La Légende des Siècles eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about La Légende des Siècles.
were married, and in the same year he published his first volume of Odes.  He was now fully launched on a literary career, and for twenty years or more the story of his life is mainly the story of his literary output.  In 1827 he published his drama of Cromwell, the preface to which, with its note of defiance to literary convention, caused him to be definitely accepted as the head of the Romantic School of poetry. Les Orientales, Le dernier jour d’un condamne, Marion de Lorme, and Hernani followed in quick succession.  The revolution of 1830 disturbed for a moment his literary activity, but as soon as things were quiet again he shut himself in his study with a bottle of ink, a pen, and an immense pile of paper.  For six weeks he was never seen, except at dinner-time, and the result was Notre-Dame de Paris.  During the next ten years four volumes of poetry and four dramas were published; in 1841 came his election to the Academy, and in 1843 he published Les Burgraves, a drama which was less successful than his former plays, and which marks the close of his career as a dramatist.  In the same year there came to him the greatest sorrow of his life.  His daughter Leopoldine, to whom he was deeply attached, was drowned with her husband during a pleasure excursion on the Seine only a few months after their marriage.

In 1845 Hugo began to take an active part in politics.  Son of a Vendean mother, he had been in early life a fervent royalist, and even in 1830 he could write of the fallen royal family with respectful sympathy.  Yet by that time his democratic leanings had declared themselves, and he accepted the constitutional monarchy of Louis Philippe only as a step towards a republic, for which he considered France was not yet ripe.  In 1845 the king made him a peer of France, but this did not prevent him from throwing himself with all the ardour of his nature into the revolution of 1848.  Divining the ambition of Louis Napoleon, he resisted his growing power, and when the Second Empire was established the poet was among the first who were exiled from France.  He took refuge first in Jersey, and afterwards in Guernsey, where he lived in a house near the coast, from the upper balcony of which the cliffs of Normandy could sometimes be discerned.  Thence he launched against the usurper a bitter prose satire, Napoleon le Petit, and a still bitterer satire in verse, Les Chatiments, and there he wrote two of his greatest novels, Les Travailleurs de la Mer and Les Miserables, two of his finest volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations, the greater part of the first series of La Legende des Siecles, and the two remarkable religious poems, Dieu and La Fin de Satan.  He returned to France on the fall of Napoleon in 1870, to be for fifteen years the idol of the people, who regarded him as the incarnation of the spirit of liberty.  Several volumes of poetry were issued during those fifteen

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La Légende des Siècles from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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