Victor Hugo Best Quotes 💬

Victor Hugo is well-known for his classic French novels that are written in a realistic and poetic style. His works explore class differences, love, knowledge and nature, and so much more. 

Victor Hugo

(1802-1885), French

Within these quotes, readers will see some wonderful examples of Victor Hugo’s writing style. It is rich, intricate, and emotive. He is a master of poetic description, painting vivid images in the minds of readers. His works are filled with lyrical dialogue, emphasizing the themes of justice and humanity.


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 prose. English has not this privilege. There is no prose in English.

This is an interesting quote about writing from Victor Hugo. In these lines, he notes that in English, there is little difference between poetry and prose. He suggests that it is a far more poetic language than any other. He goes on to say that languages like Greek and Latin have the ability to sound both like prose and verse, which is a “splendid privilege.” 

What Shakespeare was able to do in English he would certainly not have done in French.

This is a clever quote from Victor Hugo that, like the previous one, elevates the English language and suggests that the French language leaves something to be desired. 


Love is jealous and ingenious in self-torture in proportion as it is pure and intense.

This quote from Victor Hugo explores love in simple terms. He said that “love is jealous and “ingenious” in the way it tortures those who experience it in the same way that it is “pure and intense.” He focuses on the strength of emotion of all varieties and experiences that one is likely to have while in love.

Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.

These lines are from Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dam,’ sometimes written as “Notre-Dam.” In French, the novel was published as Notre-Dame de Paris. It concerns the life and struggles of Quasimodo, a bell ringer in the Notre Dam Cathedral. The novel includes many quotes like this one that spring up in connection to Quasimodo’s love for Esmerelda. 

Hugo wrote in these lines that the “blinder” love is, the “more tenacious it is.” This suggests the power of idealized love to take over what is right in front of one’s face, particularly if the assumptions one is making are “unreasonable.” This is the strongest type of love, a love that “roots itself deeply” into one’s being.

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. 

Hugo’s novels are filled with wonderful assertions about love and its powers. This quote from ‘Les Misérables’ is no different. It asserts that all people experience love in a powerful way and that even the poorest man on the street can feel alive and illuminated by love’s power.


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

This is one of the most memorable quotes from ‘Les Misérables.’ It touches on two themes that Hugo is very well-known for writing on— love and God. The line asserts that when one feels pure, true love that they are as close to seeing God’s face (or knowing his love/power) as one ever is. Love is a unique, elevating, and religious experience, as the quote also implies.

Growing Up

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.

This is a personal quote from Victor Hugo, one that explores his youth and the way he considers his own prejudices, especially as an older man. He thought he knew things as a child (specific judgments about people, ideas, or other elements of life), and these prejudices faded from him as a young man. They returned later in life in “old age.” 

This alludes to life’s cyclical nature; everything comes back around, even the things one believed as a child. 


What style did Victor Hugo use? 

Victor Hugo used a unique Romantic style, combining intense emotions and theatrical effects to explore human complexities. He was known for emphasizing sensibility, invoking deep passion and imagination to evoke a reaction in readers. 

What is a famous Victor Hugo quote? 

The line “To love another person is to see the face of God” is a very important quote from his world-renowned novel, Les Misérables.’ The line conveys the novel’s most important theme. 

Why is Victor Hugo important? 

Victor Hugo is important because of his numerous literary works and his influence on other writers. He is a renowned French novelist, poet, and dramatist who revolutionized literature with his romantic, symbolic style. He wrote ‘Les Misérables,’ ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ and the less-commonly read The Man Who Laughs‘. His works focus on societal injustices and embody the spirit of liberty and freedom.

Are Victor Hugo’s books hard to read? 

It certainly depends on the reader, but for most people, they can be a challenge to read at times due to the length of the sentences and their complexity. They can often be quite verbose and meandering in style. Hugo is known for taking time away from the main plot to explore smaller storylines which can make his books confusing. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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