Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885) is considered one of the greatest Romanticist poets. A prolific writer, he penned the classics Cromwell (1827), The Hunchback of Notre Dame of Paris (1831) and Les Miserables (1862). Hugo addressed many of the social problems of his time, such as poverty, child labor and women's condition. He was strongly opposed to the death penalty. While he was not blind to their flaws, he admired both the French Revolution and Napoleon.
Christianity animated his work. In his Preface to Cromwell, Hugo wrote:
- Lastly, this threefold poetry flows from three great sources - The Bible, Homer, Shakespeare ... The Bible before the Iliad, the Iliad before Shakespeare.
In Les Miserables, Hugo wrote (Book 5, Chapter 4):
- God is behind everything, but everything hides God.
Both Hunchback and Les Miserables have been made into movies.
Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.
From "The Hunchback of Notre Dame of Paris"
Here unfold themselves to the eye, successively and at one glance, the three deep Gothic doorways; the richly traced and sculptured band of twenty-eight royal niches; the immense central rose-window, flanked by its two lateral windows, like a priest by the deacon and subdeacon; the lofty and fragile gallery of trifoliated arches supporting a heavy platform on its slender columns; finally, the two dark and massive towers with their projecting slate roofs--harmonious parts of one magnificent whole, rising one above another in five gigantic storeys, massed yet unconfused, their innumerable details of statuary, sculpture, and carving boldly allied to the impassive grandeur of the whole.