Skip to comments.Hugo was spied on by police
Posted on 09/25/2006 2:13:23 PM PDT by Kitten Festival
PARIS: Victor Hugo was a miserly money-grubber, poet Rimbaud "a monstrosity", and Verlaine "a worthless human being" - such are the verdicts on 19th-century French literary lions found in long-forgotten police files recently published in Paris.
Even more startling than the unflattering portraits, says Bruno Fuligni, an employee at the National Assembly, or French parliament, who discovered the dust-covered files and compiled them into a book, is the vigour and thoroughness with which the most revered writers of that era were spied upon by snitches and secret police.
"Beyond criminals and political figures, there are files on writers and artists. In some cases, they go quite far in their indiscretions," he said.
Some of the tidbits in Fuligni's book, entitled The Writers' Police, were collected from 1879 through 1891 under police chief Louis Andrieux who - irony of ironies - was to father one of France's most famous novelists and poets of the next generation, Louis Aragon.
As Andrieux wrote in his memoirs, "All of Paris, in the end, is on file." The notes and reports on Les Miserables author Victor Hugo, a tireless campaigner for social justice who lived in exile for two decades after castigating the self-proclaimed Emperor Louis Napoleon as a traitor, take up three voluminous boxes, Fuligni said.
The book reproduces a detailed description of how Hugo was blackmailed by a mistress after she found out that her lover was, in fact, an illustrious poet and writer.
Hugo is described in the files as "someone who exploits democracy" and as being obsessed by money, a trait borne out by others. "What is worrying is not the information itself but the way it is exploited," Fuligni says.
(Excerpt) Read more at gulf-daily-news.com ...
How many are named after Rimbaud or Verlaine? None to my knowledge. And that's probably a good thing, too.
Oh, I was hoping it was NYPD spying on Pumpkin-Head. But I guess they didn't really have to spy - he happily revealed his lunacy to the world.
I think Voltaire spent quite a few years in a French prison.
They must have a file cabinet for Henry Miller.
You mean nineteenth century French authors were decadent moral degenerates? Wow, who would have thunk it?
Next town meeting, I'm gonna ask the police chief about Jacques Derrida.