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Title: The representation of evil in the late novels of Victor Hugo
Author: Mines, Patricia Kathleen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3410 5474
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1993
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Evil in Hugo’s later novels has rarely been examined. This subject is clearly incompatible with the received image of Hugo(based on earlier works such as Les Misérables) as a prophet of optimism and progress. This thesis will demonstrate that it is reasonable that Hugo should have expressed negative thoughts in the novels that he wrote in the 1860s and 1870s, since contemporary Western writers were also producing pessimistic works. Attention will be drawn to the personal anxieties and disappointments which only served to intensify Hugo’s experience of the universal fin de siècle malaise. The thesis will posit that the universe of Hugo’s later novels is much darker than that which is delineated in his earlier novels. Hugo’s renewed interest in the works of de Sade indicates his increasingly pessimistic perception of human nature (Introduction). The representation of benevolent motherhood that is found in the earlier novels has been supplanted by the depiction of vampiric female monsters in their successors (Chapter 1). The later novels do not focus on positive creation and the movement towards progress, but on negative metamorphosis that is often rapid and invariably irrevocable (Chapter 2). Justice can be seen to be done in the earlier novels because evildoers are eradicated, but in their successors villains prosper whilst the innocent are treated harshly (Chapter 3). In Hugo’s earlier novels, laughter and dreaming are depicted negatively but their sinister nature has become much more profound in their successors (Chapter A). Disdain for human existence is most vividly suggested by ravenous mouths which seek to ingest mankind into the foul chaos they contain and this chaos is predominantly feminine (Chapter 5). Whilst the thesis would not deny Hugo’s belief in God, it will assert that in his later novels Hugo portrays a universe in which the forces of darkness are extremely powerful (Conclusion).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures