Friday, March 1, 2013

The Most Beloved Author of Modern History

(Rabbit, rabbit! 1st of the month, guys. Say it first thing when you wake up, and you'll have good luck for the month.)

Onto the post!

I say 'Modern' history because I can't know for sure if there were beloved writers back in the Middle Ages. But, I am willing to bet that the writer I am about to mention was the most beloved writer ever (excluding authors of religious texts).

You would think that this writer would be British. Maybe American. But DEFINITELY English-speaking. So probably Charles Dickens, or JK Rowling. Right?

Well, no.

There is one writer who revolutionized his country; who garnered the praise and adulation of all of his fellow citizens far beyond what either of these two (AMAZING) writers did.

Hugo in 1853. I don't own this picture, but look at him
strut his stuff! Model material right there.

This writer is the great Victor Hugo.

Sketch of Hugo by Alphonse Legros
What makes him the most loved author/writer of modern history?

Well, for one, there's an idea that every town/village in France has at least one street named after Hugo. 100% is too extreme (what if there's a rural village with one street?) but without a doubt, the majority do.

Too add on, when Hugo returned from his (for the most part) self-imposed exile in protest of Napoleon III's takeover of the crown, he was greeted as a national hero.

For his 80th birthday, he was celebrated by one of the biggest parades in French history. The paraders marched for six hours past Hugo's house where he watched out the window.

When he died at age 83, more than two million people attended his funeral procession from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon.

And (not related to the above) I just found out, he was such a fantastic painter that Delacroix (painter of "Liberty Leading the People") said that if Hugo had decided to become a painter instead of a writer, he would have outshone the artists of his time.

I LOVE TO PAINT TOO!!!!! But, of course, I'm not Hugo. Sigh. But, obviously, if he lived right now (or I lived back then) we would have been best friends. YES WE WOULD HAVE. He is so awesome.

Why was he so beloved?

France is a very nationalistic country, even to this day. For example, they are so protective of their native tongue that they have an organization which 'Frenchifies' American words that might seep in and pervert their language. (I have to admit, French is an amazing language. Just listening to French people is like listening to angels speak. Arrg! Why can't English be so beautifully sounding? But still, I love English :D)

The thing is, Victor Hugo was THE French man. He lived and breathed France. He was involved in politics which seeped into his writings - all his books have political messages. He was a politician, activist, everything. He breathed life into the French people with his writings. He became the symbol of an already incredibly patriotic country. Thus, he garnered their praise and love.

But his influence was not only in France. He had a part in ending capital punishment in Geneva, Portugal, and Columbia. AND he had a huge impact on music; his writings inspired over a thousand musical compositions.

Sigh. I can't say it all. Just read this and you'll know more. There is just SO MUCH to this man. (Yes, I know it's a Wikipedia link. But yes, I think Wikipedia is awesome.)

It's no secret that I'm a huge Victor Hugo fan. He will/has guide(d) my writing, more than JK Rowling herself (I KNOW!). If I could be like any writer, I would be like him (not for the fame, but for the genius of his books and his activism).

AND IT WAS HIS BIRTHDAY 3 DAYS AGO! February 26th. Happy birthday Hugo! You continue to inspire writers to this day :D

Marble bust of Hugo by Rodin.
Which writer inspired you the most? What do you think about Hugo?


  1. Love seeing people recognize our creative roots...rabbit rabbit

  2. Love seeing people recognize our creative roots...rabbit rabbit

  3. "his writings inspired over a thousand musical compositions"

    That is VERY cool.