“I have power by virtue of chance; I must be employed in doing good. Progress and Liberty!” Such were the words which came of the mouth of the Emperor of Brazil on meeting the 1800s’ most venerable author, Victor Hugo.
“The city of to-day is a dying thing because it is not geometrical. To build in the open would be to replace our present haphazard arrangements, which are all we have to-day, by a uniform layout. Unless we do this there is no salvation. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition. The result of repetition is a standard, the perfect form.”
Mysteries of the People, Mysteries of the World: Eugene Sue’s Anti- Medievalism and the Revolutions of 1848
When Napoleon the Third came to power, shipments of Mysteres du Peuple were seized and booksellers were prevented from selling them. Many French politicians and writers were forced into exile as a result of the coup; one such exile was Eugene Sue.
Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Branding Needle” and the First French Commune | Stephen Basdeo
To reign! the ambition of great souls! To reign like the Emperors of Rome! I wish to emulate them in all their sovereign omnipotence!
Fans of outlaw stories, if they were ever able to time travel, might travel back to the 1820s and 1830s when Victor Hugo’s outlaw drama premiered.
After Victor Hugo’s death, and before the publication of his letters (many of which remain unpublished), Paul Maurice published Memoirs of Victor Hugo. This was not chronological autobiography but was, as Maurice remarked, […]
The effects of that glorious revolution which gave so vast an impulse to the energies and intelligence of the French, have been subsequently felt by all the other nations of Europe; and while Burke aimed his thunders against those principles which restored a desponding people to freedom, light, and happiness…
The fact is, that America is better understood by Europeans than by its own citizens. While she is occupied in self-contemplation and self-admiration—a state of quiescent beatitude originated by amour-propre—we are in a situation which enables us to judge of her with impartiality and calmness.
After Victor Hugo’s death, and before the publication of his letters (many of which remain unpublished), Paul Maurice published Memoirs of Victor Hugo. This was not chronological autobiography but was, as Maurice […]
Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Poniard’s Hilt” and the Arrival of Feudalism in France | Stephen Basdeo
By Stephen Basdeo, a writer and historian based in Leeds, United Kingdom. This article follows on from previous posts on Eugene Sue’s epic socialist novel Mysteries of the People. In 1848 Karl […]
‘Lines Written on a Ball at the Hotel-de-Ville was written by Victor Hugo in 1833 and published in Les Chants du Crepuscule (1835). It was then translated by George W.M. Reynolds and published in Songs of Twilight (1836).
In this book, therefore—small though it be when compared with the vast magnitude of its subject—there are a thousand discrepancies—lustre and obscurity, which pervade all we see, and all we conceive in this age of twilight, which envelope our political theories, our religious opinions, our domestic life, and which are even discovered in the histories we write of others, as well as in those of ourselves.
‘Bridal Festivity’ was written by Victor Hugo in August 1832 and published in his Chants des Crepuscules. The poem itself takes a somewhat dark turn towards the end, as readers will see. Perhaps this was an allegory on the dangers that awaited the French ruling classes
“He appeared to me to be a West Indian, born of European parents; for his complexion is darker than even that of a Spaniard, and his hair black as jet. His face was at that time singularly handsome.”
There are many kinds of monarchy but there is only one kind of republic. It is the government where every one contributes to the social burdens, and has a right to share in the social advantages.
George W. M. Reynolds spent his teenage years and early twenties in France and was a great admirer of the country’s history and culture which is celebrated in this poem.
In the present age, everything, whether ideal or fact, whether connected with society in general, or with a single individual—everything is in a state of twilight. But of what species is that twilight? Oh! who shall solve so profound a mystery—the most sublime of all those that are agitated during times of doubt and uncertainty?
It was to me, strange and unaccountable as it may seem, as if I abhorred Neroweg by reason of the future as much as of the present; as if that hatred was to perpetuate itself not only between our two races of Franks and Gauls, but also between our families, individually.
This poem ‘Hymn’ was written by Victor Hugo and celebrates the heroes of the French Revolution of 1830. The poem was translated by G.W.M. Reynolds and published in the Monthly Magazine.
This poem ‘The Genius of France’ was written by Victor Hugo and translated by G.W.M. Reynolds and published in the Monthly Magazine. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo in 2021.
This poem titled ‘The Last of the Queens and the Kings’ was originally written in the 1830s French by Armand Carrell and later translated into English and published in Red Republican in 1850. It has now been republished in Reynolds’s News and Miscellany.
The notary sank upon a chair, gazed wildly at that brother whom he had never wished to encounter more, and in whose presence he so singularly and unexpectedly found himself: Alfred de Moirot crossed his arms on his breast, and returned the timid glance of the notary with one of scorn, indignation, and reproach. The Baroness and de Montville exchanged looks of mingled satisfaction and anxiety.
“The days were passed in amusements of all kinds—the evenings in dancing, fétes champétres, or with music and cards. There were barges upon the canals, beautifully fitted up for the use of the visitors who were fond of water-excursions; hounds and huntsmen for the chase; and shooting apparatus for the sportsman. The ponds were filled with an abundance of fine fish; and many sought a recreation in, to me, the cruel art of angling. Thus was time whiled away on the wings of pleasure; and ennui was banished from those halls of delight.
Whilst he was dying in May 1885, Paris was but the first mourner for all France; and the magnificent funeral pageant which conducted the pauper’s coffin, antithetically enshrining the remains considered worthy of the highest possible reverence and honours from the Champs Elysées to the Panthéon, was the more memorable from all that was foremost in French art and letters having marched in the train, and laid a leaf or flower in the tomb of the protégé Chateaubriand, the brother-in-arms of Dumas, the inspirer of Mars, Dorval, Lemaitre, Rachel, and Bernhardt, and, above all, the Nemesis of the Third Empire.