Vicomte Victor Marie Hugo
Vicomte Victor Marie Hugo
The French author Victor Marie, Vicomte Hugo (1802-1885), was the supreme poet of French romanticism. He is noted for the breadth of his creation, the versatility that made him as much at ease in the novel as in the short lyric, and the mystical grandeur of his vision.
Victor Hugo had a nomadic and anxious childhood. He was erratically schooled, a fact which accounts in part for the eclectic and unsystematic aspect of his poetic thought. At age 14 he wrote, "I want to be Chateaubriand or nothing." He had begun to write in every poetic genre—odes, satires, elegies, riddles, epics, madrigals—and to receive recognition while still in his adolescence, never having to fact the long years of obscurity and struggle that are the lot of most poets.
In 1822 Hugo married his childhood sweetheart, Adèle Foucher, one and a half years after the death of his mother, who opposed the match. They later had four children, and their apartment, on the rue Cherche-midi in Paris, became the meeting place for the avant-garde of the romantic movement. In 1822 Hugo also published his first signed book, Odes et poésies diverses. In the preface to this book, which contains many poems celebrating his love for Adèle, the poet wrote, "Poetry is the most intimate of all things."
Hugo's work may be roughly divided into three periods. First in time is the intimate lyrical vein typical of the odes. Second is an involved or committed poetry speaking directly to political and social conditions. The epic novel Les Misérables, for example, fits into this group. (But this vein is also present in the very first volume, where a number of poems praise the throne and the altar; Hugo, who was to end as a staunch republican, began as a royalist.) In the last phase of his career Hugo rose to the heights of mysticism and poetic vision, as in La Fin de Satan.
Development of Romanticism
In 1824 some of Hugo's friends founded a review called Muse française which claimed as its contributors Alfred de Musset, Charles Nodier, and Hugo himself. All were young writers who were beginning to break with neoclassicism. After his visit to Alphonse de Lamartine and his discovery of German balladry, in 1826 Hugo published Odes et ballades, in which his rejection of neoclassicism became increasingly clear.
The years 1826 and 1827 were triumphant ones for the Cénacle, the name given to the young romantics who recognized Hugo as their chief and called him the "prince of poets." What Lamartine and the Vicomte de Chateaubriand had begun, Hugo was dedicated to complete. He ceased writing complimentary odes to King Charles X and began praising Napoleon I instead. With critics like Nodier and Charles Sainte-Beuve to advise him and with the support of geniuses such as the painter Eugène Delacroix and the poets Musset and Gerard de Nerval, Hugo formulated the doctrine of romanticism. This doctrine was expressed in the preface to his unproduced play, Cromwell, published in October 1827. Where classics and neoclassics had repudiated the Middle Ages as "barbaric," Hugo saw richness and beauty in this period, and he called for a new poetry inspired by medieval Christianity. He vindicated the ugly and grotesque as elements of the "new beauty." Poetry, he said, should do as nature does, "mixing in its creations yet without confusion shadow with light, the grotesque with the sublime, in other words, the body with the soul, the bestial with the spiritual." The vivifying sources of this new literature were to be the Bible, Homer, and Shakespeare.
Convinced that the new vision must prove itself in the theater, Hugo followed Cromwell with a number of other plays. On Feb. 25, 1830, the famous "battle of Hernani" took place, with Hugo's supporters outshouting the neoclassicists and antiromantics who had come to hiss the play. Hernani was performed 45 times (an unusual success for those days) and brought Hugo the friendship of such notable figures as Dumas père and George Sand.
But Hugo did not confine himself to the drama. In 1831 he published his magnificent novel Notre Dame de Paris, the work for which he is best known in the United States. He was originally inspired by Sir Walter Scott, on whom he hoped to improve by adding "sentiment" and "poetry" to the historical novel. In addition, he wished to convey the true spirit of the late Middle Ages through his evocation of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and his characters: Frollo the archdeacon, Quasimodo the hunchback, and Esmeralda the gypsy girl. Hugo wrote the novel nonstop during the fall and early winter of 1830 in order to meet his publisher's deadline. Although some readers were shocked that Frollo (who had taken holy orders) should fall in love with Esmeralda, the tale was an immense success. Théophile Gautier compared it to Homer's Iliad.
Also in 1831 Hugo published one of his most beautiful collections of poetry, Les Feuilles d'automne. Once again, Hugo wrote in the intimate vein: "Poetry speaks to man, to man as a whole…. Revolution changes all things, except the human heart." This volume expressed the sadness of things past as the poet approached his significant thirtieth birthday. The tone was personal and elegiac, sometimes sentimental.
It was not merely the passage of time that accounted for Hugo's melancholy. His wife, tired of bearing children and frustrated by the poet's immense egoism (Ego Hugo was his motto), turned for consolation to the poet's intimate friend, the waspish critic Sainte-Beuve. The sadness of this double betrayal is felt in Feuilles d'automne.
Tormented by his wife's coldness and his own inordinate sexual cravings, Hugo fell in love with the young actress and courtesan Juliette Drouet and took it upon himself to "redeem" her. He paid her debts and forced her to live in poverty, with her whole being focused entirely upon him. For the next 50 years Juliette followed the poet wherever he went. She lived in his shadow, unable to take a step without his permission, confined to a room here, a mere hovel there, but always near the magnificent houses where Hugo settled with his family. She lived henceforth solely for the poet and spent her time writing him letters, of which many thousands are extant.
With the advent of the July Monarchy, which ended the Bourbon succession and brought Louis Philippe of the house of Orléans to power, Hugo achieved wealth and recognition, and for 15 years he was the official poet of France. During this period a host of new works appeared in rapid sequence, including three plays: Le Roi s'amuse (1832), Lucrézia Borgia (1833), and the triumph Ruy Blas (1838).
In 1835 came Chants du crépuscule, which included many love lyrics to Juliette, and in 1837 Les Voix intérieures, an offering to the memory of his father, who had been a Napoleonic general. Les Rayons et les ombres (1840) showed the same variety of inspiration, the same sonorous harmony, the same brilliance of contrasting images. His devotion to Juliette here found its deepest poetic expression in the beautiful poem entitled Tristesse d'Olympio, which directly rivals Lamartine's Le Lac and Alfred de Vigny's Maison du berger. Like these famous poets, Hugo evoked the past, searching for permanence of love; but unlike the pantheistic Lamartine or the skeptical Vigny, Hugo found permanence in memory.
Hugo published no more lyric poetry until 1853. He was now seized with a new ambition: he wished to become a statesman. At first a royalist, then a moderate, Hugo moved steadily toward liberalism. After the July Revolution he wrote in a more stirring vein than he ever had before: "I hate oppression with a profound hatred…. I curse those kings who ride in blood up to the bridle!" Hugo claimed that he had a "crystal soul" that reflected the same evolution as that the French people had gone through: from royalism to opposition to royalism, from the cult of Bonaparte to republicanism.
When Louis Philippe was deposed in the Revolution of 1848, Hugo at first found it hard to identify himself with the provisional government of Lamartine, for he still believed that a constitutional monarchy was the best form of government for France. Nevertheless, he allowed himself to be elected a deputy to the Assembly.
When Louis Napoleon, the nephew of the great man Hugo had always idolized, began to achieve notoriety, Hugo supported him. But his enthusiasm for the new president was short-lived. He wrote: "Upon the barricades I defended order. Before dictatorship I defended liberty." He made a stirring plea for freedom of the press and clemency to the rebel elements; at last, in 1849, he broke with Napoleon III with the words, "Because we have had a Great Napoleon must we now have a Little one?"
Louis Napoleon seized power by a coup d'etat on the night of Dec. 2, 1850, and proclaimed himself emperor. Hugo called for armed resistance and, witnessing the ensuing slaughter, Hugo believed the "Little Napoleon" to be a murderer. At great peril to her own life, Juliette saved the poet, found him shelter, and organized his escape to Brussels. From there he went to the British Channel islands of Jersey and Guernsey.
In November 1853 Hugo's fiercely anti-Napoleonic verse volume, Les Châtiments, was published in Belgium. Two different editions—one published under a false name with rows of dots in place of the individuals attacked, and the other, which was complete, with only "Geneva and New York" in place of the author's name—were culled from the 6,000 verses of the original manuscript. Though banned in France, the books were smuggled in (a favorite trick being to stuff them into hollow busts of the Emperor) and widely circulated.
In Les Châtiments Hugo wrote in the same polemical but exalted vein as did Pierre Ronsard in some of his Discours, Agrippa d'Aubigne in his Les Tragiques, André Chénier in his lambs. Comparisons between the Great and the Little Napoleons recur frequently in the poem, and the poet repeatedly calls on Nature to punish the hideous crime against her. Only the vision of an avenging future can placate the poet's hatred of Little Napoleon. The definitive edition of Les Châtiments, with numerous additions, was published in 1870, when Hugo returned to Paris after the fall of Napoleon III.
During his exile Hugo gave vent to the mystical side of his personality. There were many séances in his home, first on Jersey, then in his splendid Hauteville House overlooking the coast of Guernsey. For Hugo, the supernatural was merely the natural. He had always felt premonitions, always heard premonitory sounds and messages during the night. Now, under the influence of a female voyante, he believed that he was communicating with spirits, among them Dante, Shakespeare, Racine, and even Jesus. But the "visit" that touched him most was that of his favorite daughter, Léopoldine, tragically drowned in the Seine with her young husband in 1843.
Indeed, Hugo's family was stricken with multiple tragedies. While exile refreshed and nourished his poetry, his wife and children languished. They longed for their friends and the familiar surroundings of Paris. His daughter, Adèle, retreated into a fantasy world, till at last she ran away in pursuit of an English officer who was already married. Hugo's wife left him to live in Brussels, where she died in 1868. Only Juliette remained loyal during the 17 years the poet spent in Hauteville House.
Hugo continued his experiments with the supernatural until stopped by the threatened insanity of his son, Charles. He never abandoned, however, the syncretic and magical religious views that he reached at this time. He believed that all matter was in progress toward a higher state of being, and that this progress was achieved through suffering, knowledge, and the love that emanates from God. Evil was not absolute but rather a necessary stage toward the Good. Through suffering and the experience of evil, man made progress toward higher states of being.
In 1856 Hugo published Les Contemplations, a work which he described as follows: "Les Contemplations are the memoirs of a soul; they are life itself beginning with the dawn of the cradle and finishing with the dawn of the tomb, they are a spirit which marches from gleam to gleam through youth, love, work, struggle, sorrow, dreams, hope, and which stops distraught on the brink of the infinite. It begins with a smile, continues with a sob, and ends with a trumpet blast from the abyss."
Many of these poems anticipate Hugo's next major work, the epic cycle La Légende des siècles (1859), conceived as part of an enormous uncompleted work whose mission was to "express humanity." Like his heroes Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, and his own contemporary Honoréde Balzac, Hugo dreamed of an all-inclusive cosmic poem. It would show the ascent of the universal soul toward the Good, and the emergence of Spirit from Matter.
In 1862 Hugo published Les Misérables, an immense novel, the work of many years. His guiding interest was similar to that of Charles Dickens, a social and humanitarian concern for the downtrodden. The book was meant to show the "threefold problem of the century": the degradation of proletarian man, the fall of woman through hunger, and the destruction of children. The sympathetic portrayal of the waif, Gavroche, and the escaped convict, Jean Valjean, won a vast readership for Hugo. The book was not merely an adventure story but a love story and a mystery as well. It crystallized Hugo's concern for social injustice and once again astounded the reading public with the scope of his literary powers.
When Victor Hugo died on May 22, 1885, it was as a venerable man, crowned with worldwide glory, still robust and emotionally ardent to the last.
The best life of Hugo in English is Matthew Josephson, Victor Hugo: A Realistic Biography of the Great Romantic (1942). Elliott M. Grant, The Career of Victor Hugo (1945), amplifies and complements Josephson with additional details on Hugo's publications and literary career. A partial account of the poet is Adèle Hugo, Victor Hugo, by a Witness of His Life, translated by Charles E. Wilbour (1964). Other studies are André Maurois, Olympio: The Life of Victor Hugo (1954; trans. 1956), and Richard B. Grant, The Perilous Quest: Image, Myth, and Prophecy in the Narratives of Victor Hugo (1968). A bibliography of works by and about Hugo is Elliott M. Grant, Victor Hugo: A Select and Critical Bibliography (1967). See also Horatio Smith, Masters of French Literature (1937).
Decaux, Alain, Victor Hugo, Paris: Perrin, 1984.
Ionesco, Eugene, Hugoliad, or, The grotesque and tragic life of Victor Hugo, New York: Grove Press, 1987.
Juin, Hubert, Victor Hugo, Paris: Flammarion, 1980-c1986.
Peyre, Henri, Victor Hugo: philosophy and poetry, University: University of Alabama Press, 1980.
Richardson, Joanna, Victor Hugo, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976.
Stevens, Philip, Victor Hugo in Jersey, Shopwyke Hall, Chichester, Sussex: Phillimore, 1985. □
"Vicomte Victor Marie Hugo." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vicomte-victor-marie-hugo
"Vicomte Victor Marie Hugo." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vicomte-victor-marie-hugo
The French author Victor Hugo, is regarded by many as the supreme poet of French romanticism (a style in the 1800s that emphasized a free form of writing and expressed strong emotions, experiences of common people, and imaginative expressions and passion). He is known for producing large amounts of work, the ability to easily write poetry or novels, and his incredible vision.
Hugo's early years
Victor Marie Vicomte Hugo was born in Besançon, France, on February 26, 1802, to Joseph Leopold Sigisbert Hugo and Sophie Trebuchet. He and his two older brothers, Abel and Eugène, lived with their mother in Paris, France, while their father, a general and the governor of the Italian province of Avellino, lived in Italy. Hugo's mother had a special friendship with General Victor Fanneau Lahorie, who became an enemy of the French government. She let him hide in their house, and it was during this time he became a teacher for the Hugo boys. The boys frequently traveled to see their father and these trips caused breaks in their education. As a young boy, Hugo showed an interest in writing poetry. When he was twelve years old, Victor and his brothers were sent to school at the Pension Cordier. There they studied the sciences and spent their leisure time writing poetry and plays. When Victor was fifteen, he won the poetry contest held by the Académie Française and the next year placed first in the Académie des Jeux Floraux's contest. Victor's reputation as a poet developed early in his life, and he received a royal salary in 1822.
In 1822 Hugo married his childhood sweetheart, Adèle Foucher, one and a half years after the death of his mother, who had opposed their marriage. The couple later had four children. Their apartment in Paris became the meeting place for the ambitious writers of the Romantic Movement. In 1822 Hugo also published his first signed book, Odes et poésies diverses.
Development of romanticism
In 1824 a few of Hugo's friends began a group called Muse française. All were young writers who were beginning to break with neoclassicism (a style of writing that was based on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome in which logical, clear, and well-ordered writing was valued). After his visit to Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) and his discovery of German balladry (putting stories to music in an artistic way), in 1826 Hugo published Odes et ballades, in which his rejection of neoclassicism was clear.
The years 1826 and 1827 were successful ones for the Cénacle, the name given to a group of young romantics who were supporters of Hugo and his poetry. They called him the "prince of poets." Hugo stopped writing flattering odes (poems that express positive emotions and feelings about people or events) to King Charles X (1757–1836) and instead began praising Napoleon I (1769–1821). With the support and advice of friends, Hugo created the attitude of romanticism. This belief was expressed in the preface to his unproduced play, Cromwell, published in October 1827. He felt that poetry should follow nature, mixing the beautiful and the good with the ugly and the displeasing. The Bible, Homer (c. ninth century b.c.e.), and William Shakespeare (1564–1616) were the inspirational sources of his new literature.
Convinced that romanticism must prove itself in the theater, Hugo followed Cromwell with a number of other plays. On February 25, 1830, the famous "battle of Hernani" took place, with Hugo's supporters out shouting the neoclassicists and antiromantics (people who opposed the romantic movement) who had come to show their disapproval for the play. Hernani was performed forty-five times (an unusual success for those days).
In 1831 Hugo published his novel Notre Dame de Paris, the work for which he is best known in the United States. In this he wished to convey the true spirit of the late Middle Ages through his creation of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and his characters: Frollo the archdeacon, Quasimodo the hunchback, and Esmeralda the gypsy girl. Although some readers were shocked that Frollo (who had taken holy orders) should fall in love with Esmeralda, the tale was a huge success.
Also in 1831 Hugo published one of his most beautiful collections of poetry, Les Feuilles d'automne. Once again, Hugo wrote about private topics. This volume expressed the sadness he felt about events in his past as the poet approached his important thirtieth birthday. It was not only the fact that he was aging that made Hugo depressed; his wife, tired of bearing children and frustrated by the poet's immense selfishness, turned for comfort to the poet's friend, the critic Sainte-Beuve. The sadness of this double betrayal is felt in Feuilles d'automne.
Due to Hugo's loneliness from his wife's rejection, he fell in love with the young actress and prostitute (a person who receives money for performing sexual acts) Juliette Drouet. He took it upon himself to save her. He paid her debts and forced her to live in poverty, with her whole life focused entirely upon him. From this time on she lived solely for the poet and spent her time writing him letters, of which many thousands are in existence.
With the arrival of the July Monarchy, Hugo became wealthy and famous, and for fifteen years he was the official poet of France. During this period a large variety of new works appeared, including three plays: Le Roi s'amuse (1832), Lucrézia Borgia (1833), and the triumph Ruy Blas (1838).
In 1835 came Chants du crépuscule, which included many love lyrics (poems telling of emotion or love) to Juliette. In 1837 came Les Voix intérieures, a memorial of his father, who had been a Napoleonic general. Les Rayons et les ombres (1840) was another of his written works that was a statement of his personal emotions.
Hugo was now seized with a new ambition: he wished to become a statesman. When Louis Philippe was defeated in the Revolution of 1848, he allowed himself to be elected a deputy to the Assembly.
When Louis Napoleon began to achieve fame, Hugo supported him. But his enthusiasm for the new president was short-lived. He made a stirring plea for freedom of the press. At last, in 1849, he broke with Napoleon III (1808–1873).
Louis Napoleon seized power on the night of December 2, 1850, and declared himself emperor. Hugo called for the people to fight back, and many were killed in this process. Hugo's involvement in the events put his life in danger. Juliette saved the poet, found him shelter, and organized his escape to Brussels, Belgium. From there he went to the British Channel islands of Jersey and Guernsey.
In November 1853 Hugo's anti-Napoleonic volume, Les Châtiments, was published in Belgium. Though banned in France, the books were smuggled in and widely distributed. The final edition of Les Châtiments, with numerous additions, was published in 1870, when Hugo returned to Paris after the fall of Napoleon III.
During Hugo's long absence from France, he explored the dark side of his personality. There were many séances (meetings of people attempting to contact the dead) in his home. He believed that he was communicating with famous spirits. The "visit" that touched him most was that of his favorite daughter, Léopoldine, who had tragically drowned in the Seine with her young husband in 1843.
Indeed, Hugo's family was doomed with many tragedies. While his life in England energized his poetry, his wife and children became depressed. They longed for their friends and the familiar surroundings of Paris. His daughter, Adèle, withdrew into a fantasy world until at last she ran away from home. Hugo continued his experiments with the supernatural until stopped by the fragile mental state of his son, Charles. Hugo's wife left him to live in Brussels, where she died in 1868. Only Juliette remained loyal during the seventeen years the poet spent in England.
In 1856 Hugo published Les Contemplations, a work described as the progression of life from infancy to its end, complete with all of the emotional experiences that happen to a person during this process. Many of these poems predict Hugo's next major work La Légende des siècles (1859), conceived as part of an enormous uncompleted work whose mission was to "express humanity." Hugo dreamed of an all-inclusive vast poem. It would show that man and his soul were basically good and that the human spirit would come out and away from its concern with material things.
In 1862 Hugo published Les Misérables, a major novel, the work of many years. His guiding interest was a social and humanitarian concern for the disadvantaged. The book was not just an adventure story but a love story and a mystery as well. It solidified Hugo's concern for people who were treated unfairly in society and once again amazed the reading public with the range of his literary powers.
When Victor Hugo died in Paris on May 22, 1885, he was a time-honored man, crowned with worldwide glory, still enthusiastic and emotionally devoted to the last.
For More Information
Maurois, André. Olympio: The Life of Victor Hugo. New York: Harper, 1956.
Robb, Graham. Victor Hugo: A Biography. New York: Norton, 1997.
Smith Dow, Leslie. Adèle Hugo: La Misérable. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane, 1993.
"Hugo, Victor." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor
"Hugo, Victor." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor
Hugo, Victor Marie, Vicomte
Victor Marie Hugo, Vicomte (hyōō´gō, Fr. vēktôr´ märē´ vēkôNt´ ügō´), 1802–85, French poet, dramatist, and novelist, b. Besançon. His father was a general under Napoleon. As a child he was taken to Italy and Spain and at a very early age had published his first book of poems, resolving
"to be Chateaubriand or nothing."
The preface to his drama Cromwell (1827) placed him at the head of the romanticists; he remained the greatest exponent of the school and was considered by many the greatest poet of his day. His principal poetic works are Les Orientales (1829), Les Feuilles d'automne (1831), Les Chants du crépuscule (1835), Les Voix intérieures (1837), Les Rayons et les ombres (1840), Les Châtiments (1853), Les Contemplations (1856), and La Légende des siècles (1859). The production of his poetic drama Hernani (tr. 1830), which broke with conventions of the French theater, caused a riot between the classicists and the romanticists. The drama was the basis of Verdi's opera Ernani; Verdi also made use of Hugo's play Le Roi s'amuse (1832) for Rigoletto. Other plays include Marion Delorme (1831, tr. 1872), Ruy Blas (1838, tr. 1850), and Les Burgraves (1843), the failure of which spelled the end of the romantic drama. The tragic deaths in that year of Hugo's daughter and her husband were reflected in a moving series of poems of childhood, including The Art of Being a Grandfather (1877). Hugo's two greatest novels are Notre Dame de Paris (1831, tr. 1833) and Les Misérables (1862, tr. 1862), which are epic in scope and portray the sufferings of humanity with great compassion and power. His other important novels include Les Travailleurs de la mer (1866, tr. Toilers of the Sea, 1866), and Quatre-vingt-treize (1874, tr. Ninety-three, 1874). He began his political career as a supporter of the duke of Reichstadt, Napoleon's son; later Hugo espoused the cause of Louis Philippe's son, and then for a short time of Louis Bonaparte. Because he afterward opposed Napoleon III, Hugo was banished and went first to Brussels, then to the isle of Jersey, and later (1855) to Guernsey, where he lived until 1870, refusing an amnesty. In 1870 he returned to Paris in triumph. He was elected to the national assembly and the senate. His last years were marked by public veneration and acclaim, and he was buried in the Panthéon. Critics are divided as to his relative greatness, but he was a towering figure in 19th-century French literature.
See biographies by A. Maurois (tr. 1956), H. Peyre (1980), and G. Robb (1997); studies by R. B. Grant (1968), E. M. Grant (1945, repr. 1966 and 1968), J. P. Houston (1974), W. M. Greenberg (1985), and V. Brombert (1986).
"Hugo, Victor Marie, Vicomte." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor-marie-vicomte
"Hugo, Victor Marie, Vicomte." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor-marie-vicomte
Hugo, Victor (1802-1885)
Hugo, Victor (1802-1885)
The great French romantic novelist. He was keenly interested in Spiritism. He wrote, "To avoid phenomena, to make them bankrupt of the attention to which they have a right, is to make bankrupt truth itself." Hugo left an unpublished manuscript on Spiritism in the possession of Paul Meurice, who died in 1905. It appears that he had his first experiences in table turning in September 1853 at the home of a Mme. de Girardin during his period on the island of Jersey after he was exiled from France by Napoleon III in 1852. Hugo at first refused to attend the séance but was greatly moved when the table spelled out the name of his lost daughter Leopoldine. Soon regular communications were established.
The sitters included General Le Flo, Count Paul Teleki, Charles Hugo, one Vacquerie, and Mme. Hugo. Victor Hugo himself was never at the table, sometimes not even in the room. Many symbolical personages came through, including "the Lion of Androcles," "the Ass of Balaam," and "the Dove of Noah." "The Shadow of the Tomb" expressed itself in verse in the style and language of Victor Hugo, with all the grandiloquence of romantic poetry. Sometimes verse in the same style was signed by "Aeschylus." "Shakespeare" challenged Hugo to a poetic competition. "André Chenier," the guillotined poet, finished the fragmentary poem that was interrupted by his execution. Charles Hugo was the principal medium in all these experiments.
In 1892, seven years after Victor Hugo's death, the spirit of Victor Hugo, or a secondary personality assuming the name, appeared as the control of Hélène Smith, the medium, famous for her pseudo-Martian communication. "Victor" was in exclusive control for five months. After a struggle lasting for a year he was ousted by another control, "Leopold," the so-called spirit of Cagliostro.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Ebon, Martin. They Knew the Unknown. New York: New American Library, 1971.
Flournoy, Theodor. From India to the Planet Mars. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1963.
Grillet, Claudius Victor Hugo Spirite. Paris, 1929.
Malo, Henry. Life of Delphine Gray. N.p., 1925.
Sudre, René. "The Case of Victor Hugo and the Collective Psychism." Psychic Research 23 (1971).
"Hugo, Victor (1802-1885)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor-1802-1885
"Hugo, Victor (1802-1885)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor-1802-1885
Hugo, Victor Marie
"Hugo, Victor Marie." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor-marie
"Hugo, Victor Marie." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hugo-victor-marie