Peer of France
Woodburytype of Hugo by Ã‰tienne Carjat, 1876
|Member of the Senate
30 January 1876 â€“ 22 May 1885
|Succeeded by||Jacques Songeon|
|Member of the National Assembly
9 February 1871 â€“ 1 March 1871
|Member of the National Assembly
24 April 1848 â€“ 3 December 1851
|Member of the Chamber of Peer|
13 April 1845 â€“ 23 February 1848
|Monarch||Louis Philippe I|
|Member of the AcadÃ©mie franÃ§aise|
7 January 1841 â€“ 22 May 1885
|Preceded by||NÃ©pomucÃ¨ne Lemercier|
|Succeeded by||Leconte de Lisle|
|Born||Victor Marie Hugo
(1802-02-26)26 February 1802
BesanÃ§on, Doubs, France
|Died||22 May 1885(1885-05-22) (aged 83)
|Resting place||PanthÃ©on, Paris|
|Political party||Party of Order (1848â€“51)
Independent liberal (1871)
Republican Union (1876â€“85)
|Spouse(s)||AdÃ¨le Foucher (m. 1822; her d. 1868)|
LÃ©opold Victor Hugo
|Occupation||Writer, poet, journalist, drawer|
|Religion||Deism (baptized Catholic)|
|Genre||Novel, dramaturgy, theatre, poetry|
A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
What Shakespeare was able to do in English he would certainly not have done in French.
Reaction – a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on.
To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate.
To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.
Strange to say, the luminous world is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night.
The omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them.
When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door.
A society that admits misery, a humanity that admits war, seem to me an inferior society and a debased humanity; it is a higher society and a more elevated humanity at which I am aiming – a society without kings, a humanity without barriers.
The little people must be sacred to the big ones, and it is from the rights of the weak that the duty of the strong is comprised.
The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.
Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.
Nothing else in the world… not all the armies… is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
One of the hardest tasks is to extract continually from one’s soul an almost inexhaustible ill will.
Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.
When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
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.
It is often necessary to know how to obey a woman in order sometimes to have the right to command her.
I am a soul. I know well that what I shall render up to the grave is not myself. That which is myself will go elsewhere. Earth, thou art not my abyss!
Nature has made a pebble and a female. The lapidary makes the diamond, and the lover makes the woman.
We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.
Without vanity, without coquetry, without curiosity, in a word, without the fall, woman would not be woman. Much of her grace is in her frailty.
There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time as come.
The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.
Blessed be Providence which has given to each his toy: the doll to the child, the child to the woman, the woman to the man, the man to the devil!
The human soul has still greater need of the ideal than of the real. It is by the real that we exist; it is by the ideal that we live.
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Almost all our desires, when examined, contain something too shameful to reveal.
Amnesty is as good for those who give it as for those who receive it. It has the admirable quality of bestowing mercy on both sides.
There have been in this century only one great man and one great thing: Napoleon and liberty. For want of the great man, let us have the great thing.
Smallness in a great man seems smaller by its disproportion with all the rest.
As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer.
Dear God! how beauty varies in nature and art. In a woman the flesh must be like marble; in a statue the marble must be like flesh.
Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather in spite of ourselves.
It is most pleasant to commit a just action which is disagreeable to someone whom one does not like.
I don’t mind what Congress does, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.
In the French language, there is a great gulf between prose and poetry; in English, there is hardly any difference. It is a splendid privilege of the great literary languages Greek, Latin, and French that they possess a prose. English has not this privilege. There is no prose in English.
Verse in itself does not constitute poetry. Verse is only an elegant vestment for a beautiful form. Poetry can express itself in prose, but it does so more perfectly under the grace and majesty of verse. It is poetry of soul that inspires noble sentiments and noble actions as well as noble writings.
Love is jealous, and ingenious in self-torture in proportion as it is pure and intense.
Close by the Rights of Man, at the least set beside them, are the Rights of the Spirit.
How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.
Thought is more than a right – it is the very breath of man. Whoever fetters thought attacks man himself. To speak, to write, to publish, are things, so far as the right is concerned, absolutely identical. They are the ever-enlarging circles of intelligence in action; they are the sonorous waves of thought.
Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.
Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.
Religions do a useful thing: they narrow God to the limits of man. Philosophy replies by doing a necessary thing: it elevates man to the plane of God.
Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers?
He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
The drama is complete poetry. The ode and the epic contain it only in germ; it contains both of them in a state of high development, and epitomizes both.
What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.
Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other.
When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide.
Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.
A creditor is worse than a slave-owner; for the master owns only your person, but a creditor owns your dignity, and can command it.
The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable.
Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.
Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.
The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over we realize this: that the human race has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced.
One sometimes says: ‘He killed himself because he was bored with life.’ One ought rather to say: ‘He killed himself because he was bored by lack of life.’
Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
Society is a republic. When an individual tries to lift themselves above others, they are dragged down by the mass, either by ridicule or slander.
One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.
Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful.
Death has its revelations: the great sorrows which open the heart open the mind as well; light comes to us with our grief. As for me, I have faith; I believe in a future life. How could I do otherwise? My daughter was a soul; I saw this soul. I touched it, so to speak.
There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.
My childhood began, as everybody’s childhood begins, with prejudices. Man finds prejudices beside his cradle, puts them from him a little in the course of his career, and often, alas! takes to them again in his old age.
Love, in the eyes of the world, is either a carnal appetite or a vague fancy, which possession extinguishes or absence destroys. That is why it is commonly said, with a strange abuse of words, that passion does not endure.
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.
Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.
Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.
To be perfectly happy it does not suffice to possess happiness, it is necessary to have deserved it.
A poet who is a bad man is a degraded being, baser and more culpable than a bad man who is not a poet.
There is no such thing as a little country. The greatness of a people is no more determined by their numbers than the greatness of a man is by his height.
The animal is ignorant of the fact that he knows. The man is aware of the fact that he is ignorant.
No one knows like a woman how to say things which are at once gentle and deep.
Every diminution of the liberty of the press is followed by a diminution of civilization. Wherever we see the freedom of the press interfered with, there we see the nutrition of the human family interrupted.
Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.
Because one doesn’t like the way things are is no reason to be unjust towards God.
It is from books that wise people derive consolation in the troubles of life.
One is not idle because one is absorbed. There is both visible and invisible labor. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.
Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant.
There are no rules, no models; rather, there are no rules other than the general laws of Nature.
I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, – and the stars through his soul.
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.
I am an intelligent river which has reflected successively all the banks before which it has flowed by meditating only on the images offered by those changing shores.
Hell is an outrage on humanity. When you tell me that your deity made you in his image, I reply that he must have been very ugly.
We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.
Rhyme, that enslaved queen, that supreme charm of our poetry, that creator of our meter.
Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.
There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.
The three great problems of this century; the degradation of man in the proletariat, the subjection of women through hunger, the atrophy of the child by darkness.
To think is of itself to be useful; it is always and in all cases a striving toward God.
The last resort of kings, the cannonball. The last resort of the people, the paving stone.
Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.
I would have liked to be – indeed, I should have been – a second Rembrandt.
A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.
Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.