Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” Quotes (191 Quotes)



    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.


    His tavern sign bore witness to his feats of arms. He had painted it himself, being a Jack-of-all-trades who did everything badly.

    It's not enough to abolish abuse; custom must also be transformed. The mill was pulled down, but the wind still blows.


    Marius and Cosette did not ask where this would lead them. They looked at themselves as arrived. It is a strange pretension for men to ask that love should lead them somewhere.



    The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.

    There is will in the thought, there is none in the dream. The dream, which is completely spontaneous, takes and keeps, even in the gigantic and the ideal, the form of our mind. Nothing springs more directly and more sincerely from the very bottom of our souls than our unreflected and indefinite aspirations towards the splendours of destiny.

    We may remain more or less open-minded on the subject of the death penalty, indisposed to commit ourselves, so long as we have not seen a guillotine with our own eyes.

    You who are Prejudice, Abuse, Ignominy, Oppression, Iniquity, Despotism, Injustice, Fanaticism, beware of the wide-eyed urchin. He will grow up.



    Great griefs exhaust. They discourage us with life. The man into whom they enter feels something taken from him. In youth, their visit is sad; later on, it is ominous.

    His universal compassion was due less to natural instinct, than to a profound conviction, a sum of thoughts that in the course of living had filtered through to his heart: for in the nature of man, as in rock, there may be channels hollowed by the dropping of water, and these can never be destroyed.


    Marius and Cosette were in the dark in regard to each other. They did not speak, they did not bow, they were not acquainted; they saw each other; and, like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.


    That men saw his mask, but the bishop saw his face. That men saw his life, but the bishop saw his conscience.

    The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.

    These are dark radiances. They have no suspicion that they are to be pitied. Certainly they are so. He who does not weep does not see. They are to be admired and pitied, as one would both pity and admire a being at once night and day, without eyes beneath his lashes but with a star on his brow.



    All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.




    Jean Prouvaire was timid only in repose. Once excited, he burst forth, a sort of mirth accentuated his enthusiasm, and he was at once both laughing and lyric.



    The barber in his shop, warmed by a good stove, was shaving a customer and casting from time to time a look towards this enemy, this frozen and brazen gamin, who had both hands in his pockets, but his wits evidently out of their sheath.



    Well, listen a moment, Monsieur Mayor; I have often been severe in my life towards others. It was just. I did right. Now if I were not severe towards myself, all I have justly done would become injustice. Should I spare myself more than others? No. What! if I should be prompt only to punish others and not myself, I should be a wretched indeed! - Javert to M. Madeleine

    An increase of tenderness always ended by boiling over and turning to indignation. He was at the point where we seek to adopt a course, and to accept what tears us apart.

    Am I not as much a doctor as they? I too have my patients; in the first place, theirs, whom they call sick; and then my own, whom I call unfortunate.


    He believed that faith gives health. He sought to counsel and calm the despairing by pointing out the Man of Resignation, and to transform the grief that contemplates the grave by showing it the grief that looks up to the stars.

    I didn't believe it could be so monstrous. It's wrong to be so absorbed in divine law as not to perceive human law. Death belongs to God alone. By what right do men tough that unknown thing?



    Revolutions spring not from accident, but from necessity. A revolution is a return from the factitious to the real. It takes place because it must.

    The book the reader has now before his eyes - from one end to the other, in its whole and in its details, whatever the omissions, the exceptions, or the faults - is the march from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from the false to the true, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from rottenness to life, from brutality to duty, from Hell to Heaven, from nothingness to God. Starting point: matter; goal: the soul. Hydra at the beginning, angel at the end.

    The reader will pardon us another little digression; foreign to the object of this book but characteristic and useful . . . .

    This Boulatruelle was a man in bad odour with the people of the neighbourhood; he was too respectful, too humble, prompt to doff his cap to everybody; he always trembled and smiled in the presence of the gendarmes, was probably in secret connection with robber-bands, said the gossips, and suspected of lying in wait in the hedge corners at nightfall. He had nothing in his favour except that he was a drunkard.

    What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion.

    Argot is nothing more nor less than a wardrobe in which language, having some bad deed to do, disguises itself. It puts on word-masks and metaphoric rags.


    Die, very good, but do not make others die. Suicides like the one which is about to take place here are sublime, but suicide is restricted, and does not allow of extension; and so soon as it affects your neighbors, suicide becomes murder.


    More Victor Hugo Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Life - Love - Soul - God - Mind - Woman - Nature - Society & Civilization - Light - Happiness - Fate & Destiny - Night - Sadness - Thought & Thinking - Facts - Infinity - Progress - Future - View All Victor Hugo Quotations

    More Victor Hugo Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Les Miserables
    - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    - The Huntchback of Notre Dame

    Related Authors


    Victor Hugo - Neale Donald Walsch - Helen Keller - George Orwell - Suze Orman - Richard Carlson - Mary Higgins Clark - Ken Follett - Horatio Alger - Charles Bukowski


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