A letter and photograph that have been signed by the legendary Victor Hugo are expecting strong attention from literary collectors in PFC Auctions' latest sale, which is currently open for bidding.
Victor Hugo is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all French writers, best known for his Hunchback of Notre-Dame and the awe-inspiring Les Miserables. He was also an accomplished poet, with Les Contemplations and La Legende des siecles among his most highly acclaimed works.
The letter at auction is written in French and dated July 30, although the year has not been included. Written in Hugo's sweeping hand, it invites his good friend and drama critic Jules Claretie to dinner, beginning "My charming and dear colleague".
Claretie was a respected literary figure, who achieved great success as a drama critic for the French newspaper Le Figaro. Following Hugo's death in 1885, he famously wrote: "No genius was more vast… Our hopes, our passions, all has been encapsulated by Victor Hugo: we have made an altar of his tomb, and the man… has become our symbol."
Accompanied by its original hand-delivered envelope, the letter is selling with a minimum bid of just £150. Signed letters from Victor Hugo normally reach figures upwards of £1,500 at auction.
Interestingly, Victor Hugo is credited with sending the shortest letter on record. In 1862, shortly after the release of Les Miserable, Hugo sent a letter simply reading "?" to his publisher, to which they responded "!", as a sign of its success. He is also credited with the longest sentence ever to appear in a novel, which features in Les Miserables and contains 823 words.
The photograph in the sale is a magnificent shot of the author, dated April 1868. Mounted on to card and signed beneath the image by Hugo, it is extremely rare to find an example such as this at auction. It is currently selling at £220.