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Les Miserables Quotes From Victor Hugo’s Epic Novel

These Les Miserables quotes will remind you about just how much the human spirit can overcome.

Les Miserables, a novel by Victor Hugo, has been adapted into several stage versions and films. It is affectionately called Les Mis by fans, but actually had several other titles including The Miserables, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims, and The Dispossessed. It is often referred to as one of the greatest novels of the 19th Century.

The novel begins in 1815 and culminates in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris. The story follows the lives and interactions of several characters, all of who have become beloved to readers around the world, especially the hardships ex-convict Jean Valjean encounters and his experience of redemption.

The novel examines the nature of law and grace, which is why so many of the Les Miserables quotes are about the human soul, God, and faith.

The novel also expands upon the history of France and the architecture and urban design of Paris. Keep reading for more Les Miserables quotes that illustrate the other themes of the novel including politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, and love.

Don’t forget to also check out these Victor Hugo quotes on love, life and music.

Les Miserables quotes about love

1. If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

2. The first symptom of true love in a man is timidity, in a young woman, boldness. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

3. You who suffer because you love, love still more. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

4. To die of love is to live by it. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

5. The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

6. 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, Les Misérables

7. And by the way, Monsieur Marius, I believe that I was a little bit in love with you. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

8. Life’s great happiness is to be convinced we are loved. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

9. When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

10. She loved with so much passion as she loved with ignorance. She did not know whether it were good or evil, beneficent or dangerous, necessary or accidental, eternal or transitory, permitted or prohibited: she loved. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Inspirational Les Miserables quotes about life

11. It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

12. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

13. Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

14. Those who do not weep, do not see. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

15. There is nothing like a dream to create the future. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

16. There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering–a hell of boredom. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

17. Let us sacrifice one day to gain perhaps a whole life. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

18. Diamonds are to be found only in the darkness of the earth, and truth in the darkness of the mind. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

19. Nobody loves the light like the blind man. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

20. For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Thoughtful Les Miserables quotes about speaking, writing, and reading

21. If I speak, I am condemned! If I stay silent, I am damned! ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

22. You ask me what forces me to speak? a strange thing; my conscience. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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

24. He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

25. Not being heard is no reason for silence. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

26. Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

27. He was fond of books, for they are cool and sure friends. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

28. Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them if only to avoid them. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

29. As with stomachs, we should pity minds that do not eat. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

30. There comes an hour when protest no longer suffices; after philosophy, there must be action; the strong hand finishes what the idea has sketched. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Les Miserables quotes about the soul

31. 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, Les Misérables

32. The soul helps the body, and at certain moments raises it. It is the only bird that sustains its cage. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

33. If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

34. There is a prospect greater than the sea, and it is the sky; there is a prospect greater than the sky, and it is the human soul. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

35. Can a soul be so completely changed by its destiny, and turn evil when its fate is evil? Can the heart become distorted, contract incurable deformities and incurable infirmities, under the pressure of disproportionate grief, like the spinal column under a low ceiling? ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

36. Is there not in every human soul a primitive spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world and immortal in the next, which can be developed by goodness, kindled, lit up, and made to radiate, and which evil can never entirely extinguish. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

37. This first glance of a soul which does not yet know itself is like dawn in the heavens; it is the awakening of something radiant and unknown. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

38. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

39. The soul gropes in search of a soul and finds it. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

40. Woe, alas, to those who have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will rob them of everything. Try to love souls, you will find them again. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Les Miserables quotes about God and faith

41. To love another person is to see the face of God. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

42. Love is the foolishness of men and the wisdom of God. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

43. There is always one with us who is the strongest. Satan may visit our house, but the good Lord lives here. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

44. He did not study God; he was dazzled by him. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

45. Love is the only future God offers. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

46. Can human nature be so entirely transformed inside and out? Can man, created by God, be made wicked by man? ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

47. Faith is necessary to men; woe to him who believes in nothing! ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

48. God knows better than we do what we need. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

49. A doctor’s door should never be closed, a priest’s door should always be open. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

50. One can no more keep the mind from returning to an idea than the sea from returning to a shore. For a sailor, this is called the tide; in the case of the guilty, it is called remorse. God stirs up the soul as well as the ocean. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

What did you learn from these Les Miserables quotes?

Speaking of love, Les Miserables is known for its epic father and daughter love story, between Cosette and Jean Valjean.

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There are not any romantic inclinations between Jean Valjean and the other characters he interacts with. Instead, the love one man has for his adopted daughter flourishes on the pages. There is a romantic relationship between Eponine and Marius, that ends in tragedy.

The whole story is sad and will have you in tears for sure. If you haven’t read this book, or at least seen the movie, then you should!

This story has everything you would want from a novel, and the character development is superb! Cosette displays courage and resiliency while experiencing heartbreak and strife. It should remind us all about just how much the human spirit can overcome.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Les Miserables quotes and lines? Do you have a favorite adaption of the story, or are you a fan of the original novel? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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