Péguy et Hugo: une admiration réticente
The most influential author in Péguy's life was Victor Hugo. Péguy never really reproached Hugo for the stylistic faults he was often criticized for. Only when Péguy broke with his socialist friends did he become critical of the political side of Hugo's poetry. It was not because he did non share Hugo's ideas anymore, but because he thought that political rhetoric was insincere on Hugo's part, contrary to his genius, and harmful to beauty in poetry. According to Péguy, when Hugo listens to his genius and does not politicize, he is unsurmountable. If Hugo has his limits, it is just that, not being a Christian, but a genuine pagan, there are things in the human soul he was unable to perceive. Those are the things Péguy, after Corneille or Pascal, tried to express in his late poetry.