37 Interesting Facts about Victor Hugo, French Author

37 Interesting Facts about Victor Hugo, French Author

Victor Marie Hugo simply will be the most well-known French author in history. He has gone through several careers, such as Poet, Novelist, Dramatist, Statesman, Peer of France, Senator, Drawer, and Painter during his lifetime. A meaningful life, an eventful career, and awesome facts about Victor Hugo are still in the discussion! Let’s learn some Victor Hugo facts! His tales have been reproduced into performances, musicals, and feature-length movies, and he has turned into a family title are included in the Victor Hugo facts people are interested in.

In this article, I am going to share 56 awesome facts about Victor Hugo:

Interesting Facts about Victor Hugo, French Author

1. Early Life and Birth

Victor Hugo, one of the most celebrated literary figures of the 19th century, entered the world on a crisp Friday, the 26th of February in the year 1802. His arrival took place in the picturesque city of Besançon, nestled in the eastern heartlands of France. This date marked the inception of a life that would go on to leave an indelible mark on the world of literature and the collective human imagination.

2. Parental Heritage

Young Victor Hugo, destined for greatness, emerged as the youngest scion of a rather distinguished lineage. His father, Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo, was a military general who served under the banner of the formidable Napoleonic army. On the other side of his ancestral spectrum, his mother, Sophie Trébuchet, stood as a paragon of devout Catholic faith. These parental influences, rooted in military honor and religious devotion, laid the foundation for the dichotomous themes that would often permeate Hugo’s literary creations.

3. The Union of Hearts

In the year 1822, the pages of Victor Hugo’s life took a momentous turn. It was during this year that he embarked upon the journey of matrimony, sealing his fate with the charming Adèle Foucher. The act of marriage, a union of souls and hearts, was a pivotal event in Hugo’s life. It marked the commencement of a new chapter, one that would be characterized by love, familial bonds, and the myriad emotions that would inspire his literary endeavors.

4. The Gift of Offspring

The union between Victor Hugo and Adèle Foucher bore fruit in the form of five offspring, each a testament to their shared love and devotion. Their children, named Léopold Victor Hugo, Léopoldine Hugo, Charles Hugo, François-Victor Hugo, and Adèle Hugo, provided the couple with both the joys and responsibilities of parenthood. These young lives would become an intrinsic part of Hugo’s world, shaping his views and emotions in profound ways.

5. Sibling Connections

Victor Hugo’s familial constellation extended beyond his marriage and parenthood. He was not an only child, for he had two brothers who shared the tapestry of his early life. Abel Joseph Hugo and Eugène Hugo, his brothers, added further layers to the complex web of relationships that would influence and inspire his literary works. The bonds between these siblings, formed through shared experiences and aspirations, wove an intricate backdrop against which Hugo’s life story unfolded.

6. Literary Genesis

A significant milestone in Victor Hugo’s life, which unfolded shortly after his marriage in 1822, was the publication of his debut novel. Titled “Han d’Islande,” this work of fiction marked the commencement of his literary career, introducing him to the world as an author. In 1823, the echoes of his creativity resonated in the form of this novel, setting the stage for the many masterpieces that would flow from his pen in the years to come. This initial foray into the realm of storytelling was but the first step in a literary journey that would eventually make him an iconic figure in the annals of literature.

7. Pioneering the Romantic Literary Movement

Victor Hugo, the eminent French author, was, undeniably, a quintessential embodiment of the Romantic literary movement. In the annals of literary history, Hugo’s name shines brightly as he occupied a central role in steering the Romantic literary movement to uncharted territories of creative expression. His magnum opus, the play “Cromwell,” and the electrifying drama “Hernani,” stand as indomitable pillars of this era, testaments to his profound influence on the Romantic genre. With an eloquence that ignited the hearts of his audience, Hugo not only encapsulated the quintessential Romantic spirit but also redefined the very essence of literary artistry, casting his indelible shadow upon generations of poets and writers to come.

8. Turmoil in Adolescence: Parental Separation

The tapestry of Victor Hugo’s life bore the threads of adolescent turmoil, as he witnessed the disintegration of his parents’ matrimonial bond when he was but a tender sixteen years of age. The fracturing of this familial foundation left an indelible mark on the young poet’s psyche, as he grappled with the profound emotional consequences of a parental separation. This significant event, etched into the annals of Hugo’s formative years, was destined to leave a profound impact on his creative journey, infusing his literary works with elements of tumultuous emotions and human complexities that resounded with readers far and wide.

9. Love, Passion, and Complex Relationships

Victor Hugo’s life was a tapestry interwoven with love, passion, and intricate relationships. In his pursuit of creative and emotional fulfillment, Hugo engaged in numerous romantic entanglements and dalliances throughout his lifetime. Even his matrimonial vows could not curb his yearning for extramarital liaisons. Yet, amidst this complex web of affairs, one enduring connection stood the test of time. Hugo and his spouse, Adele Foucher, shared their lives for nearly five decades, despite the turbulence of his amorous pursuits. This enduring bond persevered until Foucher’s eventual demise in the year 1868, a testament to the multifaceted nature of love and relationships that defined Hugo’s life.

10. A Complex Relationship with Religion

While Victor Hugo may have been a symbol of Romantic rebellion in the literary sphere, he maintained a complex and intriguing relationship with religion throughout his life. Though the Romantic movement often celebrated themes of individualism and creative freedom, Hugo found solace and identity in the Catholic faith. His respect for the church was not without controversy, as his personal convictions and public personas occasionally diverged. This intricate interplay between faith and creative expression added a layer of complexity to Hugo’s life and works, showcasing the multifaceted nature of his beliefs and the intricate dance of religion within his creative spirit.

11. Genesis of Literary Greatness: “Cromwell” and “Odes et Poésies Diverses”

The genesis of Victor Hugo’s literary greatness can be traced back to the year 1819 when he penned the preface of his celebrated work “Cromwell.” This prelude was but a glimpse of the creative tempest that was to follow, as the full work was not published until 1822. In the interlude, Hugo’s poetic prowess shimmered through, setting the stage for the masterpieces that would shape the Romantic literary landscape. In the same year, 1819, he gave birth to “Odes et Poésies Diverses,” further solidifying his status as a literary luminary. These works, borne from the depths of his creative spirit, serve as the cornerstones upon which his legacy as a literary giant would ultimately rest, leaving an indelible mark on the world of letters for generations to come.

12. The City Named After Victor Hugo

The charming city of Hugoton, nestled in the heart of Kansas, bears a unique and fascinating origin story, as it owes its name to none other than the celebrated French author, Victor Hugo. The connection between this remote American city and the literary giant might seem unexpected, but it’s a testament to the enduring influence of Hugo’s work. This small corner of Kansas stands as a living tribute to the profound impact his words and ideas have had on the world.

13. Victor Hugo as a Saint in Cao Đài

In the diverse tapestry of world religions, the Vietnamese faith of Cao Đài stands out as a unique blend of spiritual beliefs and practices. What makes this religion even more intriguing is its recognition of Victor Hugo as a saint. Cao Đài emerged in the vibrant landscape of Vietnam in the year 1926, and it has woven a remarkable thread of reverence for Hugo into its religious fabric. The fact that a 19th-century French writer could become a saint in a 20th-century Vietnamese faith is a testament to the universal appeal of Hugo’s ideas and principles.

14. Victor Hugo’s Political Involvements

Victor Hugo was not just a literary luminary; he was also deeply entrenched in the political landscape of his time. His political journey was marked by associations with various parties, including the Party of Order during the years 1848 to 1851, the Independent Liberal party in 1871, and the Republican Union from 1876 to 1885.

Hugo’s involvement in the political arena was not superficial; he was a fervent advocate for social justice, a champion of human rights, and a staunch opponent of capital punishment. His commitment to these causes was unwavering, as he viewed the death penalty as a cruel and barbaric practice. In the annals of history, Victor Hugo’s political activism remains an indelible testament to his dedication to the betterment of society.

15. Victor Hugo’s Unique Approach to Overcoming Writer’s Block

Victor Hugo’s creative process was as unique and eccentric as his literary masterpieces. When grappling with the dreaded writer’s block during the writing of his magnum opus, “Les Misérables,” Hugo devised an extraordinary strategy to reignite his creative sparks. Stripping himself of all clothing, he secluded himself in a room equipped with nothing more than pens and paper.

This unconventional approach was aimed at eliminating distractions and immersing himself in the realm of his work. He issued a command to his servants: his attire would not be returned until he had made progress in his writing. This unorthodox method may appear bizarre, but it underscores the lengths to which Hugo was willing to go to break free from the constraints of his own mind and produce literary brilliance. It is a testament to the idiosyncrasies and dedication of a literary genius.

16. Les Misérables: A Literary Epic

Victor Hugo’s magnum opus, Les Misérables, stands as a monumental literary work that resonated deeply with American Civil War soldiers. This extraordinary novel, first published in 1862, was introduced to the United States in the same year, leaving an indelible mark on those who had endured the horrors of the war.

Hugo’s journey to create his most celebrated masterpiece, Les Misérables, was a labor of love that spanned over three decades. Commencing its inception in the 1830s, this sprawling tale of love, redemption, and revolution finally emerged in its full glory in the year 1862.

The iconic musical adaptation of Les Misérables made its grand debut at London’s Barbican Centre on the 8th of October in 1985, marking a momentous occasion in the world of theater. This adaptation received numerous accolades, including several Tony Awards, with ‘Best Book of a Musical’ being one of its notable distinctions.

The global impact of Les Misérables is nothing short of remarkable, as it has graced stages in over 42 countries and been translated into a staggering 21 languages, transcending linguistic barriers to reach audiences around the world. It stands as a testament to the enduring power of Hugo’s storytelling.

In terms of financial success, Les Misérables proved to be a goldmine for its author, generating a substantial income of over half a million francs over six years, securing Hugo’s position as one of the most commercially successful writers of his time.

Les Misérables, an epic narrative, unfolds the intertwined destinies of numerous characters, with Jean Valjean emerging as its central figure. The story unfolds over an expansive timeline, commencing in 1815 and concluding in 1832, reflecting Victor Hugo’s commitment and dedication as he spent more than 15 years crafting this monumental work of literature.

17. Notre-Dame de Paris: A Tale of 15th Century Paris

Published in 1830 and swiftly translated into multiple languages, “Notre-Dame de Paris” (known as “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” in English) is a historical literary gem that immerses readers in the 15th-century Paris of yore. This novel delves into the lives of Quasimodo and Esmeralda, weaving a tapestry of human emotions against the backdrop of the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral.

18. Father’s Inspiration: The Mountain of Genius

In a captivating anecdote, it is said that Victor Hugo’s father once shared a unique revelation with his son—the notion that he was conceived atop a mountain’s summit. This fatherly revelation took on a profound significance, as it was believed to have ignited the spark of Hugo’s creative genius. In hindsight, considering the immense success of Hugo’s literary endeavors, it becomes apparent that the influence of his father played an essential role in shaping the man who would become one of France’s most renowned writers.

19. A Writer Above All: Victor Hugo’s Literary Odyssey

Victor Hugo, a multifaceted talent, embarked on his literary journey after initially pursuing a career in law. His evolution into a preeminent French Romantic poet, novelist, and dramatist was a remarkable trajectory. His extensive body of work, which he painstakingly assembled during his life in Paris, Brussels, and the Channel Islands, stands as a testament to his enduring legacy in the world of literature.

20. Flop vs Hit: The Transformation of Les Misérables

In an intriguing twist of fate, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, initially met with critical disdain, would eventually be hailed as his magnum opus. This transformation from a perceived flop to an undisputed hit showcases the enigmatic nature of literary success, proving that timeless masterpieces often require time to be recognized and celebrated.

21. Writing in Exile

During his exile in Guernsey, Victor Hugo found solace and inspiration in the most unexpected of places. This chapter of his life, marked by forced detachment from his homeland, saw the emergence of some of his most celebrated literary masterpieces, among which “Les Misérables” and “Toilers of the Sea” shone with unparalleled brilliance.

22. Exile for 20 years

Victor Hugo’s exile saga began on the island of Jersey, nestled within the embrace of the English Channel, where he sought refuge in 1852. In a twist of fate, he spent three years in Jersey, enduring the solitude and isolation of exile. However, destiny had more in store for this literary giant. He was subsequently banished from Jersey, only to take shelter on the neighboring island of Guernsey. This period of exile, stretching to nearly two decades, witnessed the birth of the most profound and original chapters in his literary career.

23. Love for his own language

Victor Hugo, a man who remained a staunch non-English speaker throughout his life, ardently clung to his French identity. He once declared, with his characteristic grandiosity, “When England wants to chat with me, let her learn my language.” To Hugo, the French language and the Guernsey patois, spoken by the island’s Norman descendants, were not mere linguistic tools; they were the lifelines that tethered him to his cultural moorings, providing a semblance of comfort amidst the disorienting exile.

Interesting Facts about Victor Hugo, French Author

24. A successful poet

Beyond his enduring legacy as a novelist and playwright, Victor Hugo’s artistic repertoire extended into the realm of poetry. After the initial publication of his first two novels, the prolific writer embarked on a passionate affair with poetry, a love affair that would captivate his creative soul. Between 1829 and 1840, he unveiled five volumes of poetic gems, each a testament to his artistic dexterity.

25. Reward for poetry

For his poetic endeavors, Victor Hugo was not merely met with critical acclaim and applause; his artistry reaped tangible rewards. His book of verses garnered him not only widespread recognition but also several generous gifts. Perhaps the zenith of recognition came in the form of a 3,000 franc pension, bestowed upon him by King Louis XVIII as a gesture of admiration for his lyrical talents.

26. A successful artist

Beyond the realms of literature, Hugo’s artistic prowess extended to the visual realm. Over the course of his illustrious life, he meticulously crafted over 4,000 drawings, each bearing the indelible mark of his creative genius. Intriguingly, Hugo chose to keep these visual creations a well-guarded secret, fearing that their emergence might eclipse his literary endeavors and cast his writings into the shadows.

27. Publication in Lifetime

Victor Hugo’s literary output was nothing short of prolific. Over the span of his lifetime, he gave birth to a staggering catalog of literary works, amassing a total of over 55 publications. Amongst these, iconic titles such as “Les Misérables,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “Toilers of the Sea” continue to resonate with readers worldwide. Each word he penned was a testament to his enduring legacy and commitment to his craft.

28. A Brush with Mortality

In the annals of history, the seemingly uneventful year of 1878 witnessed a pivotal moment in the life of the renowned writer, Victor Hugo. It was during this year that Hugo, a literary giant of his time, confronted the specter of mortality when he suffered a minor stroke. This incident, though considered ‘minor,’ held immense significance in the life of a man whose words had enthralled countless readers. It was a moment of vulnerability, a brush with the fragility of human existence that temporarily dimmed the brilliance of his creative mind. Art and painting, kit, supplies, stand, paper, drawing, interior

29. A Controversial Relationship with Religion

Victor Hugo, a man of profound intellect and unwavering convictions, harbored a complex relationship with matters of faith and spirituality. His views on the Catholic Church and other religious institutions were well-documented, revealing a deep aversion to their influence. Regardless of his personal perception of God, Hugo remained a staunch critic of non-secular establishments, a stance that set him apart from the societal norms of his era. This fervent belief was starkly evident as he notably refused spiritual rites both at his deathbed and for his eventual funeral.

Furthermore, Hugo was not one to shy away from controversy. He wore his disdain for the Catholic Church as a badge of honor, finding a measure of contentment in the more than 740 scathing critiques of his work that populated Catholic publications of the time. It was a testament to his unyielding spirit, unswayed by the conventions of the day.

30. The Final Chapter

On a somber Friday, the 22nd of May in the year 1885, the world bid adieu to Victor Hugo, an iconic figure of literature and activism. He succumbed to the relentless grip of pneumonia at the ripe age of 83, in the enchanting city of Paris, France. As the news of his passing reverberated through the intellectual circles of the time, a profound sense of loss settled upon the literary world. The brilliance that had graced it for decades was extinguished, leaving behind a void that could never be fully filled. Victor Hugo was laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Panthéon, an eternal home for those who had left an indelible mark on the world.

31. A Grand and Lengthy Farewell

The final farewell to Victor Hugo was not a hurried affair; it was a grand, solemn procession that paid tribute to a man of unparalleled stature. The funeral procession, in all its magnificence and solemnity, took an astonishing six hours to traverse the streets of Paris. Six hours of quiet reflection and shared grief as the world paused to honor a literary luminary whose words had touched the hearts of millions. It was a spectacle, a testament to the profound impact of Victor Hugo’s life and work.

32. An Unexpected Posthumous Honor

In a curious twist of fate, Victor Hugo’s final wish was for a simple, pauper’s funeral. However, the destiny that often befalls great figures took a different turn. To commemorate his life, celebrate his myriad achievements, and honor his passing, a surprising decree was issued by President Jules Grévy. The pauper’s funeral was set aside, and instead, Victor Hugo was accorded a state funeral – a fitting tribute to a man whose influence had transcended borders and generations.

One of the most remarkable Victor Hugo facts that history records is the staggering number of mourners who participated in his grand procession. More than two million people gathered in the streets of Paris, forming a vast river of humanity that flowed from the iconic Arc de Triomphe to the revered Panthéon, where he was laid to rest. It was a display of the profound impact Hugo’s words had on society, a tribute to a man whose legacy would continue to resonate through the ages.

33. Happy birthday

In a testament to the enduring love and admiration the people of France held for Victor Hugo, the entire nation came together in celebration of his eightieth birthday. This momentous occasion, marked by the jubilation of an entire populace, serves as a heartwarming reminder of the profound impact Hugo’s literary genius had on the hearts and minds of his fellow countrymen. Indeed, this fascinating fact underscores the indomitable spirit and lasting influence of one of history’s most beloved writers. Fresh Flower Bouquet Delivery for All Occasions

34. Hugo’s Proverbs: Pearls of Wisdom

Victor Hugo, a luminary of literature and a sage of his time, bequeathed to the world a treasury of wisdom in the form of timeless quotes and proverbs. Among the pearls of sagacity attributed to him, the maxim “He who opens a school door closes a prison” encapsulates the essence of education’s transformative power. These words remind us that knowledge and enlightenment hold the key to breaking the shackles of ignorance and societal ills, echoing the age-old belief that education is a beacon of hope in the darkest of times.

Another renowned dictum attributed to Hugo, “There is nothing like a dream to create the future,” celebrates the limitless potential of human imagination. It underscores the idea that visionary dreams are the seeds from which innovation, progress, and change emerge. Hugo’s words resonate as a clarion call to embrace the power of aspiration and creativity in shaping the destiny of individuals and societies.

In a profound observation, Hugo declared, “He who does not weep does not see.” These poignant words remind us of the intrinsic connection between empathy and perception. They urge us to recognize that it is through our vulnerabilities and emotions that we gain a deeper understanding of the world and the human condition.

Lastly, Hugo’s observation that “Virtue has a veil, vice a mask” underscores the complexity of human nature. It implies that genuine goodness often remains humble and hidden, while malevolence is often shrouded in deception. These words serve as a reminder to look beyond surface appearances and seek the true character of individuals and their actions.

35. A Posthumous Legacy Spanning 113 Years

In the annals of literary history, Victor Hugo’s “Conversations with Eternity,” published in 1998, stands as a remarkable testament to the enduring power of an author’s words. What makes this publication all the more extraordinary is the fact that it saw the light of day an astounding 113 years after the author’s demise. This posthumous work is not merely a book; it is a bridge across the chasm of time, connecting readers of the 21st century with the profound insights of a 19th-century literary giant. The Fascinating Engineering Book for Kids: 500 Dynamic Facts

Victor Hugo, the brilliant mind behind timeless classics such as “Les Misérables” and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” left a literary legacy that transcended the confines of his own lifetime. “Conversations with Eternity” serves as a poignant reminder that the essence of great literature knows no temporal boundaries. In a world marked by ever-changing literary trends and shifting cultural landscapes, Hugo’s words remain as relevant and resonant as they were over a century ago. The enduring appeal of this posthumous publication can be attributed to the profound themes and universal truths it encapsulates, captivating the imagination of readers across generations.

36. A Renaissance Man Beyond Literature

Victor Hugo was a true Renaissance man, whose talents transcended the realm of literature. He not only penned some of the most enduring literary classics but also contributed significantly to the preservation of cultural heritage. One of his most notable achievements was his instrumental role in saving the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral from the brink of destruction.

His artistic talents extended beyond the written word; he was a gifted artist, his creative endeavors resonating in multiple mediums. His life was replete with adventures and accomplishments that continue to captivate scholars and enthusiasts across the globe. The legacy of Victor Hugo is a multifaceted tapestry of artistry, activism, and altruism, leaving an indelible mark on the world’s collective conscience.

37. Victor Hugo’s Parting Words: A Testament of Belief and Benevolence

Victor Hugo’s final will, comprising just five sentences, is a testament to the enduring values and beliefs that defined his life. In a gesture of remarkable generosity, he bequeathed 50,000 francs to the destitute, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to alleviating the suffering of the less fortunate. This act of charity stands as a beacon of benevolence, illuminating the path of compassion that Hugo walked throughout his life. Learn Language Guide, Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening Skills

Furthermore, Hugo’s request to be transported to his final resting place in a hearse intended for the poor is a poignant reminder of his deep empathy for the marginalized and oppressed. It signifies his wish to be eternally associated with those whom he championed through his literary works and activism.

In his will, Hugo adamantly refused funeral orations from all Churches, a reflection of his commitment to secularism and the separation of church and state. Instead, he requested a universal prayer for all souls, transcending religious boundaries and echoing his belief in the inherent dignity of all human beings.

The culmination of his will, where he declares his belief in God, adds a profound layer of complexity to Hugo’s worldview. It suggests a deep spirituality that coexisted with his advocacy for secularism, demonstrating the multifaceted nature of his convictions and his recognition of the interconnectedness of the human experience. In these five succinct sentences, Victor Hugo’s last words resonate with a profound message of compassion, inclusivity, and spiritual depth, encapsulating the essence of his remarkable life and legacy.

More Interesting Articles