182 Best Victor Hugo Quotes (About Love, Life, Education, God, and More)

182 best victor hugo quotes about love life education god and more

Victor Hugo was a French novelist, poet, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest French writers. Hugo is best known for his most famous novels, Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Romanticism is a literary movement prevalent in the second half of the 18th century. It is a movement that emphasized intense emotion and individualism, glorifying the past and nature. Hugo was among the most prominent figures of the Romantic movement, which is evident in his plays Cromwell and Hernani.

Born in 1802, Hugo was the third son of Joseph and Sophie Hugo. His father was a military officer, and because of this, the family moved frequently. Sophie raised Hugo to be a Catholic. However, in his adulthood, Hugo rebelled against his Catholic Royalist education and became a champion of Freethought and Republicanism.

Throughout his life, Hugo fought against social injustice and was against the death penalty. And even after his death in 1885, Hugo’s legacy has been honored in many ways. Examples of this are the inclusion of his portrait in French currency and the success of the hit West End musical Les Misérables, inspired by his novel.

We have collected several of the famous Victor Hugo quotes that explore his views on love, life, education, God, happiness, freedom, and many more.

Table of Contents

Victor Hugo Quotes About Love

1. “To love beauty is to see light.”

2. “Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.”

"Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love." #victorhugo #quotes #love

3. “Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.”

4. “To love is to act.”

5. “What a grand thing, to be loved! What a grander thing still, to love!”

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

7. “The first symptom of love in a young man is timidity; in a girl boldness.”

8. “The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable.”

9. “Love is jealous, and ingenious in self-torture in proportion as it is pure and intense.”

10. “Love that is not jealous is neither true nor pure.”

Victor Hugo Quotes About Life

1. “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.”

2. “Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.”

"Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal." #victorhugo #quotes #life

3. “Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.”

4. “Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.”

5. “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.’”

6. “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.”

7. “It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”

8. “Those who live are those who fight.”

9. “Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.”

10. “The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

11. “Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”

12. “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.”

13. “Do not let it be your aim to be something, but to be someone.”

Victor Hugo Quotes About Education

1. “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

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

3. “The learned man knows that he is ignorant.”

"The learned man knows that he is ignorant." #victorhugo #quotes #education

4. “Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education.”

Victor Hugo Quotes About God

1. “The word is the Verb, and the Verb is God.”

2. “Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.”

3. “Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.”

4. “Indigestion is charged by God with enforcing morality on the stomach.”

5. “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.”

6. “Because one doesn’t like the way things are is no reason to be unjust towards God.”

"Because one doesn't like the way things are is no reason to be unjust towards God." #victorhugo #quotes #god

7. “To think is of itself to be useful; it is always and in all cases a striving toward God.”

8. “When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide.”

9. “Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.”

10. “Conscience is God present in man.”

11. “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.”

Victor Hugo Quotes About Freedom

1. “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.”

2. “When liberty returns, I will return.”

3. “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.”

4. “He who is not capable of enduring poverty is not capable of being free.”

5. “Liberation is not deliverance.”

"Liberation is not deliverance." #victorhugo #quotes #freedom

6. “Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.”

Victor Hugo Quotes About Happiness

1. “Doing nothing is happiness for children and misery for old men.”

2. “Joy’s smile is much closer to tears than laughter.”

3. “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." #victorhugo #quotes #happiness

4. “To be perfectly happy it does not suffice to possess happiness, it is necessary to have deserved it.”

5. “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”

More Victor Hugo Quotes and Sayings

1. “Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.”

2. “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.”

3. “Rhyme, that enslaved queen, that supreme charm of our poetry, that creator of our meter.”

4. “Men like me are impossible until the day when they become necessary.”

5. “Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.”

6. “Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”

7. “The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.”

8. “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

"All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come." #victorhugo #quotes #world

9. “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.”

10. “No one ever keeps a secret so well as a child.”

11. “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.”

12. “What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.”

13. “The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them.”

14. “Many great actions are committed in small struggles.”

15. “It is most pleasant to commit a just action which is disagreeable to someone whom one does not like.”

16. “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.”

17. “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.”

18. “A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing.”

"A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing." #victorhugo #quotes #faith

19. “The wise man does not grow old, but ripens.”

20. “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.”

21. “Taste is the common sense of genius.”

22. “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.”

23. “Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”

24. “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.”

25. “Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers?”

26. “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.”

27. “We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.”

28. “Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.”

"Virtue has a veil, vice a mask." #victorhugo #quotes #virtue

29. “The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.”

30. “But when ill indeed, Even dismissing the doctor don’t always succeed.”

31. “Toleration is the best religion.”

32. “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”

33. “What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.”

34. “Nothing else in the world… not all the armies… is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

35. “A library implies an act of faith.”

36. “Prayer is an august avowal of ignorance.”

37. “Habit is the nursery of errors.”

38. “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.”

"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." #victorhugo #quotes #bird

39. “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!”

40. “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.”

41. “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.”

42. “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.”

43. “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.”

44. “An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.”

45. “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.”

46. “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.”

47. “Genius: the superhuman in man.”

48. “As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer.”

"As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer." #victorhugo #quotes #sublime

49. “A war between Europeans is a civil war.”

50. “No one knows like a woman how to say things which are at once gentle and deep.”

51. “The last resort of kings, the cannonball. The last resort of the people, the paving stone.”

52. “To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.”

53. “When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.”

54. “Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.”

55. “Men become accustomed to poison by degrees.”

56. “People do not lack strength; they lack will.”

57. “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.”

58. “Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can.”

"Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can." #victorhugo #quotes #pain

59. “My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.”

60. “There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.”

61. “I’m religiously opposed to religion.”

62. “It is often necessary to know how to obey a woman in order sometimes to have the right to command her.”

63. “Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.”

64. “The ox suffers, the cart complains.”

65. “As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.”

66. “A great artist is a great man in a great child.”

67. “Scepticism, that dry caries of the intelligence.”

68. “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.”

"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." #victorhugo #quotes #plan

69. “One sees qualities at a distance and defects at close range.”

70. “Genius is a promontory jutting out into the infinite.”

71. “By putting forward the hands of the clock you shall not advance the hour.”

72. “Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.”

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

74. “Stupidity talks, vanity acts.”

75. “One believes others will do what he will do to himself.”

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

77. “One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”

78. “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.”

"When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right." #victorhugo #quotes #revolution

79. “Style is the substance of the subject called unceasingly to the surface.”

80. “To contemplate is to look at shadows.”

81. “Wisdom is a sacred communion.”

82. “Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.”

83. “Never laugh at those who suffer; suffer sometimes those who laugh.”

84. “The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.”

85. “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.”

86. “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.”

87. “Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.”

88. “Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful.”

"Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful." #victorhugo #quotes #beautiful

89. “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time as come.”

90. “Close by the Rights of Man, at the least set beside them, are the Rights of the Spirit.”

91. “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

92. “Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.”

93. “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.”

94. “Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.”

95. “Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant.”

96. “A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.”

97. “The flesh is the surface of the unknown.”

98. “It is by suffering that human beings become angels.”

"It is by suffering that human beings become angels." #victorhugo #quotes #angel

99. “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.”

100. “Smallness in a great man seems smaller by its disproportion with all the rest.”

101. “It is from books that wise people derive consolation in the troubles of life.”

102. “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.”

103. “Idleness is the heaviest of all oppressions.”

104. “I don’t mind what Congress does, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”

105. “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.”

106. “The beautiful has but one type, the ugly has a thousand.”

107. “There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.”

108. “Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.”

"Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers." #victorhugo #quotes #beauty

109. “Reaction – a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on.”

110. “Puns are the droppings of soaring wits.”

111. “It is the end. But of what? The end of France? No. The end of kings? Yes.”

112. “Nature has made a pebble and a female. The lapidary makes the diamond, and the lover makes the woman.”

113. “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.”

114. “Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.”

115. “The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.”

116. “One of the hardest tasks is to extract continually from one’s soul an almost inexhaustible ill will.”

117. “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.”

118. “Our acts make or mar us, we are the children of our own deeds.”

"Our acts make or mar us, we are the children of our own deeds." #victorhugo #quotes #children

119. “To think of shadows is a serious thing.”

120. “I love all men who think, even those who think otherwise than myself.”

121. “Almost all our desires, when examined, contain something too shameful to reveal.”

122. “The omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them.”

123. “Despotism is a long crime.”

124. “The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate.”

125. “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.”

126. “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”

127. “I put a Phrygian cap on the old dictionary.”

128. “The animal is ignorant of the fact that he knows. The man is aware of the fact that he is ignorant.”

"The animal is ignorant of the fact that he knows. The man is aware of the fact that he is ignorant." #victorhugo #quotes #animal

129. “Evil. Mistrust those who rejoice at it even more than those who do it.”

130. “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!”

131. “A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.”

132. “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.”

133. “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.”

If you’d like to read the works of Victor Hugo, we recommend you read his works Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

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