9:43 AM

VICTOR HUGO-3

This exile opened for Victor Hugo a second career as a poet. He wrote Chastisements (1852), a political satire; Contemplations (1856); the mighty Legend of the Centuries (1859-1883); a vast collection of epic myths and episodes, with its weird and powerful prelude; The End of Satan (1886) and its philosophical conclusion God (1891). God’s range, power, and it are in sharp contrast to Hugo’s airy songs of Streets and Woods (1865). In the novel Les Miserables (1862) Hugo painted a great historical fresco and a powerful sermon, in the framework of a popular romance. Toilers of the Sea (1866), with fine descriptions and a symbol of evil (the octopus), is like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The Man Who Laughs, in which his riotous fantasy reached the limits of the baroque and even of the grotesque, is also notable.

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