Preface

“Religion, society, nature: these are the three struggles of man. These three conflicts are, at the same time, his three needs: it is necessary for him to believe, hence the temple; it is necessary for him to create, hence the city; it is necessary for him to live, hence the plow and the ship. But these three solutions contain three conflicts. The mysterious difficulty of life springs from all three. Man has to deal with obstacles under the form of superstition, under the form of prejudice, and under the form of the elements. A triple ananke1 weighs upon us: the ananke of dogmas, the ananke of laws, the ananke of things. In Notre-Dame de Paris the author has denounced the first; in Les Miserables he has pointed out the second; in this book he indicates the third.

With these three fatalities which envelop man is mingled the interior fatality, that supreme ananke the human heart.”