Victor Hugo


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

Author Quotes

Yes, God made man first, but there's always a rough draft before the final copy.

Those who always pray are necessary to those who never pray.

To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.

To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.

Volcanoes cast forth stones, and revolutions cast forth men.

We see that like all new converts to a religion, his conversion intoxicated him.

What is said about men often has as much influence upon their lives, and especially upon their destinies, as what they do.

When man has touched wood or stone, it is no longer wood or stone, but takes on something of man. An edifice is a dogma, a machine is an idea.

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.

This uninspired play on words had the effect of a stone thrown into a country pond...All the frogs fell silent.

This soul is full of darkness, sin committed there. The culprit is not the one who has committed the sin, but the fact is that the shade.

This man was a compound of two sentiments, simple and good in themselves, but he made them almost evil by his exaggeration of them: respect for authority and hatred of rebellion.

This is the battle between day and night... I see black light. [Last Words]

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.

They ridiculed the century, which did away with the need to understand it.

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