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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (original 1831; edition 1947)

by Victor Hugo

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8,701104348 (3.94)270
Title:The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Authors:Victor Hugo
Info:Dodd Mead & Co. (1947), Hardcover
Collections:My Library, Read in 2008
Tags:Classics, Historical Fiction, French Literature

Work details

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (1831)

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» See also 270 mentions

English (93)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  English (104)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a novel written in the name of the preservation of Medieval architecture in general and the Notre Dame cathedral specifically. It was written from 1829-1832 during the period of the Romanticism movement, which has been defined as the love for all things Medieval. The titular character Quasimodo is the Middle Ages personified, a force of man's nature surrounded by superstitions both Pagan and Christian. In the end he must die along with the age and the things that gave the cathedral a soul. Through his death the reader is moved to a sense of justice, and preservation.

I greatly enjoyed this important novel, it was one of the first to depict a range of characters from all classes including a begger as a main character. Although parts of the plot seem cliche like genre fiction, it's somewhat excusable given its age, and in a way adds to its fairy-tale quality. The novel doesn't take itself too seriously and indeed has flashes of humor and meta-fiction that lifts it up, unlike the heavier fire and brimstone Les Misérables. The novel reminded me of early Dickens with its large cast, pretensions to theater, humor and themes of social justice. In fact Dickens was influenced by the novel published years before Pickwick Papers. Finally Hugo's skills as a poet are central to the quality of the prose, his metaphors are delightful, unforced and appropriate (at least in this translation by Catherine Liu).

I "read" the novel in the audiobook narrated by George Guidall (1991) and he brings subtle but effective characterizations in a way my own inner voice would have missed. The novel is improved by the audio version.. which doesn't always happen but in this case it came together well. ( )
  Stbalbach | Nov 27, 2016 |
Victor Hugo once again demonstrates unrivalled mastery over the written word, but the story itself was grievous to experience. Shakespeare has nothing on tragedies in this case. I loved the descriptions, the in-depth details and creative examples that colour both Victor's characters and their emotions in this book. I awed at the author's ability to rend a reader's heart through poetic text. But normally, even in a tragedy, at least one character stands out as piteous—an ill-fated victim entirely deserving of sympathy given his or her altruistic, often heroic nature. These Notre-Dame characters, however, were all hard to pity. Even the hunchback, Quasimodo, who I believe was meant to be the hero in this case, through actions that caused pain and cruelty unbalanced by an attempt to protect Esmerelda, proved upsetting.

I wonder if this wasn't meant to be a cleverly laid out example of self-seeking, base human nature demonstrated from diverse stations and perspectives. Esmerelda, Claude Frollo, his drunkard brother, Quasimodo, Captain Phoebus, Gringoire, the King, and so on—every character, even the minor players, seemed controlled by selfish interests, none truly praiseworthy! It was difficult to read through these intertwining paths and root for no one. Lives tragically found their end in the same manner in which they elapsed, through spiteful and heartless misfortunes. It was a harsh and sad tale but a seriously insightful demonstration of the end results where selfish obsessions are concerned. ( )
  REGoodrich | Aug 10, 2016 |
(29) The classic novel describing the ruination of a beautiful young girl who chooses beauty on the outside, ugly on the inside over beauty on the inside, ugly on the outside. Quasimodo, the titular hunchback, is abandoned on the doorstep of Notre Dame as a small child and raised by the archdeacon - a learned and solitary man who is rumored to be a sorcerer. Both Quasimodo and the archdeacon fall for La Esmeralda the virtuous beautiful young gypsy girl whose past is also a mystery. However, she only has eyes for the King's handsome chief archer. Sounds melodramatic and fantastical -- and it is.

This took me forever to read! I found I had a love-hate relationship with the novel. I loved the cinematographic depiction of the cathedral when the sun hit it, the archdeacon silently hanging by a gargoyle, the raucous medieval atmosphere of a public execution, the pealing of bells, the sound of Quasimodo's labored gait in the dark as he crept about caring for Esmerelda in her cell. just exquisitly rendered and one can understand why this novel has stood the test of time. But. . . but -- it was veerry tedious at times. I thought I would claw out one of my own eyes during the chapters regarding the history of architecture and a street by street map of Paris as viewed from the top of the cathedral.

Until the last 100 pages or so, I could only read a little at a time before falling asleep at night. I think the prose is dense and was closely written in my old paperback edition that was just under 500 pages (it seems in other versions of the novel it came to over 600 pages) But I have to say, it is a worthy read. I feel about this novel much the way I felt about 'Moby Dick.' It wasn't always easy - sometimes messy, and flawed, and boring. But in the end, I feel somewhat obsessed with it and grateful for the searing imagery. Be patient, and try not to let the Latin get you down. ( )
  jhowell | Jul 23, 2016 |
Gripping, tragic, and so well-written. Yes, the first half was pedantic and way to full of description, but Hugo's writing style allowed me to brush up on my French with his repetition of ideas and words. The story really began to grip me in the chapter Ceci Tuera Cela" and by the time I reached the meat of the action, the clandestine meeting between Esmeralda and her beau Phoebus, I read 150 pages in 4 hours. In French. The character of Claude Frollo is abhorrent (and all too real), the tragedy of the lady in the tower is heart-wrenching, and the heroism of Quasimodo when confronted with his various tortures and heartbreaks is, well, heartbreaking in itself. I am so very glad I have finally read it - it has made my life that much richer." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
I must admit I don't remember it well, but after seeing a trailer for the Disney movie I decided to read the book. I do remember it was moving and interesting. And since I'm generally pretty disgusted with Disney versions of classics, I won't be comparing the two. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Au point de sembler plus vraie que la vraie. Bref, un roman-cathédrale.
added by Ariane65 | editLire (Mar 1, 2002)

» Add other authors (184 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hugo, Victorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alger, Abby LangdonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Antal, LászlóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beckwith, James CarrollTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krailsheimer, AlbanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lusignoli, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sturrock, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
וולק, ארזTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Exactly three hundred and forty-eight years, six months and nineteen days have passed away since the Parisians were awakened by the noise of all the bells within the triple walls of the city, the university, and the town, ringing a full peal.
Endlich neigte sich der geschworene Buchhändler der Universität, Meister Andry Musnier, zum Ohre des Kürschners der Kleider des Königs mit den Worten:

"Ich sage euch, Herr, das Ende der Welt ist nahe. Man sah nie solche Ausgelassenheit der Studenten. Die verfluchten Erfindungen des Jahrhunderts richten alles zugrunde, die Kanonen, Serpentinen, Bombarden und vor allem die Buchdruckerkunst, diese andere Pest aus Deutschland. Keine Manuskripte! Keine Bücher! Der Druck tötet den Buchhandel! Das Ende der Welt ist nah."
Stets dachte ich, werde es von mir abhängen, den Prozeß zu verfolgen oder fallen zu lassen. Doch jeder böse Gedanke ist unerbittlich und bestrebt, zur Tatsache zu werden; und da, wo ich mich allmächtig glaube, ist das Verhängnis mächtiger als ich. Ach, ach, das Verhängnis ergriff dich, überlieferte dich den furchtbaren Rädern der Maschine, die ich im Dunkel baute. Jetzt bin ich dem Ende nahe. (Claude Frollo)
Die Liebe gleicht einem Baum; sie sproßt von selbst hervor, treibt tiefe Wurzeln in unser Sein und grünt oft noch auf einem gebrochenen Herzen.
Dom Claude begann aufs neue: "Ihr seid also glücklich?" - Gringoire erwiderte mit Feuer: "Auf Ehre, ja! Zuerst liebte ich Frauen, dann Tiere; jetzt liebe ich Steine. Sie sind ebenso unterhaltend wie Tiere und Frauen, aber nicht so treulos."
Der Priester legte die Hand auf die Stirn. Es war seine gewöhnliche Bewegung; dann sprach er: "Wahrhaftig, Ihr habt recht!"
Peter Gringoire war so glücklich, die Ziege zu retten, und erlangte auch einigen Beifall im Tragödien-Dichten. Nachdem er, wie es scheint, alle Torheiten gekostet hatte, die Astrologie, Alchimie, Philosophie und Architektur, kehrte er zur albernsten Torheit, der Tragödie zurück; das nannte er: Ein tragisches Ende nehmen.

Auch Phoebus von Chateaupers nahm ein tragisches Ende: Er verheiratete sich.
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This is the major work for The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. Please do not combine with abridgements, adaptations, etc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451527887, Mass Market Paperback)

This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to Victor Hugo's brilliant historical imagination and his remarkable powers of description.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:26 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In fifteenth-century Paris, a disfigured man named Quasimodo, who was abandoned as an infant in the cathedral of Notre-Dame and now lives in its bell tower, must come to the aid of a beautiful gypsy girl named Esmeralda after she repels the advances of the cruel archdeacon Don Claude Frollo.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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33 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140443533, 0451531515

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102111, 1400109035

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