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 period.
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.