Les Châtiments

Les Châtiments, Paris, J.Hetzel. Victor Hugo’s personal copy

  • Victor Hugo


  • 1870
  • printed on Holland paper, with full Moroccan binding with top-edge gilt, made by the bookbinder Petit, with a sunken inlay of a bee in gold thread from the Imperial Throne Room of Napoleon III in the Tuileries (throne of Napoleon I)
  • MVHP L25
  • Victor Hugo’s home, Paris

On one of the first pages of the book, Victor Hugo has written a dedication  in ink doubtless intended for Juliette Drouet, who at the time of the coup d’état by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851 had managed to save the writer's precious trunk of manuscripts. “The first copy at the feet of my guardian angel. Victor Hugo.”
Les Châtiments is a book devoted to political dissent written in verse against Napoléon III and the restoration of the Empire. The first edition was published in 1853 in two forms: an underground edition and another censored one. These two editions were banned in France until the end of the Second Empire. The complete French edition was published in 1870, just after the return of the writer from exile and the proclamation of the new Republic. This very precious work is also testimony to political commitment in the 19th century expressed through a book or a manifesto, and so through the power of words and language.

Notice's author : Marie-Laurence Marco