Victor Hugo


French Author, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, one of the best-known French Romantic Writers

Author Quotes

Which do you admire, the slain or the slayer, Caesar or Brutus? Generally people are for the slayer. Hurrah for Brutus! He slew. That's virtue. Virtue, but folly too...The Brutus who slew Caesar was in love with a statue of a little boy. This statue was by the Greek sculptor Strongylion, who also designed that statue of an Amazon called the beautiful limbed, Euknemos, which Nero carried with him on his journeys. This Strongylion left nothing but two statues which put Brutus and Nero in harmony. Brutus was in love with one and Nero with the other.

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.

Those who do not weep, do not see.

To him the idea of life was not distinct from the idea of Cosette; he had decreed in his heart that he would not accept the one without the other, and he was unalterably determined to demand from anybody, no matter whom, who might wish to compel him to live, from his grandfather, from Fate, even from Hell, the restitution of his vanished Eden.

To rove about, musing, that is to say loitering, is, for a philosopher, a good way of spending time.

Was it possible that Napoleon should win the battle of Waterloo? We answer, No! Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blücher? No! Because of God! For Bonaparte to conquer at Waterloo was not the law of the nineteenth century. It was time that this vast man should fall. He had been impeached before the Infinite! He had vexed God! Waterloo was not a battle. It was the change of front of the Universe!

We shall not attempt to give the reader an idea of that tetrahedron nose-that horse-shoe mouth-that small left eye over-shadowed by a red bushy brow, while the right eye disappeared entirely under an enormous wart-of those straggling teeth with breaches here and there like the battlements of a fortress-of that horny lip, over which one of those teeth projected like the tusk of an elephant-of that forked chin-and, above all, of the expression diffused over the whole-that mixture of malice, astonishment, and melancholy. Let the reader, if he can, figure to himself this combination.

What is taught by heights is different from what is taught by depths.

When one enjoys full liberty, one must use it with the utmost moderation.

Who has not heard the deep clamors of the soul?

You ask me what forces me to speak? a strange thing; my conscience.

Those who live are those who fight.

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

To talk out loud when one is alone is as it were to have a dialogue with the divinity within.

Waterloo is a battle of the first rank won by a captain of the second.

We'll see men dress priestly eat human flesh, it is another whole scene scene

What is the invasion of kingdoms compared to the opening up of intellects?

When the attention becomes fixed, it is like a light.

Whoever harbors in his soul some secret revolt against any act whatsoever of the state, of life or of fate, borders on the riot, and as soon as it appears, begins to quiver, and feel lifted up by the whirlwind.

You can be a great genius yet understand nothing of an art which is not your own.

Thought is the work of the intellect, reverie is its self-indulgence. To substitute day-dreaming for thought is to confuse a poison with a source of nourishment.

To live is to understand. To live is to smile at the present, to look toward posterity over the wall.

To tame the natural world is the first step, and the second step is to achieve the ideal.

We are beginning to grasp the fact that although power can be contained in a boiler, mastery exists only in the brain: in other words, that it is ideas, not locomotives, that move the world.

Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.

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French Author, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, one of the best-known French Romantic Writers