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Victor Hugo Papers

Date range: c.1827-1888.

Collection of correspondence of the French novelist, dramatist and poet Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885), author of Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris.

There are approximately 800 letters to Hugo and 170 original letters written by him, the majority of which were collected by Professor Jean Gaudon between 1962 and 1966. They cover virtually the whole of Hugo's literary career.

Correspondents include many prominent French writers of the period such as Théodore de Banville (1823-1891), and Alfred de Vigny (1797-1863).

Other letters, including five written to Hugo's mistress Juliette Drouet (1806-1883) and six addressed to Madame Victor Hugo by Ulric Guttinguer (1785-1866), shed light on the author's personal life.

Six letters exchanged with Louis Blanc (1811-1882) relate to Hugo's involvement in the Shakespeare Tercentenary celebrations of 1864.

Further letters reflect Hugo's political activities and focus on a visit made to Brussels during the Paris Commune of 1871 and the controversial offer of asylum to all communards.

Other manuscript items include four page-proofs of the first edition of Châtiments, with holograph corrections by Hugo, a manuscript of La Voix de Guernesey, dated 1867, and a famous watercolour drawing by Hugo, produced as a New Year card, dated January 1856.

See also the Victor Hugo book collection and the Amable Tastu papers.

Finding aids

Catalogue in course of preparation.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library