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Literary and Philosophical Quotes -- Poets and Dreamers -- Victor Hugo


Quotes by Victor Hugo

54 Existential Essentials, for the Individual Mind!

Victor Hugo, 1802-1885. French writer who went into exile after Napoleon III seized power (1851), returning to France in 1870. His novels include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862), The Last Day of a Condemned Man, The Man Who Laughs.

  • We may remark in passing that to be blind and beloved may, in this world where nothing is perfect, be among the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness. . . . The supreme happiness in life is the assurance of being loved; of being loved for oneself, even in spite of oneself; and this assurance the blind man possesses. In his affliction, to be served is to be caressed. Does he lack anything? no. Possessing love he is not deprived of light. A love, moreover, that is wholly pure. There can be no blindness where there is this certainty.
  • Despots play their part in the works of thinkers. Fettered words are terrible words. The writer doubles and trebles the power of his writing when a ruler imposes silence on the people. Something emerges from that enforced silence, a mysterious fullness which filters through and becomes steely in the thought. Repression in history leads to conciseness in the historian, and the rocklike hardness of much celebrated prose is due to the tempering of the tyrant.
  • It is the essence of truth that it is never excessive. Why should it exaggerate? There is that which should be destroyed and that which should be simply illuminated and studied. How great is the force of benevolent and searching examination! We must not resort to the flame where only light is required.
  • France is a people of the same quality as Greece and Italy. She is Athenian in beauty and Roman in grandeur. Moreover, she is generous. She gives herself. More often than other peoples, she knows the mood of devotion and sacrifice. But it is a mood that comes and goes; and this is the great danger for those who seek to run when she is content to walk, and to walk when she wishes to stay still. France has her relapses into materialism, and at certain moments the ideas which obstruct the working of her splendid mind contain nothing that recalls her greatness but are rather of the dimensions of Missouri or some other southern state. What can be done about it? The giantess plays the dwarf; great France has her fantasies of smallness. That is all.
  • There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling.
  • Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.
  • More Quotes by Victor Hugo: Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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