Les Misérables, Quotes from Part 3, Marius


There are some great quotes about child raising in this section, some heart-wrenching. We are introduced to Gavroche, one of the most winsome characters in literature. Also some great thoughts on work/contemplation/sloth. Any bibliophile will love the charming Monsieur Mabeuf, a man who describes himself not as a royalist, a Bonapartis, or an anarchist—simply as a book-ist.

Give a youngster what is superfluous,
deprive him of what is needful,
and you have an urchin.

All monarchy is in the stroller,
all anarchy in the urchin.

To wander in contemplation,
that is to say, loiter,
is for a philosopher an excellent way
of passing the time.

He was one of those children who are most to be pitied,
those who possess parents but are still orphans.

…hypochondriacs…who spend their life dying…

Nothing so resembles an awakening as a return.

He knew Italian, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew,
but the four languages served him
for the reading of only four poets,
Dante, Juvenal, Aeschylus, and Isaiah.

To err is human,
to stroll is Parisian.

He was always down to his last penny,
but never to his last laugh.

‘Peace,’ said Joly, ‘is happiness in process of digestion.’

Old people need love as they need sunshine; it is warmth.

He never left home without a book under his arm,
and often came back with two.



5 thoughts on “Les Misérables, Quotes from Part 3, Marius

  1. As a high school English teacher, I would dearly love to teach books and ideas like these.  Unfortunately, the kiddos can’t read that well and the curriculum police would never approve it.  It doesn’t fit in with preparation for the lovely state tests.

  2. Thank you for sharing your insights on the poetic beauty of this wonderful book.  I have long held that the work of Dickens is pure poetry in novel form, but now I must take a closer look at Victor Hugo.  And the beautiful language was composed in French.  Dang!  …Ooops, you have to forgive the Texas accent in my thinking.

  3. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: February 16, 2013 | Semicolon

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