Literature

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Victor Hugo – Les Misérables BACKGROUND : Victor Marie Hugo was the son of a general in Napoléon’s army, and much of his childhood was therefore spent amid the backdrop of Napoléon’s campaigns in Spain and in Italy. The first three years of his life were spent in Elba, where he learnt to speak the Italian dialect spoken in the island in addition to his mother tongue. Victor got a little education in a small school. At the age of eleven, Hugo returned to live with his mother in Paris, where he got a little education in a small and where he also became infatuated with books and literature. By the time he was fifteen, he had already submitted one poem to a contest sponsored by the prestigious French Academy. There he learnt much from an old soldier, General Lahorie, who, obnoxious to Napoleon for the share he had taken in Moreau's plot, lived secretly in the house, and from an old priest named Lariviere, who came every day to teach Victor and his two brothers. In 1815, at the age of thirteen, he was sent to a boarding school to prepare for the Ecole Polytechnique. But he devoted himself, even at school, to verse-writing with greater ardour than to study. He wrote in early youth more than one poem for a prize competition, composed a romance which some years later he elaborated into the story Bug Jargal, and in 1820, when only eighteen, joined his two brothers, Abel and Eugene, in publishing a literary journal called Le Conservateur Litteraire. Hugo published his first novel the year following his marriage (Han d'Islande, 1823) and his second three years later (Bug-Jargal, 1826). By the end of 1822 Victor Hugo was fully launched on a literary career, and for twenty years or more the story of his life is mainly the story of his literary output. Because of his successful drama Cormwell, the preface to which, with its note of defiance to literary convention, caused him to be definitely accepted as the head of the Romantic School...
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