Victor-Marie Hugo (1802-85) was born in Besan on, France, the third son of an army general. He was a sickly infant and was not expected to live, but grew more robust from the age of two when he went to live with his mother in Paris–“the birthplace of my soul.”
As a teenager he began to fill notebooks with poetry. In maturity he was a prolific and very successful poet, dramatist, and novelist, and the most celebrated author of his generation. His most famous works include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), Les Chants du Crepuscule (1835) and Les Miserables (1862).
December 31st, 1851
You have been wonderful, my Juliette, all through these dark and violent days. If I needed love, you brought it to me, bless you! When, in my hiding places, always dangerous, after a night of waiting, I heard the key of my door trembling in your fingers, peril and darkness were no longer round me–what entered then was light!
We must never forget those terrible, but so sweet, hours when you were close to me in the intervals of fighting. Let us remember all our lives that dark little room, the ancient hangings, the two armchairs, side by side, the meal we ate off the corner of the table, the cold chicken you had brought; our sweet converse, your caresses, your anxieties, your devotion. You were surprised to find me calm and serene. Do you know whence came both calmness and serenity? From you…
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