This research spotlight explores some of the highlights and themes of the Juliette Drouet letters to Victor Hugo held in Special Collections at the University of Leeds
Juliette Drouet (1806–1883) was the long term mistress of Victor Hugo (1802–1885), the French author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862).
Initially an actress, she abandoned her career to act as his 'muse' for Hugo in the mid-1830s. She travelled with him, read his works as their first critic and transcribed them for Hugo's publishers.
Drouet wrote him at least one letter per day throughout their relationship, which lasted 50 years. As a result, her 22,000 letter correspondence is one of the most voluminous in the history of literature.
Special Collections at the University of Leeds holds the largest collection of Drouet's letters to Hugo outside France. The collection contains 440 letters, partially covering the years from 1833 to 1851.