(via The Octopus Bearing the Initials V. H. - 50 Watts)
“Victor Hugo, circa 1866; pen, brush, brown ink and wash on cream paper. It can be found in Shadows of a Hand: The Drawings of Victor Hugo. I plan to post more from this book soon.
Luc Sante titled his essay on Hugo—included in his book Kill All Your Darlings—after this drawing. Note that the tentacles really do form the letters V and H.
Hugo pasted this drawing into his own manuscript of Toilers of the Sea, where it corresponds to the following text:”
At night, however, and particularly in the hot season, she becomes phosphorescent. This horrible creature has her passions, she awaits her submarine nuptials. She adorns herself, setting herself alight and illuminating herself; and from the height of some rock she may be seen in the deep obscurity of the waves below, expanding with a pale aureole — a spectral sun.