Victor Hugo

Today marks 220 years since the birth of French writer Victor Hugo on 26 February 1802. Hugo is best known for his great classic novels Les Misérables [1862] and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame [1831], and was also a passionate social and political activist who famously supported the abolition of the death penalty, the view that was taken in his short novel The Last Day of a Condemned Man [1829].

Our mind is enriched by what we receive, our heart – by what we give.”

The future has several names. For the weak it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal” (Victor Hugo).

15 thoughts on “Victor Hugo

  1. I’m currently reading Les Miserables and I’ve also got a copy of The hunchback of Notre-Dame. So far I am very enthusiastic, I seem to like Hugo’s writing quite a bit.

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    1. I hope you’re enjoying Les Misérables! The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is one of my favourite books of all time, the symbolism is very powerful there. However, in my opinion some translations are much better than others. I’ve got The Hunchback in Everyman’s Library Classics Series and I am not at all impressed with the translative work there. I’ve looked it up and apparently the edition reprints the anonymous translation of 1902! I’ve read better and swear by Penguin books…

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  2. Thanks for this post, Diana. Les Miserables. all 1,400 or so pages of it, held me spellbound. It puts Hugo as a novelist of in a class with Tolstoy and Charles Dickens; maybe Herman Melville too. You’ve got to ingest the book
    as a whole with its plenitude of incidents and characters.

    Le dernier jour d’un condamné is haunting, unforgettable. I have a recording of it in the original French. It was praised by Dostoevsky, who himself was condemned to death and spared at the last moment.

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  3. Just a shout-out for Toilers of the Sea which I think is his best and at the time it was released it was thought so by many as well. Nice to see also he made good use of his time as an “exile” on the Channel Islands

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