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Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885)

Lifespan: 1802 - 1885

Related: 1800s literature - French literature - Romanticism -

Titles: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831)

illustration to Les Misérables (1862) - Victor Hugo
Who is this illustration by, please mail me if you know.


Novelist, poet, playwright, dramatist, essayist and statesman, Victor-Marie Hugo (February 26, 1802–May 22, 1885) is recognized as one of the most influential French Romantic writers of the 19th century. His most well-known works are the novels Les Misérables (1862) and Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) (1831). Though conservative in his youth, he later became a passionate supporter of republicanism, and his work touches upon many of the major political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Hugo [Jan 2006]

The Man Who Laughs (1869) - Victor Hugo

The Man Who Laughs (1869) - Victor Hugo
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Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs is a horror story of a young aristocrat kidnapped and disfigured by his captors to display a permanent grin.

In the novel, Hugo gives his own account of the work of the Comprachicos:

"In China, since time immemorial, they have achieved refinement in a special art and industry: the molding of a living man. One takes a child two or three years old, one puts him into a porcelain vase, more or less grotesque in shape, without cover or bottom, so that the head and feet protrude. In the daytime, one keeps this vase standing upright; at night, one lays it down, so that the child can sleep. Thus the child expands without growing, slowly filling the contours of the vase with his compressed flesh and twisted bones. This bottled development continues for several years. At a certain point, it becomes irreparable. When one judges that this has occurred and that the monster is made, one breaks the vase, the child comes out, and one has a man in the shape of a pot."

This example clearly displays all of the most common elements of the legend: first, association with outsiders (the Chinese); second, the victim being a young child; and third, assertions of the methodology that stretch the limits of credibility but seem to remain within the domain of the possible. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprachicos [Dec 2006]

Les Misérables

Les Misérables (lit. The Miserable Ones, The Victims) (1862) is a novel by French novelist Victor Hugo. Among the most well known novels of the 19th century, it follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a twenty year period in the early 19th Century that includes the Napoleonic wars and subsequent decades. Principally focusing on the struggles of the protagonist—ex-convict Jean Valjean—to redeem himself through good works, the novel examines the impact of Valjean's actions as social commentary. It examines the nature of good, evil, and the law, in a sweeping story that expounds upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, law, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love.

Les Misérables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, of which the most famous is the stage musical of the same name, commonly known as "Les Miz (pronounced 'Lay-Miz')." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables [Jan 2006]

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