VICTOR HUGO AND THE BARRICADES
Director(s): Jacques Loeuille – Writer(s): Jacques Loeuille Contact Print page
Victor Hugo, the author of “Notre-Dame of Paris” and leader of the Romantic Movement, became, after the revolution of 1848, the figurehead of the French Republic and the world-acclaimed author of “Les Misérables”.
They say, "the century was two years old” when Victor Hugo was born. And towards the end of the century, in 1885, the young Third Republic turned his funeral into a national event - the first national funeral granted to a poet! They had already named a boulevard after him during his lifetime - another “first” that was never repeated.
His life embraced the hectic course of the 19th century which profoundly transformed the world and saw the emergence of nation states. As a privileged witness of the century, he sought to grasp its heartbeat, first with his poetry and novels, then with his political commitment. Around 1850, though, Hugo changed his political outlook – and then remained a republican and a man of the Left. But what kind of Left?
Aged 17, he had written an Ode to Henry IV. A the time, the author of Les Miserables had not yet "shed the tight mask" of the royalist. Later, as a ‘député’ during the 1848 revolution, he had ordered to fire at the people...
However, after his return from exile in 1871, he was almost the only one of his generation to defend the Communards and to campaign for their amnesty. George Sand called him senile whereas others would say that he’d gone "from one side to the other of the barricades". Fact is that his commitment had never been subordinated to any partisan ideology.
Victor Hugo has always followed his own rule of law, that of Liberty.