Victor Hugo Birth Anniversary: Here are books and quotes by the poet and author one must read
One of the greatest writers of the 19th century, Hugo completed his first novel Han d’Islande (Hans of Iceland in English) in 1823. He was merely 21 when his first book came out. Les Miserables, which sees the story spanning 17 years, contains 5 volumes and 365 chapters and took 15 years for the author to finish.
A poet and a painter with more than 4,000 drawings to his name, Hugo would go on to spend 15 years in exile, during which time he published Les Miserables.
One of the front runners for the romantic literary movement, his legacy has even found its way into the French currency through portraiture. There are innumerable memorable quotes that have been attributed to Hugo.
• Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
• Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
• What Is love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.
• Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
• The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved - loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
• Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket.
On the author’s birth anniversary, here’s looking at a few books by him one must read.
Les Miserables: Considered to be one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, the French historical work by Victor Hugo begins in 1815 and culminated in the June Rebellion of 1832 in Paris.
Les Miserables follows the lives of several characters as they interweave with each other, but stresses more on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valijean and his journey of redemption. The book also elaborates upon the history of France in its narrative.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: The French Gothic novel was published in 1831. Often considered to be one of the key texts in French literature, it is set in Paris 1482, during the reign of Louis XI. The novel follows a gypsy woman Esmeralda, who captures the heart of the hunchback of Notre Dame Cathedral, Quasimodo, and follows the journey of the two towards a tragic end.
It is believed that the author started writing the novel to create awareness among contemporaries of the value of Gothic architecture.
Les Contemplations: Published in 1856, the collection of 156 poems across six books was written between 1841 and 1855.
The collection was a homage to his eldest daughter Leopoldine Hugo, who drowned in the Seine after her boat overturned. Her husband Charles Vacquerie too drowned trying to save her. She was 19 years old and pregnant at the time of her death.
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