Victor Hugo

Bradley Stephens (University of Bristol)
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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 when in 1902 he noted Hugo’s greatness with a mixture of

3155 words

Citation: Stephens, Bradley. "Victor Hugo". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2006 [, accessed 12 April 2024.]

2249 Victor Hugo 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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