Victor Hugo

Victor
Hugo
1802
1885

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

Author Quotes

To reform a man you must begin with his grandmother.

Unity begetting complexity — that is the law of laws.

We may remark in passing that to be blind and beloved may, in this world where nothing is perfect, be among the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness.

What is done is but little by the side of what remains to be done. To destroy is the task: to build is the work. Progress demolishes with the left hand; it is with the right hand that it builds. The left hand of Progress is called Force; the right hand is called Mind.

When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide.

Whether this young girl was a human being, a fairy, or an angel, is what Gringoire, sceptical philosopher and ironical poet that he was, could not decide at the first moment, so fascinated was he by this dazzling vision. She was not tall, though she seemed so, so boldly did her slender form dart about. She was swarthy of complexion, but one divined that, by day, her skin must possess that beautiful golden tone of the Andalusians and the Roman women. Her little foot, too, was Andalusian, for it was both pinched and at ease in its graceful shoe. She danced, she turned, she whirled rapidly about on an old Persian rug, spread negligently under her feet; and each time that her radiant face passed before you, as she whirled, her great black eyes darted a flash of lightning at you.

Work is the law of life, and to reject it as boredom is to submit to it as torment.

Youth is the future smiling at a stranger, which is itself. It is always at its risk that Utopia takes the form of Insurrection, substituting armed for reasoned protest, transforming Minerva into Pallas.

To die is nothing, but it is terrible not to live.

To rescue from oblivion even a fragment of a language which men have used and which is in danger of being lost --that is to say, one of the elements, whether good or bad, which have shaped and complicated civilization --is to extend the scope of social observation and to serve civilization.

Vast horizons lead the soul to general ideas; circumscribed horizons engender one-sided ideas.... General ideas are hated by one-sided minds: such is the struggle for progress.

We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.

What is grace? It is the inspiration from on high: it is love; it is liberty. Grace is the spirit of law. This discovery of the spirit of law belongs to Saint Paul; and what he calls "grace" from a heavenly point of view, we, from an earthly point, call "rigtheousness."

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.

Whether true or false, what is said about men often has as much influence on their lives, and particularly on their destinies, as what they do.

Work, which makes a man free, and thought, which makes him worthy of freedom.

You've got to dance like nobody's watching and love like it's never going to hurt.

Those men to whom their gray hairs are a constant warning, and whose time is growing short, have tasks to finish, testaments of the mind, so to speak. They may be suddenly interrupted by the coming of the end, and they have not a day to lose; hence arises the stern necessity of retirement and solitude. Man has duties to fulfill toward his thoughts.

To force an obstacle into service is a great stride towards triumph.

To rise at six, to sleep at ten, to sup at ten, to dine at six, make a man live for ten times ten. [Inscription in Hugo's dining room]

Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.

We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.

What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.

When liberty returns, I will return.

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.

Author Picture
First Name
Victor
Last Name
Hugo
Birth Date
1802
Death Date
1885
Bio

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