Victor Hugo nous fait entrer dans la tête d’un condamné à mort qui attend son exécution. On ignore qui il est, quel crime il a commis. Car l’auteur ne veut pas débattre mais montrer l’horreur et l’absurdité de la situation. Son texte a une telle puissance de suggestion que le lecteur, s’identifiant au narrateur, partage avec lui l’angoisse et les vaines espérances. Réquisitoire le plus véhément jamais prononcé contre la peine de mort, ce roman est aussi une admirable leçon d’écriture et d’humanité.
Victor Marie Hugo ( 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best-known French writers. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry and then from his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). He also produced more than 4,000 drawings, which have since been admired for their beauty, and earned widespread respect as a campaigner for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.
Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French franc banknotes.