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

“Good thoughts have their bottomless pits just as bad ones do.” (365)

“Great blunders are often made, like great ropes, out of numerous strands.” (395)

“The counterfeits of the past assume false identities and happily call themselves the future. That ghost, the past, tends to fake his passport. Let us be alert to such a trick. Let us be on our guard.” (421)

“The stubborn determination of old institutions to perpetuate themselves is like the obstinacy of rancid perfume in clinging to your hair, the claims of rotten fish to be eaten, harassment by children’s clothes wanting grown-ups to wear them again, or the tenderness of corpses coming back to embrace the living.” (425)

“A convent is a contradiction. As a goal, salvation; as a means, sacrifice. The convent is supreme selfishness resulting in supreme self-abnegation. The taking of the veil or the habit is suicide reimbursed by eternity.” (430)

“We need those who forever pray for those who never pray.” (431)

“Caesar’s toll is never anything more than what is left over from God’s toll. A prince is nothing next to a principle.” (455)

“It is a funny thing how a secure conscience makes everything else secure.” (458)

“Joy is the backward surge of terror.” (463)

“Laughter is like sunshine; it chases winter away from the human face.” (470)

“There is no doubt that one side of virtue leads to pride. There lies a bridge built by the devil.” (470)

“All the crimes of the man begin in the straying of the child.” (482)

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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