i highly doubt victor hugo ever edited anything he ever wrote lmao
This answer is about to get exponentially geeky, I apologize beforehand.
If we’re talking about self-editing, he did, if you see his manuscripts, especially in Les Misérables, they’re heavily worked on, with entire paragraphs added and erased, various major changes and sometimes he even changed specific words for similar ones but not quite the same, which is fascinating to ponder on. One of my personal favorites of these is in Enjolras’s speech on “The Horizon Which One Beholds from the Summit of a Barricade” (I’m using the Hapgood translation for this response because it’s the easiest available in English for me atm). The sentence ended up being “De l'étreinte de toutes les désolations jaillit la foi” but it was originally something along the lines of “De l'étreinte de toutes les désespoirs jaillit l’espoir”, if I didn’t misread because I don’t speak French and it’s not that easy to interpret it, but it’s something like that:
Hapgood translated it as “from the embrace of all desolations faith leaps forth”. This is fascinating because why did he change it? was it just because he was bothered by the repetition? Why did he choose “faith/foi”, which has some religious-ish connotation, instead of “hope/espérer”, on that specific context, when voiced by Enjolras, of all people? (I had pondered on that before seeing the manuscript and when I came across it I was so surprised it was a change) Is it because it’s stronger? It’s more of a sentence, a certainty that way, which does go much better with Enjolras, especially in this speech (and desolation, for that matter), so is it that? he used “faith” on Enjolras before, for example when he described Grantaire, and he says he “loved to watch faith soar in Enjolras” (“aimait à voir dans Enjolras la foi planer”):
He was very mindful and precise about the stuff he kept and didn’t and that’s a very cool self-editing job that’s fascinating to me both as an editor and author, especially in a piece of work that has so many different perspectives and time lapses and levels of narrative complexity.
Now, if we’re talking about external editing, which is what my tags were about, I meant it in its most general definition, editing is turning an original into a publication, I was referring to the people who had to help turn that monster of a manuscript into a printed edition for the very first time ever. Those were true heroes istg, because they had to make sense out of stuff like:
[Disclaimer: I am as far from a Hugo expert or Les Mis expert as you can get, I don’t have the authority to really go in depth with any of this, I’m just talking from my personal perspective as an editor, writer and fan and thought I’d share what I meant and expand].