Esteemed in France as the leading writer of Romantic dramas,
Victor Hugo created a body of work that revolutionized the dramatic
canon of his time. In this book, Albert W. Halsall presents the
first complete treatment in English of Hugo''s plays.
This valuable synthesis offers a history, plot summary, and
detailed analysis of all the dramas, from Cromwel and Torquemada to
the juvenilia and the epic melodrama Les Burgraves. Particular
attention is given to Hugo''s practical experiments in staging his
own plays, which he nearly always directed himself in the 1830s.
Also documented are the receptions accorded to Hugo''s dramas, from
the battle that greeted Hernani in 1830 to Richard Eyre''s 1996
production of Le Roi s''amuse at London''s Royal National Theatre,
which pointed to the sexual high jinks among the royals of the
By showing how Hugo''s practice is situated in the history of
the French theatre and the neo-classical genres of comedy and
tragedy, Halsall produces a clear, generic definition of the
Romantic drama. His study is a thoroughly researched and
comprehensive analysis of Hugo''s dramatic works.