Victor Hugo was born in Besançon in 1802, the youngest of three sons of an officer, who took his family with him from posting to posting, as far as Italy and Spain. Victor’s prolific literary career began with publication of poems, a novel and a drama, Cromwell, the preface of which remains a major manifesto of French Romanticism. The riot occasioned at the first performance of his drama Hernani (1830) established him as a leading figure among the Romantics, and Notre-Dame (1831) added to his prestige at home and abroad. In exile in Brussels, Jersey and Guernsey he published some of his finest works. Only with Napoleon 111’s defeat and replacement by the Third Republic did Hugo return, to be elected deputy, and later senator. His opposition to tyranny and continuing immense literary output established him as a national hero. When he died in 1885 he was honoured by interment in the Panthéon.