By Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo ruled literary lifestyles in France for over part a century, pouring forth novels, poems, performs, and different writings with unflagging zest and power. All features of his paintings are represented during this quantity.
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Victor Hugo ruled literary existence in France for over part a century, pouring forth novels, poems, performs, and different writings with unflagging zest and power. All elements of his paintings are represented during this quantity.
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Extra resources for The Essential Victor Hugo (Oxford World's Classics)
March– June: publication of Les Misérables (novel), written – and –. April: publication of William Shakespeare (literary criticism). October: Charles Hugo marries Alice Lehaene. October: publication of Songs of Street and Wood (Les Chansons des rues et des bois, verse), written and . March: publication of The Toilers of the Sea (Les Travailleurs de la mer, novel). August: birth of Charles’s son Georges. August: death of Adèle I. April– May: publication of The Laughing Man (L’Homme qui rit, novel).
Thus we ﬁnd the spirit of melancholy and meditation and the demon of analysis and controversy appearing together–– virtually arm in arm. Longinus marks one end of this transitional age, Augustine* marks the other. We mustn’t eye the period too scornfully; it was the seedbed of everything that has come to fruition since, and (allow me to use a banal but expressive image) its second-rate writers made it a dunghill to fertilize the future harvest. The Middle Ages were grown from the Byzantine empire.
And what’s more, Boileau. ’ These are, no doubt, signiﬁcant arguments (their most notable merit being their originality). But I don’t have any obligation to answer them. I’m not erecting any system here–– God preserve us from systems! I’m simply stating a fact. I’m writing history, not criticism. Like it or not, this is the way things are. To return to the point, then, let’s try to show that this fertile union of the grotesque with the sublime has been the origin of the modern spirit–– so complex, so varied in form, so inﬁnite in its creations (in striking contrast to the uniform simplicity of the ancient spirit); this must be our point of departure, if we are to describe the real and radical diﬀerence between the two systems.
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