Victor Hugo Quotes (468 Quotes)



    But that which pleases us in people who are rising pleases us less in the case of people who are falling.

    Forget not, never forget that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man.... Jean Valjean, my brother: you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!


    It is a false and dangerous situation which bases public power on private want, and roots the grandeur of the State in the suffering of the individual. It is a badly constituted grandeur which combines all the material elements, and into which no moral element enters.


    Loving is almost a substitute for thinking. Love is a burning forgetfulness of all other things. How shall we ask passion to be logical?

    Oh! would that we were lying side by side in the same grave, hand in hand, and from time to time, in the darkness, gently caressing a finger -- that would suffice for my eternity!

    So your desire is to do nothing? Well, you shall not have a week, a day, an hour, free from oppression. You shall not be able to lift anything without agony. Every passing minute will make your muscles crack. What is feather to others will be a rock to you. The simplest things will become difficult. Life will become monstrous about you. To come, to go, to breathe, will be so many terrible tasks for you. Your lungs will feel like a hundred-pound weight.

    The life of the cenobite is a human problem. When we speak of convents, those seats of error but innocence, of mistaken views but good intentions, of ignorance but devotion, of torment but martyrdom, we must nearly always say yes or no...The monastery is a renunciation. Self-sacrifice, even when misdirected, is still self-sacrifice. To assume as duty a strict error has its peculiar grandeur.



    With Cosette's garter, Homer would make the Iliad. He would put into his poem an old babbler like me, and he would call him Nestor.


    A creditor is worst than a master; for a master owns only your physical presence, whereas a creditor owns your dignity and may affront it.

    Can human nature ever be wholly and radically transformed? Can the man whom God made good be made wicked by man? Can the soul be reshaped in its entirety by destiny and made evil because destiny is evil? Can the heart become misshapen and afflicted with ugly, incurable deformities under disproportionate misfortune, like a spinal column bent beneath a too low roof?

    From a political point of view, there is but one principle, the sovereignty of man over himself. This sovereignty of myself over myself is called Liberty


    It is an error to imagine that fate can be exhausted, and that one has reached the bottom of anything whatever.

    M. Mabeuf's political opinion was a passionate fondness for plants, and a still greater one for books. He had, like everybody else, his termination in ist, without which nobody could have lived in those times, but he was neither a royalist, nor a Bonapartist, nor a chartist, nor an Orleanist, nor an anarchist; he was an old-bookist.

    One can no more keep the mind from returning to an idea than the sea from returning to a shore. For a sailor, this is called the tide; in the case of the guilty it is called remorse. God stirs up the soul as well as the ocean.



    There are, as we know, powerful and illustrious atheists. At bottom, led back to the truth by their very force, they are not absolutely sure that they are atheists; it is with them only a question of definition, and in any case, if they do not believe in God, being great minds, they prove God.

    To love or have loved is all-sufficing. We must not ask for more. No other pearl is to be found in the shadowfolds of life. To love is an accomplishment.

    Without knowing it, Javert in his awful happiness was deserving of pity, like every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could have been more poignant or more heartrending than that countenance on which was inscribed all the evil in what is good.

    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...


    Children at once accept joy and happiness with quick familiarity, being themselves naturally all happiness and joy.

    Gavroche had fallen only to rise again; he sat up, a long stream of blood rolled down his face, he raised both arms in air, looked in the direction whence the shot came, and began to sing.



    M. Myriel had to undergo the fate of every newcomer in a little town, where there are many mouths which talk, and very few heads which think.


    Success is an ugly thing. Men are deceived by its false resemblances to merit.... They confound the brilliance of the firmament with the star-shaped footprints of a duck in the mud.

    The peculiarity of sunrise is to make us laugh at all our terrors of the night, and our laugh is always proportioned to the fear we have had.


    To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.

    Woe, alas, to those who have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will rob them of everything. Try to love souls, you will find them again.


    A room where one merely goes to bed costs twenty sous but a room where one retires may cost twenty francs.

    Citizens, in the future there will be neither darkness nor thunderbolts; neither ferocious ignorance, nor bloody retaliation. As there will be no more Satan, there will be no more Michael. In the future no one will kill any one else, the earth will beam with radiance, the human race will love. The day will come, citizens, when all will be concord, harmony, light, joy and life; it will come, and it is in order that it may come that we are about to die.




    Man is not a circle with a single center; he is an ellipse with two focii. Facts are one, ideas are the other.

    Profound hearts, wise minds, take life as God makes it; it is a long trial, and unintelligible preparation for the unknown destiny.

    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.

    The poor man shuddered, overflowed with an angelic joy; he declared in his transport that this would last through life; he said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being


    We are never done with conscience. Choose your course by it, Brutus; Choose your course by it, Cato. It is bottomless, being God. We cast in to this pit the labor of our whole lives, we cast in our liberty or our country, we cast in our well-being, we cast in our repose, we cast in our happiness. More! more! more! Empty the vase! turn out the urn! We must at last cast in our heart.


    More Victor Hugo Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Life - Love - Soul - God - Mind - Woman - Nature - Society & Civilization - Light - Happiness - Fate & Destiny - Night - Sadness - Facts - Thought & Thinking - 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

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