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Julie Rose’s new translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is terrific. On Saturdays, I am sharing some quotes worth pondering (see firstsecondthirdfourth, and fifth collections):

“To shape the soul of a young girl, all the nuns in the world are not equal to one mother.” (730)

“Women play on their beauty as children play with their knives. And they hurt themselves on it, too.” (737)

“It is the province of pain to bring out the childish side of a man.” (743)

“The peculiarity of the sun rising is to make us laugh at all our terrors of the night, and the laugh we have is always in proportion to the fear we have had.” (765)

“What is fright at night is curiosity by day.” (765)

“Love is breathing in the heavenly air of paradise.” (768)

“If there wasn’t someone who loved, the sun would go out.” (769)

“Is the bottom of civilization, being deeper and darker, any less important than the top? Can you really know the mountain well if you don’t know anything about the cave? True history involving everything, the true historian gets involved with everything.” (809)

“Man is not a circle with a single center; he is an ellipse with two focal points. Deeds are one, ideas the other.” (809)

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable spelled out sparkles.” (810)

“Knowledge is a store of provisions; thought is a primary necessity; the truth is food the same as wheat is. An argument that abstains from science and wisdom loses weight. We should feel sorry for minds that don’t eat the way we do for stomachs. If there is something more poignant than a body dying for want of bread, it is a soul dying starved of light.” (821)

“Ideas can’t flow backward any more than rivers can.” (822)

“Of all the things that God has made, the human heart is the one that shines brightest – and blackest, alas!” (826)

“Love is an ardent forgetting of the rest.” (830)

“When you are at the end of life, dying means going away; when you are at the beginning of life, going away means dying.” (840)

“The smile of the woman you love has a brightness you can see at night.” (842)

“The misery of a child is of interest to a mother, the misery of a young man is of interest to a young girl, the misery of an old man is of interest to nobody. Of all forms of distress, this is the coldest.” (858)

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One thought on “Les Misérables: Quotes to Ponder (6)”

  1. Great job! Have not read Les Miserables since hight school.

    Kenneth Alford

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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