Victor Hugo (1802-1885) in his writing reflects many of the literary tendencies of the century which his life almost spanned. As a prolific poet, he first imitated classical forms in his Odes et poésies diverses (1822), then turned to exotic descriptive poetry in Les Orientales (1829), meditative verse in Les Feuilles d'Automne (1831) and so on, satiric poetry in Les Châtiments (1853), and epic poetry in the grand style in La Légende des siècles (1859, 1877, 1883). Hugo was also an important dramatist with seven plays to his credit, a novelist whose best known works are Notre Dame de Paris (1831) and Les Misérables (1862), a critic, and a politician. After the Revolution of 1848 and the coup d'état of December 2, 1851, Hugo was exiled and did not return to France until 1870. From Jersey and Guernsey he campaigned against Louis-Napoléon, and his return to France after the Franco-Prussian war was a personal and a national triumph. For versatility and influence, Hugo can be compared only to Voltaire.
Hugo, Victor. Oeuvres poétiques complètes. Ed. Francis Bouvet. Paris: J. J. Pauvert, 1961.
Selected Poems of Victor Hugo: A Bilingual Edition. Trans. E. H. and A. M. Blackmore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
"Victor Hugo." Representative French Poetry. Ed. Victor E. Graham. 2nd edn. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965. 49-66.