Victor Hugo


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

Author Quotes

The bourgeois in their Sunday clothes, who passed by the elephant of the Bastille, often said, eyeing it scornfully with their bulging eyes, What's the use of that? Its use was to save from the cold, the frost, the hail, the rain, to protect from the wintry wind, to spare from sleeping in the mud, which breeds fever and from sleeping in the snow, which breeds death, a little being with no father or mother, with no bread, no clothing, no sanctuary. Its use was to receive the innocent whom society repelled....This idea of Napoleon's, disdained by men, had been taken up by God. What had been merely illustrious had become august...The emperor had a dream of genius; in this titanic elephant, armed, prodigious, brandishing his trunk, bearing his tower and making the joyous and vivifying waters gush out on all sides around him, he wanted to incarnate the people. God had done a grander thing with it, he sheltered a child.

The first of temples is the heart.

The heap of oyster shells they call a library disgusts me to think of. What a lot of paper! What a lot of ink! What a lot of scribbling! Somebody has written all of that! What idiot was it who said that man is a featherless biped?

The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.

The philosophers say, 'Be moderate in your pleasures,' but I say enjoy them to the full... Moderate your pleasures — what nonsense it is! Down with the philosophers! Rapture is the true wisdom.

The stars were glittering in the heaven's dusk meadows, Far west, among those flowers of the shadows, The thin, clear crescent lustrous over her, Made Ruth raise question, looking through the bars Of heaven, with eyes half-oped, what God, what comer Unto the harvest of the eternal summer, Had flung his golden hook down on the field of stars.

The word Gothic, in the sense in which it is generally employed, is wholly unsuitable, but wholly consecrated. Hence we accept it and we adopt it, like all the rest of the world, to characterize the architecture of the second half of the Middle Ages, where the ogive is the principle which succeeds the architecture of the first period, of which the semi-circle is the father.

There are plenty who regard a wall behind which something is happening as a very curious thing.

There is no such thing as a little country. The greatness of a people is no more determined by their numbers than the greatness of a man is by his height.

The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over we realize this: that the human race has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced.

The flesh is the surface of the unknown.

The heart of a friend and the soul of a poet — the two things I love best in the world.

The mind enriches by receiving, the hart by giving.

The poet is necessarily at once poet, historian, and philosopher.

The sublimest canticle to be heard on earth is the stammering of the human soul on the lips of infancy.

The word is the Verb, and the Verb is God.

There are souls that, crablike, crawl continually toward darkness, going backward in life rather than advancing, using their experience to increase their deformity, growing continually worse, and becoming steeped more and more thoroughly in the intensifying viciousness.

There is nothing like a dream to create the future. Utopia to-day, flesh and blood tomorrow.

The cause of all this young man’s crimes was his desire to be well dressed. The first grisette who had said to him, you are handsome, had spattered a stain of darkness into his heart and had made a Cain of this Abel.

The future has become possible.

The heart, too, has its hunger.

The mind, like Nature, abhors a vacuum.

The poor poet cast his eyes about him. It was, in truth, that redoubtable Cour des Miracles, whither an honest man had never penetrated at such an hour; the magic circle where the officers of the Châtelet and the sergeants of the provostship, who ventured thither, disappeared in morsels; a city of thieves, a hideous wart on the face of Paris; a sewer, from which escaped every morning, and whither returned every night to crouch, that stream of vices, of mendicancy and vagabondage which always overflows in the streets of capitals; a monstrous hive, to which returned at nightfall, with their booty, all the drones of the social order; a lying hospital where the bohemian, the disfrocked monk, the ruined scholar, the ne'er-do-wells of all nations, Spaniards, Italians, Germans,--of all religions, Jews, Christians, Mahometans, idolaters, covered with painted sores, beggars by day, were transformed by night into brigands; an immense dressing-room, in a word, where, at that epoch, the actors of that eternal comedy, which theft, prostitution, and murder play upon the pavements of Paris, dressed and undressed.

The suicide of the soul is evil thought.

The words of a friend have such power that they can alleviate every sorrow on every occasion. Simple and tender, they constitute the one universal remedy for the sufferings of the mind.

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