Le Roi s'amuse (The King Amuses Himself)
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Artist: Victor Marie Hugo (1802 - 1885)
Confronting Bodies: Prime Minister Mr. Guizot
Dates of Action: 1832
Location: Paris, France
Description of Artwork: Le Roi s'amuse (The King Amuses Himself) 1832: Set in Renaissance France and depicting the frivolous love affairs of Francis I, while antithetically revealing the noble character of his court jester.
The 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 proclamation of the Charter of Abolition of Censorship. During the law suit, Hugo became the ardent defender 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