Victor Hugo quotes

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Victor Hugo

Birthdate: 26. February 1802
Date of death: 22. May 1885
Other names: Victor Marie Hugo, Виктор Гюго

Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. 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 , 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles .

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; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon in Paris. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French currency.

Works

„Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars. Cimourdain was full of virtues and truth, but they shine out of a dark background.“

—  Victor Hugo

Part 2, Book 1, Ch. 2
Variant translation: What makes night within us may leave stars.
Source: Ninety-Three (1874)
Context: Cimourdain was a pure-minded but gloomy man. He had "the absolute" within him. He had been a priest, which is a solemn thing. Man may have, like the sky, a dark and impenetrable serenity; that something should have caused night to fall in his soul is all that is required. Priesthood had been the cause of night within Cimourdain. Once a priest, always a priest.
Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars. Cimourdain was full of virtues and truth, but they shine out of a dark background.

„You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.“

—  Victor Hugo, book Things Seen

Often attributed to Churchill, this thought was originally expressed by the French author Victor Hugo in Villemain (1845), as follows: You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.
Villemain is a brief segment taken from Hugo’s Choses Vues (Things Seen), a running journal Hugo kept of events he witnessed. The original French versions of these journals were published after Hugo's death.
Misattributed

„What Is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.“

—  Victor Hugo, book Les Misérables

Variant: I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat was threadbare - there were holes at his elbows; the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.
Source: Les Misérables

„Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.“

—  Victor Hugo, book William Shakespeare

Ce qu’on ne peut dire et ce qu’on ne peut taire, la musique l’exprime.
Part I, Book II, Chapter IV
William Shakespeare (1864)
Variant: Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent
Source: Hugo's Works: William Shakespeare

„To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.“

—  Victor Hugo

Mettre tout en équilibre, c'est bien; mettre tout en harmonie, c'est mieux.
Quatre-vingt-treize (Ninety-Three) (1874), Book VII, Chapter V http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Quatre-vingt-treize_-_III%2C_7#V_LE_CACHOT
Ninety-Three (1874)

„To love another person is to see the face of God.“

—  Victor Hugo, book Les Misérables

Variant: And remember, the truth that once was spoken: To love another person is to see the face of God.
Source: Les Misérables

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„Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face.“

—  Victor Hugo, book Les Misérables

Variant: A smile is the same as sunshine; it banishes winter from the human countenance.
Source: Les Misérables

„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.“

—  Victor Hugo, book Les Misérables

Variant: 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.
Source: Les Misérables

„Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.“

—  Victor Hugo

Variant: There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.

„Reason is intelligence taking exercise; imagination is intelligence with an erection.“

—  Victor Hugo

Unpublished notebook from 1845-50. Published in Seebacher (ed.), Oeuvres Complètes, vol. 10, p. 158 (Laffont, 1989). English translation from Robb, Victor Hugo p. 249 (Norton, 1997).

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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