Art: Sublime Windbag

Writer, lover, national hero, Victor Hugo was also a brilliant draftsman of the unconscious

When he died in 1885 at age 83, Victor Hugo was beyond question the most famous man of letters in France, and perhaps the world--his only rival being Charles Dickens. The English put up plaques to show where their literary celebrities lived or were born, and sometimes grant them burial in Westminster Abbey. Hugo, however, is the only writer to have a stone mark his place of conception. His parents' epochal embrace took place in a forest 3,000 ft. up on the flank of Mount Donon, overlooking the Rhineland, in May 1801, though it's typical of Hugo's own mythomania that in...

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