Unmasking the Bourgeoise

Young Victor's Heartfelt Love Letters

A Love Story




Real Life


Young Victor Hugo's letters to Adele were solely about love; they speak of nothing but love. In these letters, Hugo poured his heart and soul through beautiful poetic words of love to Adele. Similar to Marius' letter to Cosette in Les Miserables, Hugo's letters are the perfect example of the ideal of love. Although their relationship began in 1819, there were no earlier records of these letters. These love letters date from 1820-1822. Hugo's letters survived but Adele's correspondent letters were all destroyed because Victor feared that the bourgeois society will doubt Adele's virtuosity. While writing these letters to his young lover, Hugo's success in the literary world was blooming. However, never do his letters speak to her of his writings, of his literary successes, or of his growing celebrity. If he makes allusions to his writings, it is only to repeat that all is for her sake; that all is hers; and that she was his inspiration.


Translation to Hugo's letter, March 20, 1820.

…Whatever may happen, accept my inviolable promises to have no other wife but you, and to become your husband as soon as it may be my power. Burn all my other letters, but keep this one. They may be part of us, but I am thine-thine for eternity. I am thine-thine property, thine slave. Do not forget that. You may always make use of me as if I were a thing and not a person. Wherever I may be, near or far, write to me and tell me what I am to do for you. I will obey you or die.
This is what I want to say to you before I cease to see you, that you may at all times point out the way in which you think I can serve you, if you think proper to keep any relations with me. Yes, my Adele, I foresee I must soon give up all meetings with you. Encourage me al little…
I am constantly engaged in bitter reflections. Since you have loved me you have learned to think yourself less estimable (that was your own word), and I from day to day since I loved you, find myself growing better. It is because, dear Adele, I owe everything to you. It is the wish to make myself worthy of you which makes me conscious of my faults. I owe everything to you. I love to repeat this. If I have always kept myself free from excesses sadly too common among young men of my age, it was not because I have had no opportunities to go astray, but thoughts of you have protected me. Thanks to you, I have kept unstained the only things that I can offer you, my body pure, and an unsullied heart. Perhaps I ought not to have said all this, but you are my wife; this will prove that I have hidden nothing from you, and how great is the influence you exert, and always exert, upon your faithful husband. (Meurice,11)