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Victor Hugo Quotes on Society & Civilization (13 Quotes)


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  • Common right is nought but the protection of all radiating over the right of each. This protection of all is termed Fraternity. The point of intersection of all these aggregated sovereignties is called Society. This intersection being a junction, this point is a knot. Hence comes what is called the social tie.
    (Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables")

  • Equality, citizens, is not the whole of society on a level, a society of tall blades of grass and small oaks, or a number of entangled jealousies. It is, legally speaking, every aptitude having the same opportunity for a career; politically all consciences having the same right. Equality has an organ, gratuitous and compulsory education. We must begin with the right to the alphabet.
    (Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables")

  • Suffering engenders passion; and while the prosperous blind themselves, or go to sleep, the hatred of the unfortunate classes kindles its torch at some sullen or ill-constituted mind, which is dreaming in a corner, and sets to work to examine society. The examination of hatred is a terrible thing.
    (Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables")

  • The quantity of civilization is measured by the quality of imagination.
    (Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables")

  • The greatest products of architecture are less the works of individuals than of society; rather the offspring of a nation's effort, than the inspired flash of a man of genius...
    (Victor Hugo, "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame")


  • If it were (Is it not) outrageous that society should treat with such rigid precision those of its members who were most poorly endowed in the distribution or wealth that chance had made, and who were, therefore, most worthy of indulgence.
    (Victor Hugo)

  • Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.
    (Victor Hugo)

  • 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.
    (Victor Hugo)

  • Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.
    (Victor Hugo)

  • Society is a republic. When an individual tries to lift themselves above others, they are dragged down by the mass, either by ridicule or slander.
    (Victor Hugo)

  • Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.
    (Victor Hugo)

  • Such is the remorseless progression of human society, shedding lives and souls as it goes on its way. It is an ocean into which men sink who have been cast out by the law and consigned, with help most cruelly withheld, to moral death. The sea is the pitiless social darkness into which the penal system casts those it has condemned, an unfathomable waste of misery. The human soul, lost in those depths, may become a corpse. Who shall revive it
    (Victor Hugo)

  • 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.
    (Victor Hugo)


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