Victor Hugo, on Love

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. The great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. & even loved in spite of ourselves.

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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9 thoughts on “Victor Hugo, on Love

  1. Yes. I need to read it again to regain a fresh impression of the effect the whole book gives (I read it years ago), but quotes like this show what a beautiful and good place Hugo is writing from. The thing that overcomes all evil, all oppression, and all heartbreak is our spirit, our will, our courage, and our decision to love in the face of tragedy. 🌸

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    • To be honest: my 1st experience with Les Mis was kind of uneasy. It was the musical film: I came in a bit unsure. After Fantine died, I was like “hold on a sec, Les Mis is TRAGIC, musicals aren’t supposed to be TRAGIC”. I was shocked and confused that I had a hard time focusing on the rest of the film. By the end, I did not know if I even liked Les Mis or not: I even called it too DEPRESSING. Despite that, I started researching information about Les Mis anyways.

      But something told me March 2013 to give Les Mis a 2nd chance: well I watched that film a 2nd chance: oh my gosh, I got so much more out of it. I was able to calm down because the TRAGEDY did not come as much of a shock. By the end, I realized it makes you feel uplifted. I wanted to do know why. So I dug even deeper. By summer 2013, I was obsessed with Les Misérables and wanted to watch the stage show.

      Soon enough I read the unabridged book: summer 2015- wouldn’t have picked up if it wasn’t for the musical. I used the musical to understand what was going in the book. It helped me out: it was the motivator to keep me moving. I applied the musical to the book and the book back to the musical. I wrote in songs and underlined stuff. Whenever I read a classic, I keep a dictionary on hand because I always find words I don’t what they mean. So I went from not knowing if I liked Les Misérables to becoming a massive fan of Les Misérables.

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      • That’s great- I did like the movie, and of course, the book is better. I am glad you got to read the book too! I feel like it was a very particular representation of the tragedy that affects the lives of so many – not everyone, but some people (perhaps more than we realize) are really in quite tragic situations. Both physically and spiritually as well.

        So for me the musical shows that there is hope, that this life and its tragedies are not all, and that there is another chapter to come. That is our hope; if there is no possibility of a door into another life at the end of this one, then there is little to base any hope on. Especially for those whose lives have been largely affected by pain, sorrow, sickness and death.

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      • Don’t you find that you always get more out of works on the second or third (or fourth, or fifth) reading? It is a wonder to me still to this day. As we grow, we can see more and absorb more out of the works we are studying. So it would be so sad to only read a book once. Like meeting a person only once – you would certainly have missed out on any real knowledge or experience of that person. I love the layers and the complexity of it all. 🌸

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      • The first time I saw the stage show was Nov. 2013. I read the abridged book Dec. 2013, but felt like something was lacking tremendously.

        Then it was summer 2015: by that point, I had a copy of the unabridged. I read the unabridged in less than one summer. The knowledge of the musical helped me understand what was going on in the book even though there were slight differences.

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