Victor Hugo has long been one of France’s most well-known writers. This Romantic poet, dramatist, and novelist, has remained significant since his publishing. Though his writing has a substantial variety of themes, some of his most famous works bring forth his increasingly radical ideas regarding social and political reform, which he developed during France’s most tumultuous eras, in a time of almost constant governmental revolution.
On February 26, 1802, Victor Marie Hugo was born, the third son to parents Léopold Hugo and Sophie Trébuchet in Besançon, France. His father was a general under Napoleon, allowing for travel to both Italy and Spain during Hugo’s childhood. These locations served as inspiration for some of his poems found in
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One of Hugo’s most famous novels, Notre-Dame de Paris (in English, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), was first printed in 1831, followed by a period of extreme productivity, which lasted through most of the 1830’s and into the 1840’s. The focus of the greater part of these works focus on “capital punishment, the plight of the poor, and social injustice” (Frey). During this time, Hugo produced four collections of poetry. Les Feuilles d’automne (Autumn leaves) was published in 1831, followed by Les Chants du crépuscule (Twilight songs) in 1835. The first printing for both the volumes Les Voix intérieures (Interior voices) and Les Rayons et les ombres (Light and shadow) began in 1840. He also revised some of his older works, including Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné (The last day of a condemned man); BugJargal, an abolitionist text; the novel Han d’Islande; and Claude Gueux, a text regarding capital punishment (Frey).
Several theatre productions also came about during the period of productivity. Marion de Lorme (1831) and Le Roi s’amuse (The king has a good time) (1832) were popular with audiences. The latter became the foundation for Rigoletto: Lucréce Borgia, an opera by Verdi. In 1833, Marie Tudor was performed for the first time, and 1838 saw the production of what some consider to be Hugo’s greatest drama: Ruy Blas (Frey). Unlike his poems and novels, the plays Hugo produced were mainly used