- History's Newsstand Blog - http://blog.rarenewspapers.com -

Victor Hugo – poetry in early 19th century Gentleman’s Magazines…

In our opinion, one of the early titles we come across, The Gentleman’s Magazine, is grossly underappreciated. This London “Reader’s Digest-sized” publication which spanned the early 18th through mid-19th centuries and was known for great reporting from throughout the world, was also pregnant with book reviews, poetry, mathematical challenges, birth and death notices, and an abundance of plates depicting everything from maps to sketches of rare animals, historical cathedrals, and notable men and women of the era. While we’ve written about this title in previous posts (view posts [1]), our attention this time around is in regards to poetry – with a question.

Whereas nearly every issue contains poetry of the period, the poets are often unknown to me, and therefore, rarely catch my eye. However, during the process of scanning The Gentleman’s magazine for July, 1833 [2] looking for content related to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, one name in the heading of a poem caught my eye: Victor Hugo. After reading the poem – and being moved, I became curious as to whether this was an early (1st???) printing – and therefore more valuable as a collectible, or if he had penned it many years prior. Unfortunately a cursory on-line investigation came up empty in regards to a validation that the poem was even written by him, let alone its original date of publication. Of course this begs the question: Can anyone attribute this to him and/or confirm its first printing? If anyone is in the know, please share your knowledge with the collectible community. Thanks in advance. AND as for the poem itself: