By the time of his death from pneumonia on 22 May 1885, Victor-Marie Hugo was a global icon. Perhaps the greatest of France’s poets, he had energetically promoted his passion for artistic freedom alongside a belief in democratic individualism. The Pantheon had been deconsecrated so as to re-establish its role as the last resting place of the “great men” of France and welcome him, with two million people converging on Paris to attend the state funeral. That God Himself was being moved on for this new tenant testifies to Hugo’s iconic status, which successive generations of writers found suffocating.
Recent years have witnessed a more objective evaluation of his work than either Hugomania or the malaise typified by Gide …
Stephens, Bradley. "Victor Hugo". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2006
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