Shauni's Reviews > Les Misérables

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
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Jul 29, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, classic, kindle

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Quotes Shauni Liked

Victor Hugo
“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Victor Hugo
“If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Victor Hugo
“If you wish to understand what Revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress is, call it Tomorrow.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Victor Hugo
“Progress is the goal, the ideal is the type.
What is this ideal? It is God.
Ideal, absolute, perfection, infinity: identical words.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Victor Hugo
“In this nineteenth century, the religious idea is undergoing a crisis. People are unlearning certain things, and they do well, provided that, while unlearning them they learn this: There is no vacuum in the human heart. Certain demolitions take place, and it is well that they do, but on condition that they are followed by reconstructions.

In the meantime, let us study things which are no more. It is necessary to know them, if only for the purpose of avoiding them. The counterfeits of the past assume false names, and gladly call themselves the future. This spectre, this past, is given to falsifying its own passport. Let us inform ourselves of the trap. Let us be on our guard. The past has a visage, superstition, and a mask, hypocrisy. Let us denounce the visage and let us tear off the mask.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Victor Hugo
“The obstinacy of antiquated institutions in perpetuating themselves resembles the stubbornness of the rancid perfume which should claim our hair, the pretensions of the spoiled fish which should persist in being eaten, the persecution of the child's garment which should insist on clothing the man, the tenderness of corpses which should return to embrace the living.

"Ingrates!" says the garment, "I protected you in inclement weather. Why will you have nothing to do with me?" "I have just come from the deep sea," says the fish. "I have been a rose," says the perfume. "I have loved you," says the corpse. "I have civilized you," says the convent.

To this there is but one reply: "In former days."

To dream of the indefinite prolongation of defunct things, and of the government of men by embalming, to restore dogmas in a bad condition, to regild shrines, to patch up cloisters, to rebless reliquaries, to refurnish superstitions, to revictual fanaticisms, to put new handles on holy water brushes and militarism, to reconstitute monasticism and militarism, to believe in the salvation of society by the multiplication of parasites, to force the past on the present, – this seems strange. Still, there are theorists who hold such theories. These theorists, who are in other respects people of intelligence, have a very simple process; they apply to the past a glazing which they call social order, divine right, morality, family, the respect of elders, antique authority, sacred tradition, legitimacy, religion; and they go about shouting, "Look! take this, honest people." This logic was known to the ancients. The soothsayers practise it. They rubbed a black heifer over with chalk, and said, "She is white, Bos cretatus."

As for us, we respect the past here and there, and we spare it, above all, provided that it consents to be dead. If it insists on being alive, we attack it, and we try to kill it.

Superstitions, bigotries, affected devotion, prejudices, those forms all forms as they are, are tenacious of life; they have teeth and nails in their smoke, and they must be clasped close, body to body, and war must be made on them, and that without truce; for it is one of the fatalities of humanity to be condemned to eternal combat with phantoms. It is difficult to seize darkness by the throat, and to hurl it to the earth.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Victor Hugo
“To crush fanaticism and to venerate the infinite, such is the law. Let us not confine ourselves to prostrating ourselves before the tree of creation, and to the contemplation of its branches full of stars. We have a duty to labor over the human soul, to defend the mystery against the miracle, to adore the incomprehensible and reject the absurd, to admit, as an inexplicable fact, only what is necessary, to purify belief, to remove superstitions from above religion; to clear God of caterpillars.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


Reading Progress

July 29, 2009 – Shelved
February 18, 2013 – Started Reading
May 20, 2013 – Finished Reading
October 4, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: classic
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: kindle

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