‘Victor Hugo, the Irish ‘Misérables, and Fenian women in the nineteenth-century’
AbstractWhen W.B. Yeats first met Maud Gonne, he told her of his ambition to be an ‘Irish Victor Hugo.’ Indeed the influence of France’s greatest national poet on Yeats appears to have been profound and lasting. In his youth Yeats claims to have read Hugo’s entire works, he quotes frequently form Hugo, and he spoke of Hugo at his meeting with the French poet Paul Verlaine in Paris. While the leader of French Romanticisim no doubt very pleasingly appealed to Yeats’ literary sensibilities, his political humanism, and his somewhat outlandish spiritual beliefs, the links between France’s greatest national icon and Ireland are in fact far greater than has ever been acknowledged. This article seeks to explore Hugo’s little-acknowledged, though decisive role as a spokesperson for the Irish ‘Misérables’ during the nineteenth-century. As well as examining Hugo’s much-overlooked support for the plight of the irish, this article will move on to ...
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