Quotation by Victor Hugo

France is a people of the same quality as Greece and Italy. She is Athenian in beauty and Roman in grandeur. Moreover, she is generous. She gives herself. More often than other peoples, she knows the mood of devotion and sacrifice. But it is a mood that comes and goes; and this is the great danger for those who seek to run when she is content to walk, and to walk when she wishes to stay still. France has her relapses into materialism, and at certain moments the ideas which obstruct the working of her splendid mind contain nothing that recalls her greatness but are rather of the dimensions of Missouri or some other southern state. What can be done about it? The giantess plays the dwarf; great France has her fantasies of smallness. That is all.
Victor Hugo (1802–1885), French poet, dramatist, novelist. Les Misérables, pt. 5, bk. 1, ch. 20 (1862).
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