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Hugo, Victor

Country/Region:
France
Born:
February 26, 1802
Dead:
May 22, 1885
Genres:
Miscellaneous prose, Poetry, Drama
Painting by Léon Bonnat
The French author Victor Hugo (Victor-Marie Hugo) was born in Besançon. His father was of one of Napoleon's generals. As a small child the family moved from one garrison town to the next in Spain and Italy. His parents separated when he was seven years old, and he was brought up by his royalist mother who gave him a conservative, Catholic upbringing. Hugo began to write poetry when he was very young, and when he was fourteen Hugo knew he wanted to be a poet. He published a small collection of Romantic poems, Odes et poésies diverses, in 1822. In around 1830 Hugo was considered the leading light of French Romanticism. He became involved in politics, first as a staunch royalist, but he later developed a more liberal stance. After the revolution of 1848, when he broke with the conservatives for good, he became a liberal deputy in the new parliament. At the beginning he supported Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the future Napoleon III, but after his coup in 1851 Hugo became one of the new emperor's most outspoken critics, and he was forced to leave the country. Hugo did not return to France until 1870, at the time of the Franco-Prussian war and the fall of the second empire, and was greeted as a national hero. He wrote some of his most important works during the nineteen years he spent in exile on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel.

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