Famous Quotes Explained: « Words are the mysterious passers-by of the soul, »Les Contemplations, Victor Hugo, 1856.
The quote Words are the mysterious passers-by of the soul is a poetic expression emphasizing the power of words and language. It fits into the context of the literary dispute between romanticism and classicism. The quote is taken from the poem « Réponse à un acte d’accusation », written in 1831 and published in 1856 in the collection Les Contemplations.
In the 19th century, France witnessed a major literary dispute between the romantics, led by Victor Hugo, who sought to break with classical norms and highlight emotion, individualism, and self-expression, and the classicists who defended strict rules and tradition.
In the poem « Réponse à un acte d’accusation, » Hugo defends himself against accusations of breaking with classical conventions and affirms the essential role of the artist in artistic creation, as well as freedom in creation and expression.
Words are the mysterious passers-by of the soul suggests that words are not merely tools of communication but carry a deeper and hidden meaning. In the context of romanticism, this quote reinforces the idea that words are vehicles for emotion, individualism, and subjectivity. They enable the romantic artist to express their soul, feelings, and ideas in a mysterious and powerful way.
This quote underscores the importance of romantic poetry and literature, which aimed to transcend the rigid rules of classical tradition. Romantics believed in the ability of words to touch the soul of the reader or viewer in a deep and emotional manner. They placed great emphasis on individual creativity and personal expression through words.
The quote highlights the power of words in expressing the soul and emotion, thereby underscoring the significance of romantic writers like Victor Hugo in revolutionizing the literature and art of that era. It is, above all, a beautiful definition of words that express the ineffable through letters and sounds.
Words are the mysterious passers-by of the soul
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