Joyeux Anniversaire, Victor Hugo!
Born February 26th, 1802 Victor Hugo became arguably the most influential French poet and novelist of the Romantic era. Most famous for his two enduring works, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables, Hugo spent nearly twenty years of his life in exile after openly declaring the newly crowned Napoleon III, who managed to seize complete power over France in 1851, a traitor to his country. It was during this exile that Les Misérables was composed.
It is said that these five sentences were left in his will to be published throughout France:
“I leave 50 000 francs to the poor. I want to be buried in their hearse. I refuse [funeral] orations of all churches. I beg a prayer to all souls. I believe in God.”
Interesting fact #1: Les Misérables (the book) is said to have sold out in just hours!
Interesting fact #2: Hugo was so well loved that more people attended his funeral than was the normal population of Paris at the time of his death.