Hugo, Victor-Marie (18021885)

Hugo, Victor-Marie, a famous French poet and novelist, born at Besançon; as a boy he accompanied his father, a general in Joseph Bonaparte's army, through the campaigns in Italy and Spain; at 14 he produced a tragedy, and six years later appeared his “Odes et Ballades”; in 1827 was published his famous tragedy “Cromwell,” which placed him at the head of the Romanticists, and in “Hernani” (1830) the departure from the old classic novels was more emphatically asserted; his superabundant genius continued to pour forth a quick succession of dramas, novels, essays, and poems, in which he revealed himself one of the most potent masters of the French language; he was admitted to the French Academy, and in 1845 was created a peer; he engaged in politics first as a Royalist and next as a Democrat, fled to Brussels after the coup d'état; subsequently he established himself in Jersey and then in Guernsey, where he wrote his great novels “Les Misérables,” “Les Travailleurs de la Mer,” etc.; he returned to France in 1870, engaged in politics again, became a senator, and continued to produce works with undiminished energy; his writings were in the first instance a protest against the self-restraint and coldness of the old classic models, but were as truly a faithful expression of his own intense and assertive egoism, and are characteristic of his school in their exaggerated sentiment and pervading self-consciousness (18021885).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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