Inspirational quotes to feed your soul and brighten your day.

518 Inspiring Quotes by Victor Hugo

  • Last updated Jun 28 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Victor Hugo.

Wikipedia Summary for Victor Hugo

Victor-Marie Hugo (French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo]; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. During a literary career that spanned more than sixty years, he wrote abundantly in an exceptional variety of genres: lyrics, satires, epics, philosophical poems, epigrams, novels, history, critical essays, political speeches, funeral orations, diaries, letters public and private, as well as dramas in verse and prose.

Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris), 1831. In France, Hugo is renowned for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations (The Contemplations) and La Légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages). Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement with his play Cromwell and drama Hernani. Many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime and after his death, including the musicals Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, and campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.

Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism serving in politics as both deputy and senator. His work touched upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. His opposition to absolutism and his colossal literary achievement established him as a national hero. He was honoured by interment in the Panthéon.

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Humanity is our common lot. All men are made of the same clay. There is no difference, at least here on Earth, in the fate assigned to us. We come of the same void, inhabit the same flesh, are dissolved in the same ashes. But ignorance infecting the human substance turns it black, and that incurable blackness, gaining possession of the soul, becomes Evil.


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But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.


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To rove about, musing, that is to say loitering, is, for a philosopher, a good way of spending time, especially in that kind of mock rurality, ugly but odd, and partaking of two natures, which surrounds certain large cities, particularly Paris.


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Every bird which flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow's bill breaking the egg, and it leads forward the birth of an earth-worm and the advent of Socrates.


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I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.

-Claude Frollo.


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The guillotine is the ultimate embodiment of the Law; its name is Retribution. It is not neutral and doesn't allow you to remain neutral, either. Whoever sees it quakes in their boots with the most mysterious of terrors. Every social issue hooks its question mark around this chopper. The scaffold is not the framework, the scaffold is not a machine, the scaffold is not some inert mechanism made of wood, iron, and rope.


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The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself, or better yet, loved despite oneself.


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I believe that pity is a law like justice, and that kindness is a duty like uprightness. That which is weak has a right to the kindness and pity of that which is strong. In the relations of man with the animals...there is a great ethic, scarcely perceived as yet, which will at length break through into the light, and which will be the corollary and the complement to humans ethics. Are there not here unsounded depths for the thinker? Is one to think oneself mad because one has the sentiment of universal pity in one's heart?


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Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart; I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses, as at twenty years ago.


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To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.






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Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over, this is recognised: that the human race has been harshly treated, but that it has advanced.


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Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.


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Nothing can be sadder or more profound than to see a thousand things for the first and last time. To journey is to be born and die each minute...All the elements of life are in constant flight from us, with darkness and clarity intermingled, the vision and the eclipse; we look and hasten, reaching out our hands to clutch; every happening is a bend in the road...and suddenly we have grown old. We have a sense of shock and gathering darkness; ahead is a black doorway; the life that bore us is a flagging horse, and a veiled stranger is waiting in the shadows to unharness us.


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Philosophy is the microscope of thought. Everything desires to flee from it, but nothing escapes it.


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You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. and great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. and even loved in spite of ourselves.


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