Born on February 26, 1802, Victor Marie Hugo is one of the best known French writers. His fame comes from his poetry, novels and dramas. One of this best known dramatic achievements is Les Miserables in 1862 and Notre-Dame de Paris in 1831 (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).
His works touch on political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He was also greatly influenced by his marriage to Adele Foucher and their children. A daughter Leopoldine died at 19 from drowning. Hugo wrote many poems about his daughter's life and death and he never recovered from her death. The poem Demain, des l'aube describes her grave. Hugo's first novel Han d'Islande, in 1823 was followed by Bug-Jargal in 1826. He published five volumes of poetry between 1829 and 1840. Hugo's first collection of poetry Odes et poesies diverses was published in 1922 and he earn a royal pension of Louis XVIII. His collection in 1826 Odes et Ballades gave him the reputation of a master of lyric and song. Hugo wrote The Last Day of A condemned Man which was the precursor to Les Miserables.
In 1931 The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was published inspired an appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings and spurred on the preservation of these buildings. Hugo's last novel Ninety-Three published in 1974 dealing with the reign of terror during the French Revolution. Hugo's popularity was moving downward when this novel was published, but it is now considered to be as good as his better known novels.
Hugo was elected to the Academie francaise in 1841. He was elevated to the peerage by King Louis-Philippe in 1841 and entered the Higher Chamber where he talked about the death penalty and social injustice. He was in favor of freedom of the press and self-government for Poland. Hugo declared Napoleon as a traitor to France and was expelled from France. He moved to Guernsey in the UK and lived there for 15 years.
He continued to be active in politics, draw and write during his waning years. Hugo died from pneumonia on May 22, 1885. He was 83. His death precipitated intense national mourning. Hugo was regarded as a great figure in literature and a statesman who started the Third Republic and democracy in France.