Victor Hugo was the most important writer of the nineteenth century in France: leader of the Romantic movement, Revolutionary playwright, poet, epic novelist, author of the last universally accessible masterpieces in the European tradition, among them Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was also a radical political thinker and eventual exile from France, a gifted painter and architect, and a visionary who conversed with Virgil, Shakespeare, and Jesus Christ – in short, a tantalizing personality who dominated and maddened his contemporaries.
Graham Robb has written an extraordinary biography that does full justice to the drama of his subject’s life – a life that Robb calls ‘the most lucid case of madness in literature’. By grasping the giant in his entirety and in his many disguises, Robb, bestselling author of The Discovery of France, rewards us with a panorama of French and European society from the Revolution to the dawn of the twentieth century.
Victor Hugo won the Whitbread Award for Biography and the Royal Society of Literature award.