Les Miserables, one of the most famous novels in the world was written by Victor Hugo at a dark time in his life.
He double-locked himself in his home
Victor Hugo was just 60 years old when he published “Les Miserables” in 1862. The writer is already immensely famous. He is the author of “Ruy Bas” and “Notre-Dame de Paris”. He was among the youngest elected to the French Academy… Everything is successful for him and yet… On July 5, 1845, a Parisian police commissioner, accompanied by an angry husband, knocked on the bedroom of an apartment on rue Saint-Roch, a stone’s throw from place Vendôme. Inside, Victor Hugo and his good friend Léonie Biard frolic. Flagrant adultery. At the time, we didn’t trifle with such things : Léonie was imprisoned. Victor Hugo, protected by his immunity as a peer of France, escapes prison. But to avoid opprobrium, he double-locked himself in his home, Place Royale (now Place des Vosges). And as it is necessary to occupy its days, it launches out in a novel. His title ? Jean Trejean. Later renamed Les Misères.
He finished writing Les Misérables in Belgium
Inhabited by the social question for a long time, Hugo calls on his former visits to prisons, prisons, factories, cities like Montfermeil, meetings with workers, to write as close as possible to reality, to misery. But when he had written three quarters of the story, the revolution of 1848 occurred, Hugo stopped everything to devote himself to politics. Elected to the National Assembly, he makes great speeches on the proletariat, the freedom of the press, education… which he will later decline in his novel. In 1851, Bonaparte’s coup forced Hugo into exile. In Brussels, then in Jersey and Guernsey. There, he picks up his manuscript. He finished writing “Les Misérables” in Belgium, in Mont-Saint-Jean, in a hotel room with a view of the lion of Waterloo. The book, published by a Belgian publisher, quickly became a huge popular success.