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Victor Hugo and The Eugène François Vidocq Connection


Victor Hugo Inspired by E.F. Vidocq
Etching of Victor Hugo having a painting made

Why Victor Hugo Was So Prolific

Victor Marie Hugo was one of the most prolific writers of his time. He wrote over 100 works, including plays, novels, essays, and poems. His work was highly influential during the Romantic era. He is best known for his novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Hugo's writing was shaped by his political beliefs. He was a strong advocate for social reform, and his work often reflected this. His novels were particularly popular among the working class, as they depicted the struggles of the poor and oppressed.

Victor Hugo was a highly talented writer who used his platform to promote social change. His work continues to be popular and influential today.

Early Life Of Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo was born on February 26, 1802 in Besançon, France. His father, Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo, was a general in Napoleon's army. His mother, Sophie Trébuchet, was a member of a noble family. Hugo's childhood was spent between France and Italy, as his father was posted to different garrisons. As a result, he received a varied education which included both Catholic and Humanist studies.


In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars had ended, the family returned to Paris. Victor Hugo began writing poetry at an early age and by the time he was eighteen had published his first collection. He soon became involved in the Romantic literary movement which was sweeping Europe at that time. In 1821 he published his most famous work, "Odes et poèmes divers", which established him as one of the leading poets of his generation.


Hugo's early life was marked by tragedy; his mother died when he was only seventeen and his brother Abel also died young. These events had a profound effect on Hugo and much of his later work would deal with death and loss.


Victor Hugo's Family Life

Besides his mother and father, Victor Hugo had seven siblings: Abel Joseph Hugo (1798-1855), Léopold Sigisbert Hugo (1800-1837), Eugène Hugo (1804-1857), Adèle Foucher de Chamblain Hugo (1808-1902), François-Victor Hugo (1828-1873), Jean Baptiste François Eugène Hugo (1830-1915) and Charles François Théodore Hugo (1826-1902).


Victor's father died when he was only a year old and his mother remarried two years later. As a result, Victor and his siblings were raised by their maternal grandmother and uncle. Victor did not have a close relationship with his stepfather and found solace in books. He was educated at the Collège Louis-le Grand in Paris.


Victor Hugo married Adèle Foucher in 1822. They had five children together, but only three survived to adulthood. Hugo and Adèle separated in 1833, but never divorced. They remained close friends until her death in 1868.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo


The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo is a novel about love, justice, and what it means to be a human being. The story centers around Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his love for the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda. Though he is ugly and misshapen, Quasimodo is a kind and gentle soul, and his love for Esmeralda is pure and true. However, the world is not kind to Quasimodo or Esmeralda, and their love is put to the test time and time again. Ultimately, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a story about the triumph of love over prejudice and hatred.


Les Miserablés by Victor Hugo


Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is a novel about the struggles of the French people during the early 19th century. The book follows the lives of several characters, including the protagonist, Jean Valjean, as they experience poverty, injustice, and ultimately, redemption. Despite its dark themes, Les Miserables is also a story of hope and resilience, and its characters embody these qualities in their fight for a better life.


Les Miserables Jean Valjean, Hero


Jean Valjean is the protagonist of Les Miserables. He is a dynamic and complex character who undergoes a remarkable transformation over the course of the novel. Valjean begins the story as a bitter, resentful man, hardened by years of unjust imprisonment and mistreatment. However, after he is released from prison and takes in the orphaned girl Cosette, Valjean's heart begins to soften. He becomes a loving and protective father figure to Cosette, and also comes to care for the other outcasts and marginalized people he meets along his journey. Valjean eventually risks his own life to save others, and ultimately finds redemption through his acts of selflessness. In many ways, Valjean embodies the best of what it means to be human - he is capable of great love and compassion, but also has a deep capacity for courage and sacrifice.

Les Miserables Inspired by Vidocq



Jean Valjean standing in room inspired E.F. Vidocq
Jean Valjean - Les Miserablés who was inspired by Vidocq

Vidocq was a French criminal and private investigator who inspired the characters of Javert and Valjean in Les Miserables. He was known for his intelligence and his ability to track down criminals. He eventually became a police officer, but was later dismissed for his involvement in illegal activities. He then became a private investigator and helped to solve many crimes.


Victor Hugo knew Eugène Francois Vidocq

In 1828, Eugene Francois Vidocq, a former criminal and private investigator in Paris, France, met with Victor Hugo to discuss the possibility of working together. Vidocq was interested in helping Hugo write about crime and criminals, while Hugo was interested in Vidocq's first-hand experience. The two men quickly became friends, and Vidocq went on to provide Hugo with valuable information and insight that helped him create some of his most famous works.

Vidocq wrote a book about his life as a criminal, and in that book he described the time he met Hugo and how they talked about the ongoing war.


Hugo was interested in hearing about Vidocq's past, and they talked for some time.

At one point, Vidocq asked Hugo if he had ever been in prison, and Hugo said no.

Vidocq then told Hugo that he should go to prison, because it would make him a better writer.


Victor Hugo's Political Life


Victor Hugo's political life was a turbulent one. He was involved in many different political movements, and his views on politics changed over time. He was initially a supporter of the monarchy, but later became a republican. He also supported universal suffrage and other liberal reforms. However, he was opposed to violence and bloodshed, and this led him to oppose the French Revolution. He later became an exiled during the reign of Napoleon III.


Abolition of the Death Penalty


Victor Hugo was a strong advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. He believed that it was a cruel and inhuman punishment that did not serve any purpose. He also believed that it was often used unfairly, against the poor and marginalized. In his 1832 novel "Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné", he vividly described the experience of a man condemned to death, which helped to generate public support for abolition. In 1841, he wrote an open letter to King Louis-Philippe, urging him to abolish the death penalty. The letter was widely circulated and had a significant impact on public opinion. As a result of Hugo's efforts, as well as those of other abolitionists, the death penalty was abolished in France in 1848.


Exiled From France


Victor-Marie Hugo was exiled from France for his political beliefs and spent many years living in other countries, including Belgium and the island of Guernsey. Despite his exile, Hugo remained an important figure in French literature and culture, and his work continues to be popular today.


Hugo Returned To France


Victor Hugo returned to Paris France in 1871 after living in exile for nearly 20 years. He was warmly welcomed back by the French people, and his return was seen as a symbol of national reconciliation. Hugo was a prolific writer, and his return to France inspired him to write some of his most famous works, including Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.


List of Books Written by Victor Hugo


Etching of Victor Hugo In His Younger Days
Victor Hugo Younger Days

Victor Hugo is one of the most celebrated authors in French history. Hugo published many books, poems and plays. His most well-known works include "Les Miserables" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". However, these are just two of the over 100 books that he wrote during his lifetime. In addition to novels, Hugo also wrote plays, poems, essays, and political pamphlets. His body of work is vast and varied, making him one of the most important authors of the 19th century.

  1. Les Miserables

  2. Hunchback of Notre Dame

  3. The Man Who Laughs

  4. The Last Day of a Condemned Man

  5. Les Contemplations


Poetry and Plays

Hugo wrote many pieces of poetry beginning in the 1820s. By 1888, he published Poems By Victor Hugo, which you can read here.


The French Romantic Movement


The Romantic Movement was a period of time in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when artists and intellectuals in France advocated for more emotion and imagination in art. This was in contrast to the neoclassicism that had been popular in the country up until that point. The Romantics believed that art should be expressive and accessible to as many people as possible. They also championed individualism and creativity, two values that continue to be important in French culture today.


Victor Hugo and The French Romantic Movement


Victor Hugo was one of the most important authors of the French Romantic Movement. His work was marked by its use of imagination and emotion, and its focus on individualism and nature. He is best known for his novels. He wrote Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame among others.


Where the Novelist Lived


Victor Hugo lived at 7, rue Hanovre in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. The building no longer exists, but at the time it was a fashionable address for the city's well-to-do.


Pivotal Moments From Victor Hugo Biography


Victor Hugo was one of the most important French writers of the 19th century. He is best known for his novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.


Hugo was born in 1802 in Besançon, France. His father was a general in Napoleon's army. Hugo's mother died when he was only a few years old. He was raised by his aunt and uncle.


Hugo began writing poetry at a young age. He published his first volume of poetry, Odes et poésies diverses, in 1822. He also wrote plays and essays.


Hugo's most famous novel, Les Misérables, was published in 1862. The novel tells the story of Jean Valjean, a man who is unjustly imprisoned and becomes a fugitive from the law. Les Misérables is considered one of the greatest novels of all time.


The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was published in 1831. The novel tells the story of Quasimodo, a deformed man who lives in the cathedral of Notre-Dame.


Hugo died in 1885 at the age of 83. His funeral was attended