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Author photo. Photograph by Étienne Carjat (1876)

Photograph by Étienne Carjat (1876)

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Victor Hugo was born in Besançon, France on February 26, 1802. Although he originally studied law, Hugo dreamed of writing. In 1819, he founded the journal Conservateur Litteraire as an outlet for his dream and soon produced volumes of poetry, plays, and novels. His novels included The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. Both of these works have been adapted for the stage and screen many times. These adaptations include the Walt Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the award-winning musical sensation Les Miserables. In addition to his literary career, Hugo also held political office. In 1841, he was elected to the Academie Francaise. After political upheaval in 1851, he was exiled and remained so until 1870. He returned to Paris in 1871 and was elected to the National Assembly, though he soon resigned. He died on May 22, 1885. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from Les Misérables… (more)
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Victor Marie Hugo (26 February 1802) – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. During a literary career that spanned more than sixty years, he wrote abundantly in an exceptional variety of genres: lyrics, satires, epics, philosophical poems, epigrams, novels, history, critical essays, political speeches, funeral orations, diaries, letters public and private, and dramas in verse and prose.

Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris), 1831. In France, Hugo is renowned for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations (The Contemplations) and La Légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages). Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement with his play Cromwell and drama Hernani. Many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime and after his death, including the musicals Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, and campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.

Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touched upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. His opposition to absolutism and his colossal literary achievement established him as a national hero. He was honoured by interment in the Panthéon.
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