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A research guide in association with the State Library of Victoria exhibition. This guide provides links and research advice to help you find out more about Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, and the history, politics and art of 19th-century France.
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Rue des Chantres

Rue des Chantres Charles Meryon
Rue des Chantres (1862)
plate 27


Rue des Marmousets

Rue des Marmousets de la rue St. Landry Charles Marville H88.19/68 
Rue des Marmousets de la rue St. Landry
Charles Marville


This guide will help you find information on French writer and artist Victor Hugo and his influence on 19th century art, literature and politics

The Library's exhibition Victor Hugo: Les Misérables – From Page to Stage showcases many ways in which Hugo informs 19th-century and contemporary art, literature and performance. This guide supplements the exhibition and offers further ways for Library patrons to explore our collections on this subject.

Click on the tabs at the top of this guide to see print and electronic resources in specific subject areas.

Some biographical resources are outlined below.


    Victor Hugo

    Victor Hugo IAN01/06/85/84

    Victor Hugo
    Illustrated Australian News

    Victor Hugo was born on February 26, 1802 in Besançon, France.  Most well known for his novels, he was also notable for his poetry, drama and ink drawings. His first novel Han d'Islande (Hans of Iceland) was published in 1823.

    Hugo became the figurehead of the romantic literary movement with the plays Cromwell (1827) and Hernani (1830). For more on Hernani see Criticism and reviews.

    In 1831 he published Notre-Dame de Paris  (The hunchback of Notre Dame) which remains enormously popular and has been adapted for opera, theatre, film and television.

    He was active in the volatile politics of 19th-century France. In December 1851 Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) led a coup d'état  and established himself as Emperor. This action was fiercely opposed by Hugo who escaped France at the time of the coup, and lived in exile on Jersey and then Guernsey for 19 years despite an amnesty offer.

    His great masterpiece Les Misérables was published in 1862, more than a decade after he commenced writing. From first publication it was a huge success.

    He returned to France in 1870. In that year Napoleon III was removed as emperor and interned by the Prussians, when France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War.

    Victor Hugo died on May 22, 1885. Obituaries on his death were published in newspapers in Australia, and across the world.  He influenced, and continues to influence, literature, theatre and the creative arts.

    Maison de Victor Hugo
    Maison de Victor Hugo

    More information:

    The resources listed below can be accessed within the Library, or outside the Library if you are a Victorian registered  with the Library.  See the biographical entries on Victor Hugo in these databases.

    Watch this video for a step by step guide. When you click the play arrow the following options appear at the bottom of the screen.

    Use the highlighted options to open in full screen, to open captions and to adjust to the highest resolution.

    The Library

    State Library Victoria

    328 Swanston Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

    +61 3 8664 7000

    State Library Victoria forecourt


    Victor Hugo:
    Les Misérables –

    From Page to Stage

    Les Miserables website image


    18 July to 9 November 2014

    Daily 10am–6pm, Thurs 9pm

    An exhibition at the
    State Library of Victoria

    Picture Gallery

    View images from the exhibition at our Image gallery


    The manuscript

    Les Miserables manuscript

    One of the most notable exhibits in the Victor Hugo:  Les Misérables –From Page to Stage exhibition is Hugo's original manuscript of Les Misérables.

    See this interactive introduction to the manuscript featuring commentary from associate curator Anais Lellouche.


    State Government of Victoria

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