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My Beloved Toto

Letters from Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo 1833-1882

Juliette Drouet, Evelyn Blewer, Victoria Tietze Larson

Publication Year: 2005

My Beloved Toto, a collection of letters written by Juliette Drouet to her lover, Victor Hugo, tells the story of a life and of the great love affair that shaped it. From 1833 until her death half a century later, Drouet wrote to Hugo twice daily on average, resulting in thousands of letters. The 186 translated here—most appearing in English for the first time—offer insights into nineteenth-century French culture as well as an insider’s look at the character, behavior, working habits, and day-to-day life of France’s most monumental man of letters.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface to the French Edition

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pp. ix-xiv

The trite version of Juliette Drouet’s relationship with Victor Hugo endlessly rehashed by pseudohistorical and simplistic biographies is, alas, only too familiar to us. She called him “my Toto.” Every day, and often two or three times, she wrote four pages to him in her cook’s handwriting to tell him that she loved him. ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-44

On 22 November 1835 Juliette Drouet, aged twenty-nine, wrote to Victor Hugo, renowned poet, novelist, and dramatist, and her lover of two years: “It’s my love that will make me immortal. When I am dead, I will love you still. My body and my life will be used up before one single particle of my love disappears” (MUL, 77).1 ...

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1830s

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pp. 45-80

I have come back home very sad and discouraged with everything. I’m suffering, I’m weeping, I’m lamenting loudly and softly—to God, to you—and I would like to die once and for all, to be finished with all the misery, all the disappointments, all the pains. It’s as though my happiness has vanished with the fine days, ...

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1840s

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pp. 81-116

I’m dismayed, my beloved, by the daguerreotype taken of me! I’m demoralized, seriously, for it’s not that it hurts my pride in my appearance or still less my self-respect, but it kills my confidence in your love. I’m aching and sick, I would like to die. If I didn’t have my poor daughter, I think I’d hasten the moment, such is my ...

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1850s

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pp. 117-162

When I think about that wonderful speech, so religious, so noble, so devout, and so conciliatory that you delivered yesterday at the risk of your health, and when I think of the stupid uproar it provoked, of the inept and violent heckling it aroused, I have not enough hatred, contempt, or disgust for politics.1 ...

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1860s

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pp. 163-196

Did you sleep well, my dear little man? Your little Cosette didn’t make too much noise in your head during the night?1 I didn’t actually dream about her, but I think about her all the time with thrills of tenderness and joy, as though waiting for a real little girl from whom we’ve been unwillingly separated for twelve years. ...

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1870s

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pp. 197-210

Whatever you decide and whatever you do, my dear beloved, I’m with you, heart, body, and soul. So don’t hesitate to make and unmake plans until you find one you like and can put into action.1 But above all, no separation, not even for a second, whatever happens! Happiness or unhappiness or death must find us inseparable. ...

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1880s

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pp. 211-216

“Double restitus,” is all I have to say to you! Tremble! My pitiless love won’t spare you a single scribble or a single tenderness! Too bad! That’ll teach you to make yourself too much loved! You were too sleepy just now for me to dare to ask you how you slept; but if your experience was anything like mine, you slept like a log. ...

Glossary

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pp. 217-228

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Note on the French Edition

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pp. 229-230

The text that we present here has been established directly from the original letters in the handwriting of Juliette Drouet. Certain of these letters have been published partially or completely in the past; almost a hundred are, to our knowledge, completely unpublished. With virtually only one exception, we have in every instance ...

List of Sources

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pp. 231-232

Works Cited

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pp. 233-236

Index

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pp. 237-245


E-ISBN-13: 9780791482711
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791465714
Print-ISBN-10: 0791465713

Page Count: 262
Illustrations: 3 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: SUNY series, Women Writers in Translation
Series Editor Byline: Marilyn Gaddis Rose

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Authors, French -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
  • Actors -- France -- Correspondence.
  • Hugo, Victor, 1802-1885 -- Correspondence.
  • Drouet, Juliette, 1806-1883 -- Correspondence.
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