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Quotes About (Clickable):


Inspirational Quotes by Victor Hugo about Life, Love & Society

Comte Stanisław Julian Ostroróg dit Walery (1830-1890). (Public Domain – US)


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Victor Hugo Quotes on Knowledge


“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

– Victor Hugo



“Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection.”

– Victor Hugo



“Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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Victor Hugo Quotes on Life

Victor Hugo Quotes on Life

Hugo jeune par Devéria (1829)

 

“I will be Chateaubriand or nothing.”

– Victor Hugo, Written at the age of 15 in one of his notebooks (c. 1817)


“Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket.”

– Victor Hugo, The Huntchback of Notre Dame


“The need of the immaterial is the most deeply rooted of all needs. One must have bread; but before bread, one must have the ideal.”

– Victor Hugo, Les fleurs (ca. 1860 – 1865), from Oeuvres complètes (1909)


“You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.”

– Victor Hugo, Villemain (1845)


“To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.”

– Victor Hugo, Ninety-Three (1874)


“In proportion as I advance in life, I grow more simple, and I become more and more patriotic for humanity.”

– Victor Hugo


“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“It is man’s consolation that the future is to be a sunrise instead of a sunset.”

– Victor Hugo


“When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.”

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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Victor Hugo Quotes on Love

Victor Hugo Quotes on Love

Victor Hugo Among the Rocks on Jersey (1853-55), photograph taken by son Charles Hugo

 

“What Is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul”

– Victor Hugo


“Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.”

– Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame


“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.”

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“Love has no middle term; either it destroys, or it saves. All human destiny is this dilemma. This dilemma, destruction or salvation, no fate proposes more inexorably than love. Love is life, if it is not death. Cradle; coffin, too. The same sentiment says yes and no in the human heart. Of all the things God has made, the human heart is the one that sheds most light, and alas! most night.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Miserables


“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved — loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

– Victor Hugo


“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. & great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. & even loved in spite of ourselves.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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Victor Hugo Quotes on Society

Victor Hugo Quotes about humanity & society

Hugo le “Justicier” (1878) Caricature de Victor Hugo par Alfred Lepetit.

 

“I represent a party which does not yet exist: the party Revolution-Civilization. This party will make the twentieth century. There will issue from it first the United States of Europe, then the United States of the World.”

– Victor Hugo, Océan – Tas de pierres (1942)


“You insist on the example [of the death penalty]. Why? For what it teaches. What do you want to teach with your example? That thou shalt not kill. And how do you teach thou shalt not kill? By killing.”

– Victor Hugo, An argument against the death penalty, Assemblée Constituante, Paris


“A day will come when there will be no battlefields, but markets opening to commerce and minds opening to ideas. A day will come when the bullets and bombs are replaced by votes, by universal suffrage, by the venerable arbitration of a great supreme senate which will be to Europe what Parliament is to England, the Diet to Germany, and the Legislative Assembly to France.

A day will come when a cannon will be a museum-piece, as instruments of torture are today. And we will be amazed to think that these things once existed!

A day will come when we shall see those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe, facing one another, stretching out their hands across the sea, exchanging their products, their arts, their works of genius, clearing up the globe, making deserts fruitful, ameliorating creation under the eyes of the Creator, and joining together, to reap the well-being of all, these two infinite forces, the fraternity of men and the power of God.”

Victor Hugo, Opening address, Peace Congress, Paris (21 August 1849); published in Actes et paroles – Avant l’exil (1875)


“I only take a half share in the civil war; I am willing to die, I am not willing to kill.”

– Victor Hugo, The History of a Crime


“There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“You are right, sir, when you tell me that Les Misérables is written for all nations. I do not know whether it will be read by all, but I wrote it for all. It is addressed to England as well as to Spain, to Italy as well as to France, to Germany as well as to Ireland, to Republics which have slaves as well as to Empires which have serfs. Social problems overstep frontiers. The sores of the human race, those great sores which cover the globe, do not halt at the red or blue lines traced upon the map. In every place where man is ignorant and despairing, in every place where woman is sold for bread, wherever the child suffers for lack of the book which should instruct him and of the hearth which should warm him, the book of Les Misérables knocks at the door and says: “Open to me, I come for you.”

– Victor Hugo


“Whether we be Italians or Frenchmen, misery concerns us all. Ever since history has been written, ever since philosophy has meditated, misery has been the garment of the human race; the moment has at length arrived for tearing off that rag, and for replacing, upon the naked limbs of the Man-People, the sinister fragment of the past with the grand purple robe of the dawn.”

– Victor Hugo


“One withstands the invasion of armies; one does not withstand the invasion of ideas.”

– Victor Hugo, The History of a Crime

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Victor Hugo Quotes on Truth

Victor Hugo Quotes about Truth

Victor Hugo reading on front of a stone wall, 1853 (?), by Auguste Vacquerie (1819-1895), Musée d’Orsay, Paris

“Philosophy is the microscope of thought. Everything desires to flee from it, but nothing escapes it.”

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“Homer is one of the men of genius who solve that fine problem of art — the finest of all, perhaps — truly to depict humanity by the enlargement of man: that is, to generate the real in the ideal.”

– Victor Hugo


“This book, Les Misérables, is no less your mirror than ours. Certain men, certain castes, rise in revolt against this book, — I understand that. Mirrors, those revealers of the truth, are hated; that does not prevent them from being of use. As for myself, I have written for all, with a profound love for my own country, but without being engrossed by France more than by any other nation. In proportion as I advance in life, I grow more simple, and I become more and more patriotic for humanity.”

– Victor Hugo


“Diamonds are found only in the dark bowels of the earth; truths are found only in the depths of thought. It seemed to him that after descending into those depths after long groping in the blackest of this darkness, he had at last found one of these diamonds, one of these truths, and that he held it in his hand; and it blinded him to look at it. (pg. 231)”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“…Can human nature be so entirely transformed inside and out? Can man, created by God, be made wicked by man? Can a soul be so completely changed by its destiny, and turn evil when its fate is evil? Can the heart become distorted, contract incurable deformities and incurable infirmities, under the pressure of disproportionate grief, like the spinal column under a low ceiling? Is there not in every human soul a primitive spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world and immortal in the next, which can be developed by goodness, kindled, lit up, and made to radiate, and which evil can never entirely extinguish.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“In short, I am doing what I can, I suffer with the same universal suffering, and I try to assuage it, I possess only the puny forces of a man, and I cry to all: “Help me!”

– Victor Hugo

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