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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831)

by Victor Hugo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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11,712151415 (3.92)369
A retelling of the tale, set in medieval Paris, of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his struggles to save the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmaralda from being unjustly executed.
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» See also 369 mentions

English (134)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
When the publication of a novel results in a major restoration effort for a centuries old Gothic church that features as a significant secondary character, it must be a special book. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is Victor Hugo’s first novel that established him as one of the greatest French writers.

The story is set in Paris in 1482 during the reign of Louis XI. The beautiful gypsy Esmeralda captures the hearts of many men, including those of Captain Phoebus and Pierre Gringoire, but especially Quasimodo and his guardian Archdeacon Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his obsessive lust for Esmeralda and the rules of Notre Dame Cathedral. He orders Quasimodo to kidnap her, but Quasimodo is captured by Phoebus and his guards, who save Esmeralda. Gringoire, who attempted to help Esmeralda but was knocked out by Quasimodo, is about to be hanged by beggars when Esmeralda saves him by agreeing to marry him for four years. The following day, Quasimodo is sentenced to be flogged and turned on the pillory for two hours, followed by another hour's public exposure. He calls for water. Esmeralda, seeing his thirst, approaches the public stocks and offers him a drink of water. It saves him, and she captures his heart. Later, Esmeralda is arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Phoebus, whom Frollo attempted to kill in jealousy after seeing him trying to seduce Esmeralda. She is sentenced to death by hanging. As she is being led to the gallows, Quasimodo swings down by the bell rope of Notre-Dame and carries her off to the cathedral, temporarily protecting her – under the law of sanctuary – from arrest. Frollo later informs Gringoire that the Court of Parlement has voted to remove Esmeralda's right to the sanctuary so she can no longer seek shelter in the cathedral and will be taken away to be killed. Clopin, the leader of the Vagrants, hears the news from Gringoire and rallies the homeless citizens of Paris to charge the cathedral and rescue Esmeralda. When Quasimodo sees the Vagrants, he assumes they are there to hurt Esmeralda, so he drives them off. Likewise, he thinks the king's men want to rescue her, and tries to help them find her. She is rescued by Frollo and Gringoire. But after yet another failed attempt to win her love, Frollo betrays Esmeralda by handing her to the troops and watches while she is being hanged. When Frollo laughs during Esmeralda's hanging, Quasimodo pushes him from the height of Notre Dame to his death. With nothing left to live for, Quasimodo vanishes and is never seen again. Quasimodo's skeleton is found many years later in the charnel house, a mass grave into which the bodies of the destitute and criminals were indiscriminately thrown, implying that Quasimodo had sought Esmeralda among the decaying corpses and lay beside her, himself to die. As the guards attempt to pull the embracing skeletons apart, his skeleton crumbles to dust.

This book is hard to judge, mainly because when the narrative and drama is going it is great but early on Hugo liked to focus on other things namely architecture then it was hard to read. While Hugo’s descriptions of Notre Dame are fantastic and are necessary considering its central importance to the book, however the history of Paris and its architecture was a tangent that slowed things down enough to make the book feel like a drag. Hugo’s characters were extremely well-written from the hypocrite Frollo to the love-sick Esmerelda to superficial jerk Phoebus and the book’s titular character Quasimodo.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame features a fantastic narrative, however some of Victor Hugo’s decisions early in the book make it struggle to get through as it veers away from any narrative flow. However, I did enjoy the book overall and would recommend it for people to read yet with a warning about things early so they are prepared to either endure it or plan skip parts of the book. ( )
  mattries37315 | Jun 10, 2021 |
What a strange little novel; it literally has a bit of everything from witchcraft and religious extremeism with just a dash of romance and adventure. Even though I apparently read an abridged version of the story, I'm pretty sure that I didn't miss much since all the varying storylines fit together by the end. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
The novel presents us with the stories of three tragic and lonely figures. Claude Frollo, arch deacon of Notre Dame, Esmeralda, a charming gypsy, and Quasimodo, a disfigured bell ringer and Frollo's adopted son.

1482, the hated Quasimodo, a monster, is crowned king of fools in a high-pitched celebration that speaks of the evil purifier of post-revolutionary France, where the thirst for blood was not quenched and there was an interaction between superstition and the strength that made life short and brutal. Enter Esmeralda, a dancing and innocent gypsy and you have the scene prepared for the dissolution of innocence. Claude Frollo, arch-deacon of Notre-Dame and protector of Quasimodo, becomes obsessed with lust in his soul and performs many shocking and brutal schemes to force Esmeralda's reciprocity. Meanwhile, Esmeralda frustrates her fake husband (the poet Pierre Gringoire) and surrenders to Captain Phoebus, a heartless playboy. The situation is complicated when Frollo attacks the life of Phoebus and Esmeralda is judged as a witch. Quasimodo can choose between his father figure (Frollo) and Esmeralda, the only person who showed him pity, despite his monstrous appearance. The very melodramatic plot is to discuss essential topics, such as a treatise on culture as a whole and, surprisingly for modern readers, the evolution and importance of architecture.

Hugo began to elaborate this iconic novel as an examination of Gothic architecture, which he was convinced was the culmination of a style that demonstrated the true creative verve of humanity and, at the time of writing, was falling into neglect and being replaced by what he saw as inferior modifications. Hugo forces his argument and his characters often become walking symbols of his feelings about architecture and, in particular, of modernization. ( )
1 vote Marcos_Augusto | Feb 19, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
One of my favourite books of all time. A tale of love in its many cruel forms. ( )
  Mariella-O | Jan 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Au point de sembler plus vraie que la vraie. Bref, un roman-cathédrale.
added by Ariane65 | editLire (Mar 1, 2002)
 
In Notre-Dame de Paris Hugo’s dreams are magnified in outline, microscopic in detail. They are true but are made magical by the enlargement of pictorial close-up, not by grandiloquent fading. Compare the treatment of the theme of the love that survives death in this book, with the not dissimilar theme in Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Heathcliff are eternal as the wretched wind that whines at the northern casement. They are impalpable and bound in their eternal pursuit. A more terrible and more precise fate is given by Hugo to Quasimodo after death. The hunchback’s skeleton is found clasping the skeleton of the gypsy girl in the charnel house. We see it with our eyes. And his skeleton falls into dust when it is touched, in that marvellous last line of the novel. Where love is lost, it is lost even beyond the grave...

The black and white view is relieved by the courage of the priest’s feckless brother and the scepticism of Gringoire, the whole is made workable by poetic and pictorial instinct. It has often been pointed out that Hugo had the eye that sees for itself. Where Balzac described things out of descriptive gluttony, so that parts of his novels are an undiscriminating buyer’s catalogue; where Scott describes out of antiquarian zeal, Hugo brings things to life by implicating them with persons in the action in rapid ‘takes’. In this sense, Notre-Dame de Paris was the perfect film script. Every stone plays its part.
added by SnootyBaronet | editObserver, V.S. Pritchett
 

» Add other authors (483 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hugo, Victorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aken, Jan vanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alger, Abby LangdonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Antal, LászlóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beckwith, James CarrollTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boor, GerdiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BrugueraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cobb, Walter J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dixon, Arthur A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gohin, YvesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keiler, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kool, Halbo C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krailsheimer, AlbanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
La Farge, PhyllisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laverdel, MarcelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liu, CatherineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lusignoli, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maurois, AndréAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oorthuizen, WillemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhys, ErnestEveryman's Library Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seebacher, JacquesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seebacher, JacquesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spitzers, AttieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stedum, Gerda vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sturrock, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swinburne, A. C.Appreciationsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terpstra, BasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhagen, InekeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vincet, ArthurNarratorsecondary 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.
Quotations
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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A retelling of the tale, set in medieval Paris, of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his struggles to save the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmaralda from being unjustly executed.

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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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