LES Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame author Victor Hugo has been celebrated with a new Google Doodle.
You’re probably familiar with his most famous works – or at least their movie adaptations – but did you know that he was also a political heavyweight with an eye for the ladies? Here’s the lowdown on a truly French icon…
Victor Hugo is celebrated for his novels Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame[/caption]
Victor Hugo was a 19th century novelist and poet who is considered one of the greatest French writers of all time.
He was born on February 26 1802 in Besancon, the son of Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo, a general in the Napoleonic Wars.
As a young man, he fell in love with his friend Adele Foucher and became engaged to her in secret against the wishes of his mother, Sophie Trebuchet.
Because of his mother’s misgivings, Hugo waited until her death in 1821 to marry his childhood sweetheart, tying the knot the following year.
The couple had the first of their five children in 1823, the same year the writer published his first novel Han D’Islande, aged just 21.
They remained married for 46 years until Adele’s death in 1868, although Hugo was a renowned womaniser who satisfied his eye for the ladies with a string of extra-marital romances.
Among a host of raunchy casual affairs that continued until a few weeks before he died, he had an official mistress, Juliette Drouet, who faithfully devoted 50 years to him.
Although he was married for 46 years, Hugo was a renowned womaniser[/caption]
Beyond his celebrated life as a writer, he was active in the political arena, and was elected to the French National Assembly in 1848.
When Napoleon III seized power in 1851, Hugo declared the new leader as a traitor to France and was exiled, living in Guernsey for 15 years.
However, he was hailed as a national hero when he eventually returned to Paris in 1870, although his attempt to return to political power failed.
Hugo died in 1885 from pneumonia at the age of 83 – his death sparked scenes of intense mourning across France.
Victor Hugo’s most celebrated and renowned works were Les Miserables and Notre-Dame de Paris – translated as The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Les Miserables, an epic historical novel considered one of the greatest works of literature of all time, took Hugo 17 years to write before it was published in 1862.
Today’s Google Doodle marks the date, June 30, that the final chapter of the masterwork was published.
The tale of Jean Valjean, Javert and co was adapted into a musical by Alain Boubil and Claude Michel Schonburg in 1980.
An English translation has run continuously in London since it debuted in October 1985 – making it the longest-running West End musical.
Hugo’s most famous literary works have been adapted into hit movies[/caption]
A critically-acclaimed 2012 movie adaptation of the musical starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe scooped three Oscars.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was also adapted for the silver screen, with a Disney movie of Quasimodo’s tale released in 1996.
Hugo published his final novel, Ninety Three, in 1874, although a number of works were attributed to him after his death.
He is also widely celebrated in France for his poetry collections, particularly Les Contemplations and La Legende des Siecles (The Legend of the Ages).