The first English biography of the literary behemoth in over 20 years, in these troubles times of ours Critical Lives: Victor Hugo is the antidote we never knew we craved. Comprehensive, refreshingly accessible – and concise! – Stephens’s pocket-size monograph draws a fascinating portrait both of the private man wrestling with family tragedy and the public figure navigating a society rocked by political turmoil. From the fall of Napoleon to the rise of the Third republic, France’s seemingly unending cycle of collapse and renewal roused his imagination and shaped his ideals, which he funnelled through his writing.

A force of nature, Hugo achieved immense success as a poet, dramatist and novelist, all the while holding seats as an elected member of both houses of Parliament and lending his voice to the oppressed. Defying the Second Empire in exile, the rebrand became – and remains to this day – synonymous with social justice and freedom. Essential reading in a post-truth era!

Published by Reaktion Books

From France Today magazine

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