Biennales Mondiales de la reliure d'Art en Vallée de Chevreuse

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Competition 2017 Thema 2017

Thema 2017

This year we return to the literature of the 19th century, with the best known French author worldwide: VICTOR HUGO.

Our concern is to offer you to try your talents on books having harmonious proportions, similar in dimension and thickness. "Les Miserables" being unfortunately to long, we have chosen, after much considering, the collection of poems:

THE ART OF BEING A GRANDFATHER

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All along his life Victor Hugo (1802-1885) has been portrayed many times. We can see the evolution of his face from the young ardent journalist to the romantic leader of the "battle" on the opening night of his play "Hernani", - to the posh Pair-of-France, - to the deputy of Paris, defending the People, - to the exile back in Paris after the Commune rebellion. That last face with the beautiful white beard, marked with sadness and solitude, is the one we retain nowadays.

He has lost his wife, his eldest son and daughter–in–law. Three other sons leave him, his daughter Adèle runs away. Remain only Juliette, mistress/friend for over 50 years and two grandchildren, Jeanne and Georges, orphans of his son. He will devote himself entirely to their education, while composing "The Art of being a Grandfather", a collection of poems published in 1875. The blazing author, guide of the revolutionary crowds of the Commune, assumes now the role of tutor of two very young children. He takes this role very seriously and applies in his educational methods the concepts of social progress he proposed in his novels: a child is not a little animal that one may abandon to servants or on the threshold of a church. One has the duty to instruct it and develop its empathy for the poor wretchs. He draws the intention of society to childhood and its problems, which is totally original.

We may say that "The Art of being a Grandfather" holds the essentials of Victor Hugo's philosophy.