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Victor Hugo: His Life and Works By G. Barnett Smith Characters: 2241

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


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I INSCRIBE THIS VOLUME

TO

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE,

REJOICING THUS TO CONNECT

THE

GREAT BARD AND PROPHET OF FRANCE

WITH THE ENGLISH

SINGER OF A YOUNGER DAY,

WHO HAS DRUNK DEEPLY

OF

THE MASTER'S SPIRIT.

G. B. S.

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PRELIMINARY NOTE.

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I began this study of Victor Hugo in December last, and arrangements were made for its early publication. The great poet has now passed away, and this melancholy event gives the biographical portion of the present volume a completeness not originally anticipated. Notwithstanding the multitude of criticisms which have appeared in our own and other languages upon Hugo's works, this is the only book which relates the full story of his life, and now traces to its close his literary career. More than twenty years have elapsed since the publication of Madame Hugo's memorials of the earlier portion of the poet's history, and since that time M. Barbou's work (excellently translated by Miss Frewer) is the only narrative of a biographical character which has appeared. The writings of var

ious French and English critics, the two works I have named, and those valuable chroniclers, the journals of London and Paris, have been of considerable service to me in the preparation of the biography now offered to the public.

The writings of Victor Hugo are so varied and multifarious, and many of them are so well known to English readers, that I have not deemed it necessary to subject them to a detailed analysis. At the same time, the reader unfamiliar with these powerful works will, I trust, be able to gather something of their purport and scope from the ensuing pages. As they have impressed all minds, moreover, by their striking originality, I thought that it would not be without its value if, while venturing to record my own impressions, I gave at the same time a representation of critical contemporary opinion upon them. Finally, it has been my object to present to the reader, within reasonable compass, a complete survey of the life and work of the most celebrated Frenchman of the nineteenth century.

G. Barnett Smith.

Highgate, London, N.,

June 3rd, 1885.

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CONTENTS.

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