The beauty of Victor Hugo (pt. 5)

*It’s been awhile, but I’ve been in a bit of a Les Mis kick the past few days.  I’ve diving back into this book, and I’m amazed to say I forgot how profound and beautiful Victor Hugo’s writing is. And I have to be honest, I love the book much better than the musical. (But both are breath-takingly incredible.)*

In this section of the story, Gavroche and Marius are introduced, Marius becomes friends with the ABC Cafè, and he falls in love.


It is a great thing to have a lively wit. (pg. 584)

To dare; progress comes at this price.  All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring. (pg. 592)

He was one of those children so deserving of pity above all others, who have fathers and mothers and yet are orphans. (pg. 594)

A man is not nearly a century of nothing.  Years ultimately crown a head with venerable disarray. (pg. 610)

And actually, when both are sincere and good, nothing mixes and amalgamated more easily than an old priest and an old soldier.  They are really the same kind of man.  One has devoted himself to his country on earth, the other to his country in heaven; there is no other difference. (pg. 617)

Do we always need something to condemn? (pg. 623)

What is gained by diminishing it?  We must not disown in the past anymore than in the present.  Why not want our whole history? (pg. 624)

Not seeing people permits us to imagine with every perfection. (pg. 636)

People were transformed almost without suspecting it, by the very movement of time.  The hand that sweeps around the dial also moves amount souls.  (pg. 646)

There is nothing like dogma to produce the dream.  There is nothing like dream to create the future.  Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow. (pg. 646)

A fire would cause a dawn, undoubtedly, but why not wait for the break of day?  A volcano illuminates, but the morning enlightens the day still better.  Combeferre, perhaps, preferred the pure radiance of the beautiful to the flaming glory of the sublime. (pg. 650)

Combeferre would have knelt down and clasped his hands, asking for the future to come in all its radiant purity and for nothing to disturb the immense virtuous evolution of the people. (pg. 651)

For in fact there is eternity in just causes. (pg. 653)

You cannot remove the identifying mark from a nation as you can from a handkerchief. (pg. 653)

Skepticism, the dry rot of intellect, had not left one entire idea in his mind. (pg. 657)

A skeptic adhering to a believer is as simple as the law of complementary colors.  What we lack attracts us.  Nobody loves the light like the blind man. (pg. 658)

Leaning by is a way of lying down upright that is not disliked by dreamers. (pg. 659)

Youth is the season of prompt welding and rapid healing. (pg. 662)

Conversations among comrades sometimes includes such good-natured uproar. (pg. 664)

“I desire to forget life.  Life is a hideous invention of somebody I don’t know.  It doesn’t last, and it’s good for nothing.”(pg. 665)

“Vanity has a right side and a wrong side; the right side is stupid, it is the native with his beads; the wrong side is silly, it is the philosopher with his rags.” (pg. 665)

A bigot gossiping about a devotee is more venomous than an asp and the blue viper. (pg. 665)

“Which do you admire, the slain or the slayer, Caesar or Brutus?  Generally people are for the slayer.  Hurrah for Brutus! He slew.  That’s virtue.” (pg. 666)

“The whole of history is merely one long repetition.  One century plagiarizes another.”  (pg. 666)

“Take away time is money, and what is left of England?  Take away cotton is king, and what is left of America?” (pg. 667)

There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. (pg. 683)

Old men need affection as they do sunshine.  It is warmth. (pg. 684)

As with all good hearts, suffering had taken away his bitterness. (pg. 684)

Poverty in youth, when it succeeds, is magnificent in that it turns the whole soul towards aspiration.  Poverty strips the maternal life entirely bar, and makes it hideous; from this arise inexpressible yearnings towards the ideal life. (pg. 685)

In fact, were it given to our human eye to see into the consciences of others, we would judge a man much more surely from what he dreams than from what he thinks. (pg. 693)

Nothing springs more directly and more sincerely from our innermost souls than our unreflected and indefinite aspirations towards the splendors of destiny. (pg. 693)

“And all these foolish brats have political opinions.  They ought to be strictly forbidden to have any political opinions.” (pg. 697)

Marius was in the throes of a grand passion.  One glance was enough.  When the gun is loaded, and the match is ready, nothing is simpler.  A glance is a spark.  Marius was done for.  He loved a woman.  His destiny was entering the unknown.  The glances of women are like certain seemingly peaceful but really formidable machines. (pg. 711)

Hunger comes with love. (pg. 715)

For in the sacred shadow there is latent light. (pg. 718)

Beneath society there is , we insist, and until the day when ignorance disappears, the great cavern of evil. (pg. 721)

Destroy the cave Ignorance, and you destroy the mole Crime. (pg. 721)


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