On the Conscience

“To write the poem of the human conscience, if only of one man, even the most insignificant man, would be to swallow up all epics in a superior and definitive epic…At certain moments, penetrate the ashen face of a human being who is thinking and look at what lies behind; look into that soul, look into that obscurity. There, beneath the external silence, giants are doing battle as in Homer, melées of dragons and hydras, and clouds of phantoms as in Milton, ghostly spirals as in Dante. Such gloom enfolds that infinity which each man bears within himself and by which he measures in despair the desires of his will and the actions of his life!”

Excerpt from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo


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