Victor Hugo: La Légende des siècles [The Legend of Centuries]

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Katherine Lunn-Rockliffe (University of Oxford)

La Légende des siècles is a verse epic charting the history of humanity, which was published in three series at quite different points in Hugo’s life. Each series encompasses the whole of history from beginning to end and consists of self-contained poems narrating specific episodes, many of which are either fictional or little-known, presented as embodying the spirit of their age. When Hugo started work on this project in the 1850s, he was a successful lyric poet living in Guernsey, in exile from Second Empire France. The epic genre was still weighed down by neoclassical conventions, but Hugo reinvented it by fragmenting history into short dense narratives and introducing techniques drawn from other genres, p…

2123 words

Citation: Lunn-Rockliffe, Katherine. "La Légende des siècles". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 March 2017 [, accessed 30 January 2023.]

11231 La Légende des siècles 3 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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