Victor Marie Hugo: Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné

(1196 words)
  • Fiona Cox (University of Exeter)

On February 3rd 1829 the twenty-seven year old Victor Hugo published Le Dernier jour d”un condamné. The book is a fictionalised diary of a prisoner’s obsessive despair from the day that his sentence is pronounced, through the period of waiting alone in his prison cell in Bicêtre, to the day of his execution. The condemned man’s thoughts never stray far from his own predicament, but he nevertheless muses upon the nature of capital punishment, its physical and psychological tortures, the role of the state in selecting a judicious and humane punishment, and the history of those who have inhabited his cell before him. His diary is an account of the last few weeks of a man’s life, rather than just the final day. …

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Cox, Fiona. "Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 March 2015
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]