Jehans Rose wrote:Thanks for the clarification. Hugo was a genius to give such realism to his work, he kind of reminds me of Gaston Leroux. I once read that the Phantom of the Opera was, to some extent, a true story and he had cleverly blended fiction with reality.
Which would mean that Gaston Leroux accomplished the goal he set out to achieve by writing in the style that he did. The Phantom of the Opera is a work of fiction, with enough factual elements from the time -- the fact that the basement of the Palais Garnier suffers from an unusually high level of groundwater, for example -- to make the story seem believable and confuse the reader into questioning what is fact and what is fiction. It's rather like the concept of writing historical fiction: the point is to make your setting and story believable if not necessarily true or accurate.
The realism (or supposed realism) in the writings of both Leroux and Hugo is a similarity, certainly, but the really interesting connection is with Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, where Hugo does the same as Leroux did with Phantom -- although eighty years previously -- in taking a particular setting that is so filled with accurate detail that he makes a case for the existence of a real Quasimodo who is as engrained in peoples' perception of Notre Dame as Leroux's Erik is associated with the opera house.