Now, Hernani was a play that incorporated these Romantic conventions.
Hugo suspected that neoclassical audiences would be hostile to this new form and the ideas it represented.
So to protect himself, he rounded up his friends for opening night.
And hundreds of them came to the theater that night, and Hugo writes about this arrival of the Romantics,
these wild and bizarre characters and their outlandish customs, which stupefied and infuriated the more conventional theater-goers.
So the play that night took forever to finish because it was interrupted many times and there were these debates in the audience,
between Hugo’s friends and supporters, the Romantics, and the Neoclassicists, the supporters of the old school.
Lots of interruptions! And afterward, what had been a debate inside the theater spilled out onto the street and there were fist fights.
It was a complete free-for-all, and this went on for the next 45 nights.
Every night that the play was performed,
there was this excitement and controversy that was,
was really an expression of the kinds of passions that...uh...differences of aesthetics and political opinions and taste could give rise to.