Victor Hugo - Author, Birthday and Childhood

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Victor Hugo's Personal Details

Victor Hugo was a French poet, novelist and a leading figure of the Romantic Movement in France

InformationDetail
BirthdayFebruary 26, 1802
Died onMay 22, 1885
NationalityFrench
FamousAuthor, Poets, Activists, Human Rights Activists, Poets
SpousesAdèle Foucher
SiblingsAbel Joseph Hugo, Eugène Hugo
Childrens Adèle
Universities
  • Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Birth PlaceFrance
GenderMale
FatherJoseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo
MotherSophie Trébuchet
Sun SignPisces
Born inFrance
Famous asAuthor & Poet
Died at Age83

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Victor Hugo's photo

Who is Victor Hugo?

Victor Hugo was a renowned poet, novelist and playwright of the Romantic Movement in 19th century France. He is considered by many as one of the greatest and best-known French authors of all times. He was also a political statesman and human rights activist, although he is primarily remembered for his literary creations like poetry and novels. In France, he is most revered for his poetry followed by his novels and dramas. Some examples of his outstanding poetry are ‘Les Contemplations’ and ‘Les Legende des siecles’. His most popular novels are ‘Les Misérables’, ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’ (‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’), and ‘Les Travailleurs de la Mer’. His work explores the political and social issues of his time and his books have been translated to several foreign languages. He also produced more than 4,000 beautiful drawings. He grew up embracing the Catholic Royalist faith followed by his mother but gradually became a freethinking republican in the events leading to the French Revolution. He was the foremost supporter of the Romantic Movement in France and campaigned for social causes like the abolition of capital punishment. He also helped to establish the Third Republican and democracy in France.

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Childhood & Early Life

Victor Hugo was born on 26 February 1802 in Besancon, France, to Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo and Sophie Trebuchet. He was the third-born and the youngest son of the family. His elder siblings were Abel Joseph Hugo and Eugene Hugo.

His father, Joseph was a freethinking republican. He was an important officer in the army of Napoleon and considered him his idol. On the other hand, his mother Sophie was a devoted Catholic Royalist. The political incompatibility of his parents adversely affected their family life.

Joseph’s job required him to move constantly from one place to another. Travelling with his father to different countries, young Hugo developed a liking for nature and beauty. By 1803, his mother was exhausted of travelling and decided to stay back in Paris while his father went to Italy. She took up the responsibility of Victor’s education and successfully imbibed in him the Catholic faith.

Career

Victor Hugo was inspired by François-René de Chateaubriand, the founder of Romanticism in French literature. In 1822 at the age of 20, his first volume of poetry ‘Odes et Poésies Diverses’ was published which established his reputation as a poet and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Four years later, his second collection of poetry ‘Odes et Ballades’ (1826) strengthened his reputation further.

Meanwhile, his first novel ‘Han d'Islande’ was published in 1823, followed by his second novel ‘Bug-Jargal’, published in 1826. From 1829 – 1840, he published five collections of poetry: ‘Les Orientales’ (1829); ‘Les Feuilles d'automne’ (1831); ‘Les Chants du crépuscule’ (1835); ‘Les Voix intérieures’ (1837); and ‘Les Rayons et les ombres’ (1840).

In 1829, he also published a fiction ‘Le Dernier jour d'un condamné’ (The Last Day of a Condemned Man), his first mature work. The work was based upon the real life story of a murderer and reflected the acute social conscience.

His first full-length book was ‘Notre- Dame de Paris’ (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), published in 1831. It was immensely successful and was promptly translated to a number of foreign languages. It made the Cathedral of Notre Dame and other Renaissance buildings popular among the people of Europe and encouraged their preservation.

Around 1830, he embarked on writing the most important novel of his literary career: ‘Les Misérables’. The work explored social misery and injustice. After several years of writing followed by planned marketing campaigns by the Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckh, the novel was finally published in 1862. The success of the novel turned his fortune.

In 1841, after three futile attempts, he was elected to the Académie française. Thereafter, he became more and more involved in French politics, supporting the Republic form of government. King Louis-Philippe promoted him and made him a part of the Higher Chamber as a ‘pair de France’.

After the Revolution of 1848 and the establishment of the Second Republic, he was elected to the Parliament as a conservative. A few years later, when Napoleon III seized power in 1851 and established an anti-parliamentary constitution, he objected openly calling him a traitor. As a result he was exiled; he settled in Guernsey and lived there until 1870.

During his exile, he published two famous political pamphlets against Napoleon III, ‘Napoléon le Petit’ and ‘Histoire d'un crime’. Although the pamphlets were banned in France, they managed to create a strong impact there nonetheless.

In 1859, when amnesty was granted to all political exiles by Napoleon III, he chose not to return to France and imposed upon himself a self-exile. He was determined to return only when the Napoleon dynasty was removed from power.

Meanwhile on the literary front, he published his next novel ‘Les Travailleurs de la Mer’ (Toilers of the Sea) in 1866. The story portrayed a man's battle with the sea and its deadly creatures, a symbolic theme not far removed from the political turmoil prevailing at the moment. The success of his previous novel, ‘Les Misérables’ ensured that ‘Les Travailleurs de la Mer’ was also a success.

With his next novel ‘L'Homme Qui Rit’ (The Man Who Laughs), he again returned to social issues. The book published in 1869, depicted a critical image of the upper class. It, however, failed to secure a distinctive position in French literature.

After the fall of Napoleon III and the establishment of the Third Republic in France, Victor Hugo returned to his country in 1870 and was soon appointed to the National Assembly and the Senate. He also became a founding member of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale. Two years later in 1872, he lost the National Assembly election.

The writings of his last few years were murky, highlighting themes like God, Satan, and death. His last novel ‘Quatrevingt-treize’ (Ninety-Three) was published in 1874. The book presented a picture of the atrocities committed during the French Revolution. Regardless of the completely new subject matter, it failed to achieve success.

Major Works

In 1831, Victor Hugo published the Gothic novel, ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’ (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). The story is set in the late medieval period of Paris, France, and presents a grim picture of the society that humiliates and rejects the hunchback Quasimodo. The novel was immensely successful.

Another of his famous novels, ‘Les Misérables’ was published in 1862 after several years of hard work. The story involving several characters primarily unravels the destiny of a convict Jean Valjean, a victim of the society who had been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. The novel was an instant success and was quickly translated into several languages.

Personal Life & Legacy

Victor Hugo’s education in his childhood was largely supervised by his mother who was a devout Catholic Royalist. Hence his early literary works reflect his commitment to both the King and Faith. Later however, during the events leading up to France's 1848 Revolution, he began to rebel against the Catholic beliefs and championed Republicanism and Free-thought instead.

Much against his mother's approval, he got secretly engaged to his childhood sweetheart Adèle Foucher and married her later in 1822, after his mother’s death. The couple had their first child, Léopold in 1823 but the boy did not survive. In August 1824, the couple's second child, Léopoldine was born followed by Charles in November 1826, François-Victor in October 1828, and Adèle in August 1830.

His daughter Léopoldine died in 1843 at the young age of 19, shortly after her marriage to Charles Vacquerie. She drowned in the Seine at Villequier when her boat overturned; her husband also died trying to save her. Her death left Hugo devastated.

He lost his wife in 1868. In the next decade, he lost two sons between 1871 and 1873. His mistress, Juliet Drouet died in 1883.

In 1878, he began suffering from cerebral congestion. On 22 May 1885 at the age of 83, Victor Hugo breathed his last. His death was lamented by the whole country. His body was rested in state beneath the Arc de Triomphe before burial in the Panthéon.

His residences - Hauteville House, Guernsey and 6, Place des Vosges, Paris have been preserved as museums. The house where he stayed in Vianden, Luxembourg, in 1871 has also become a memorial museum.

Trivia

To honor his entering his 80th year in 1881, celebrations across France were organized which included the largest parade in French history. Thereafter, several streets and roads all over France were named after him. His portrait was also placed on French Franc banknotes.

He is respected as a saint in the Vietnamese religion of Cao Đài.

// Famous Activists

Victor Hugo biography timelines

  • // 26th Feb 1802
    Victor Hugo was born on 26 February 1802 in Besancon, France, to Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo and Sophie Trebuchet. He was the third-born and the youngest son of the family. His elder siblings were Abel Joseph Hugo and Eugene Hugo.
  • // 1822 To 1826
    Victor Hugo was inspired by François-René de Chateaubriand, the founder of Romanticism in French literature. In 1822 at the age of 20, his first volume of poetry ‘Odes et Poésies Diverses’ was published which established his reputation as a poet and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Four years later, his second collection of poetry ‘Odes et Ballades’ (1826) strengthened his reputation further.
  • // 1822 To 1830
    Much against his mother's approval, he got secretly engaged to his childhood sweetheart Adèle Foucher and married her later in 1822, after his mother’s death. The couple had their first child, Léopold in 1823 but the boy did not survive. In August 1824, the couple's second child, Léopoldine was born followed by Charles in November 1826, François-Victor in October 1828, and Adèle in August 1830.
  • // 1823 To 1840
    Meanwhile, his first novel ‘Han d'Islande’ was published in 1823, followed by his second novel ‘Bug-Jargal’, published in 1826. From 1829 – 1840, he published five collections of poetry: ‘Les Orientales’ (1829); ‘Les Feuilles d'automne’ (1831); ‘Les Chants du crépuscule’ (1835); ‘Les Voix intérieures’ (1837); and ‘Les Rayons et les ombres’ (1840).
  • // 1829
    In 1829, he also published a fiction ‘Le Dernier jour d'un condamné’ (The Last Day of a Condemned Man), his first mature work. The work was based upon the real life story of a murderer and reflected the acute social conscience.
  • // 1830
    Around 1830, he embarked on writing the most important novel of his literary career: ‘Les Misérables’. The work explored social misery and injustice. After several years of writing followed by planned marketing campaigns by the Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckh, the novel was finally published in 1862. The success of the novel turned his fortune.
  • // 1831
    His first full-length book was ‘Notre- Dame de Paris’ (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), published in 1831. It was immensely successful and was promptly translated to a number of foreign languages. It made the Cathedral of Notre Dame and other Renaissance buildings popular among the people of Europe and encouraged their preservation.
  • // 1831
    In 1831, Victor Hugo published the Gothic novel, ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’ (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). The story is set in the late medieval period of Paris, France, and presents a grim picture of the society that humiliates and rejects the hunchback Quasimodo. The novel was immensely successful.
  • // 1832
    Another of his famous novels, ‘Les Misérables’ was published in 1862 after several years of hard work. The story involving several characters primarily unravels the destiny of a convict Jean Valjean, a victim of the society who had been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. The novel was an instant success and was quickly translated into several languages.
  • // 1841
    In 1841, after three futile attempts, he was elected to the Académie française. Thereafter, he became more and more involved in French politics, supporting the Republic form of government. King Louis-Philippe promoted him and made him a part of the Higher Chamber as a ‘pair de France’.
  • // 1843
    His daughter Léopoldine died in 1843 at the young age of 19, shortly after her marriage to Charles Vacquerie. She drowned in the Seine at Villequier when her boat overturned; her husband also died trying to save her. Her death left Hugo devastated.
  • // 1848 To 1870
    After the Revolution of 1848 and the establishment of the Second Republic, he was elected to the Parliament as a conservative. A few years later, when Napoleon III seized power in 1851 and established an anti-parliamentary constitution, he objected openly calling him a traitor. As a result he was exiled; he settled in Guernsey and lived there until 1870.
  • // 1859
    In 1859, when amnesty was granted to all political exiles by Napoleon III, he chose not to return to France and imposed upon himself a self-exile. He was determined to return only when the Napoleon dynasty was removed from power.
  • // 1868 To 1883
    He lost his wife in 1868. In the next decade, he lost two sons between 1871 and 1873. His mistress, Juliet Drouet died in 1883.
  • // 1870
    After the fall of Napoleon III and the establishment of the Third Republic in France, Victor Hugo returned to his country in 1870 and was soon appointed to the National Assembly and the Senate. He also became a founding member of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale. Two years later in 1872, he lost the National Assembly election.
  • // 1871
    His residences - Hauteville House, Guernsey and 6, Place des Vosges, Paris have been preserved as museums. The house where he stayed in Vianden, Luxembourg, in 1871 has also become a memorial museum.
  • // 1874
    The writings of his last few years were murky, highlighting themes like God, Satan, and death. His last novel ‘Quatrevingt-treize’ (Ninety-Three) was published in 1874. The book presented a picture of the atrocities committed during the French Revolution. Regardless of the completely new subject matter, it failed to achieve success.
  • // 1878 To 22nd May 1885
    In 1878, he began suffering from cerebral congestion. On 22 May 1885 at the age of 83, Victor Hugo breathed his last. His death was lamented by the whole country. His body was rested in state beneath the Arc de Triomphe before burial in the Panthéon.
  • // 1881
    To honor his entering his 80th year in 1881, celebrations across France were organized which included the largest parade in French history. Thereafter, several streets and roads all over France were named after him. His portrait was also placed on French Franc banknotes.

// Famous Poets

Victor Hugo's FAQ

  • What is Victor Hugo birthday?

    Victor Hugo was born at 1802-02-26

  • When was Victor Hugo died?

    Victor Hugo was died at 1885-05-22

  • Where was Victor Hugo died?

    Victor Hugo was died in Paris, France

  • Which age was Victor Hugo died?

    Victor Hugo was died at age 83

  • Where is Victor Hugo's birth place?

    Victor Hugo was born in France

  • What is Victor Hugo nationalities?

    Victor Hugo's nationalities is French

  • Who is Victor Hugo spouses?

    Victor Hugo's spouses is Adèle Foucher

  • Who is Victor Hugo siblings?

    Victor Hugo's siblings is Abel Joseph Hugo, Eugène Hugo

  • Who is Victor Hugo childrens?

    Victor Hugo's childrens is Adèle

  • What was Victor Hugo universities?

    Victor Hugo studied at Lycée Louis-le-Grand

  • Who is Victor Hugo's father?

    Victor Hugo's father is Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo

  • Who is Victor Hugo's mother?

    Victor Hugo's mother is Sophie Trébuchet

  • What is Victor Hugo's sun sign?

    Victor Hugo is Pisces

  • How famous is Victor Hugo?

    Victor Hugo is famouse as Author & Poet