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Biography

The best-known of the French Romantic writers, Victor Hugo was a poet, novelist, dramatist, and political critic. Hugo was an avid supporter of French republicanism and advocate for social and political equality, themes that reflect most strongly in his works Les Misérables, Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), and Le Dernier jour d'un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man). Hugo’s literary works were successful from the outset, earning him a pension from Louis XVIII and membership in the prestigious Académie française, and influencing the work of literary figures such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Elevated to the peerage by King Louis-Philippe, Hugo played an active role in French politics through the 1848 Revolution and into the Second and Third Republics. Hugo died in 1885, revered not only for his influence on French literature, but also for his role in shaping French democracy. He is buried in the Panthéon alongside Alexandre Dumas and émile Zola.

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