Victor Hugo's romantic melodrama Ruy Blas was first performed in 1838 for the opening of the Theatre de la Renaissance. There was a revival at the Odeon with Sarah Bernhardt in 1872, and at the Theatre-Francais in 1879. Victor Hugo (1802-1885) was a novelist, poet, and dramatist, and the most important of French Romantic writers. In his preface to his historical play Cromwell (1827) Hugo wrote that romanticism is the liberalism of literature. Hugo developed his own version of the historical novel, combining concrete, historical details with vivid, melodramatic, even feverish imagination. Among his best-known works are The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misirables. Victor Hugo was one of the greatest personalities of French literature. Though not without the faults and eccentricities which frequently characterize great geniuses, he never entered any field of literature without excelling in it. The novel, the lyric, the drama, criticism, all fell from his facile pen without apparent effort.