Name: Hugo, Le Roi s'amuse

Date:  1800 - 1850

Location:  Europe

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Victor Marie Hugo

Confronting Bodies: Prime Minister Mr. Guizot

Date of Action: 1832

Specific Location: France, Paris

Description of Artwork: "Le Roi s'amuse" 1832: Set in Renaissance France and depicting the frivolous love affairs of Francis i, while antithetically revealing the noble character of his court jester.

Description of Incident:  Le Roi s'amuse was prohibited after the first performance, by order of the Prime Minister, Guizot, for derogatory allusions to the King Louis-Philippe.

Results of Incident: The ban occured only two years after the the proclamation of the Charte of Abolition of Censorship. During the law suit, Hugo became the ardent defensor of freedom of expression and fought the first public battle against censorship. In a spectacular address to the court he denounced the abusive power of authorties to "confiscate freedom." The ban was lifted 50 years later and the play was produced under the supervision of the author.

Source: Censures, Editions Centre G. Pompidou, Paris, 1987

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