugo Tells by a Witness of his life).

In 1871 ,he finds refuge during 3 months and half at the Grand Duché Luxembourg. He stayed there successively in Luxembourg city , Vianden , Diekirch , and Mondorf, where he takes thermal bath cures

Adéle Hugo died 27 august 1868 and Juliette do not come together right away for fear of bad press but in sept 1870 when the second empire is ended and Vctor Hugo come back in triumph to France, Juliette is at his side. She died of cancer on May 11 1883 and from then on Victor Hugo stops writing altogether. He died in 1885 in his mansion or hôtel particulier « La Princesse de Lusignan », that was at no 50 Avenue Victor-Hugo, now it is no 124. The funeral goes under the Arc de Triomphe in May 31 1885 and exposed there, covered in black; a 21 gun salute is given from the  Invalides , and on june 1, 1885 the funeral processesion goes by the Avenue des Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, then bd Saint Germain and bd Saint Michel to arrives at rue Soufflot and his body is transferred to the Panthéon where he lies today he was 83 yr s old, and it is estimated 2 million folks in person participated in the funeral!

He was the most popular writer of his time; It is already for several decades considered as one of the monuments of French literature.

There are several webpages that traces his life, I just put some official ones here

The Association of Friends of Victor Hugo:  http://victor-hugo.org/fr/

The  maison de Victor Hugo  (house museum) is a monographic museum, located at 6 Place des Vosges, in the 4éme arrondissement, which preserves the former Hôtel de Rohan-Guémené where Victor Hugo rented the apartment on the second floor for sixteen years, from 1832 to 1848. More info here:  http://www.maisonsvictorhugo.paris.fr/fr

In French , a bit on the house where he was born in Besançon:  http://www.bm-besancon.fr/index.php?p=1328

Vacquerie in Seine et Marne dept 77 the resting place of his wife Adéle and oldest daughter Léopoldine near the spot where she drown with her husband in 1843 while on a Seine boat ride. Info here:  http://www.museevictorhugo.fr/en/presentation-2/

And I have been too ,in Vianden Luxembourg where his rental house is a museum today , more info: http://www.victor-hugo.lu/cgi-bin/baseportal.pl?htx=/accueil

Info on the houses he lived in the British isles of Jersey and Guernsey: http://hautevillehouse.com/

Victor Hugo in Guernsey

There you go , good reading , I did my duty to write at least this post on this great men, and hope it helps you understand the French a bit more, and do come to check these places out, awesome. Salut

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

 

One Comment to “Victor Hugo”

  1. Thanks for this: What a fascinating and dramatic life!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: