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The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Overview

The story starts January 6, 1482 in Paris, France, the day of the 'Festival of Fools' in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame, is introduced by his crowning as Pope of Fools. Esmeralda, a beautiful Gypsy with a kind and generous heart, captures the hearts of many men, including that of a Captain Phoebus, but especially those of Quasimodo and his adopted father, Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame. Frollo is torn between his lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to ...
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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

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Overview

The story starts January 6, 1482 in Paris, France, the day of the 'Festival of Fools' in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame, is introduced by his crowning as Pope of Fools. Esmeralda, a beautiful Gypsy with a kind and generous heart, captures the hearts of many men, including that of a Captain Phoebus, but especially those of Quasimodo and his adopted father, Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame. Frollo is torn between his lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to kidnap her, but the hunchback is suddenly captured by Phoebus and his guards who save Esmeralda. Quasimodo is sentenced to be whipped and ordered to be tied down by the heat. Esmeralda, seeing his thirst, offers him water. It saves her, for she captures his heart.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345472427
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/2/2004
  • Series: Modern Library Mass Market Paperbacks Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo was born February 26, 1802, in Besancon, France. As a child, Hugo's family moved often because his father was in the military. Later, in his adult years, Hugo married and had four children. He worked as a writer and produced many plays, poems, and novels. He is considered one of the greatest French writers of all time. When Hugo died on May 22, 1885, two million people attended his funeral in Paris. Hugo was inspired to write The Hunchback of Notre Dame because Paris's famous cathedral was in bad shape. He wanted to draw attention to Notre Dame, and hoped that people would remember its beauty and work to repair it.

Greg Rebis was born in Queens, New York, but mostly grew up in central Florida. After working in civic government, pizza delivery, music retail, and proofreading, he eventually landed work in publishing, film, and graphics. He currently lives and studies in Rhode Island and still loves art, sci-fi, and video games.

L. L. Owens has written more than 45 books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, including American Justice: Seven Famous Trials of the 20th Century. She enjoys reading great books, cooking, and listening to music. Ms. Owens lives in Seattle, Washington, and loves to explore the Pacific Northwest.

Biography

Novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist, politician, and leader of the French Romantic movement from 1830 on, Victor-Marie Hugo was born in Besançon, France, on February 26, 1802. Hugo's early childhood was turbulent: His father, Joseph-Léopold, traveled as a general in Napoléon Bonaparte's army, forcing the family to move frequently. Weary of this upheaval, Hugo's mother, Sophie, separated from her husband and settled in Paris. Victor's brilliance declared itself early in the form of illustrations, plays, and nationally recognized verse. Against his mother's wishes, the passionate young man fell in love and secretly became engaged to Adèle Foucher in 1819. Following the death of his mother, and self-supporting thanks to a royal pension granted for his first book of odes, Hugo wed Adèle in 1822.

In the 1820s and 1830s, Victor Hugo came into his own as a writer and figurehead of the new Romanticism, a movement that sought to liberate literature from its stultifying classical influences. His 1827 preface to the play Cromwell proclaimed a new aesthetic inspired by Shakespeare, based on the shock effects of juxtaposing the grotesque with the sublime. The great success of Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) confirmed Hugo's primacy among the Romantics.

By 1830 the Hugos had four children. Exhausted from her pregnancies and her husband's insatiable sexual demands, Adèle began to sleep alone, and soon fell in love with Hugo's best friend, the critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve. They began an affair. The Hugos stayed together as friends, and in 1833 Hugo met the actress Juliette Drouet, who would remain his primary mistress until her death 50 years later.

Personal tragedy pursued Hugo relentlessly. His jealous brother Eugène went permanently insane following Victor's wedding to Adèle. His daughter, Léopoldine, together with her unborn child and her devoted husband, died at 19 in a boating accident on the Seine. Hugo never fully recovered from this loss.

Political ups and downs ensued as well, following the shift of Hugo's early royalist sympathies toward liberalism during the late 1820s. He first held political office in 1843, and as he became more engaged in France's social troubles, he was elected to the Constitutional Assembly following the February Revolution of 1848. After Napoléon III's coup d'état in 1851, Hugo's open opposition created hostilities that ended in his flight abroad from the new government.

Declining at least two offers of amnesty -- which would have meant curtailing his opposition to the Empire -- Hugo remained in exile in the Channel Islands for 19 years, until the fall of Napoléon III in 1870. Meanwhile, the seclusion of the islands enabled Hugo to write some of his most famous verse as well as Les Misérables (1862). When he returned to Paris, the country hailed him as a hero. Hugo then weathered, within a brief period, the siege of Paris, the institutionalization of his daughter Adèle for insanity, and the death of his two sons. Despite this personal anguish, the aging author remained committed to political change. He became an internationally revered figure who helped to preserve and shape the Third Republic and democracy in France. Hugo's death on May 22, 1885, generated intense national mourning; more than two million people joined his funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he was buried.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Good To Know

Hugo was seen by his fans as a grand, larger-than-life character -- and rumors spread that he could eat half an ox in one sitting, fast for three days, and then work without stopping for a week.

Hugo owned a pet cat named Gavroche -- the name of one of the primary characters in Les Misérables.

The longest sentence ever written in literature is in Les Misérables; depending on the translation, it consists of about 800 words.

When Hugo published Les Misérables, he was on holiday. After not hearing anything about its reception for a few days, Hugo sent a telegram to his publisher, reading, simply:

"?"

The complete reply from the publisher:

"!"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Victor-Marie Hugo
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 26, 1802
    2. Place of Birth:
      Besançon, France
    1. Date of Death:
      May 22, 1885
    2. Place of Death:
      Paris, France

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER I

The Great Hall of the Palace of Justice Three hundred and forty-eight years, six months, and nineteen days ago, the good people of Paris awoke to the sound of all the bells pealing in the three districts of the Cité, the Université, and the Ville. The sixth of January, 1482, was, however, a day that history does not remember. There was nothing worthy of note in the event that set in motion early in the morning both the bells and the citizens of Paris. It was neither an assault of the Picards nor one of the Burgundians, nor a procession bearing the shrine of some saint, nor a student revolt in the vineyard of Laas, nor an entry of “our most feared Lord, Monsieur the King,” nor even a lovely hanging of thieves of either sex before the Palace of Justice of Paris. It was also not the arrival of some bedecked and befeathered ambassador, which was a frequent sight in the fifteenth century. It was barely two days since the last cavalcade of this kind had been seen, as the Flemish ambassadors commissioned to conclude a marriage between the Dauphin and Margaret of Flanders had entered Paris, to the great annoyance of the Cardinal de Bourbon, who, in order to please the King, had been obliged to receive the entire rustic crew of Flemish burgomasters with a gracious smile, and to entertain them at his Hôtel de Bourbon with “very elaborate morality plays, mummery, and farce,” while pouring rain drenched the magnificent tapestry at his door.

On the sixth of January, what moved the entire population of Paris was the double solemnity, as Jehan de Troyes describes it, united from time immemorial, of the Epiphany and the Festival of Fools.On that day there were to be fireworks on the Place de Grève, a may tree planted at the chapel of Braque, and a play performed at the Palace of Justice. Proclamation had been made to this effect on the preceding day, to the sound of trumpets in the public squares, by the Provost’s officers in fair coats of purple camlet, with large white crosses on the breast.

That morning, therefore, all the houses and shops remained shut, and crowds of citizens of both sexes could be seen wending their way toward one of the three places mentioned above. Each person had made a choice, for fireworks, may tree, or play. It must be observed, however, to the credit of the taste of Parisian riffraff, that the greater part of the crowd was proceeding toward the fireworks, which were quite appropriate to the season, or the play, which was to be represented in the great hall of the palace, which was well covered and protected, and that the curious agreed to let the poor leafless may tree shiver all alone beneath a January sky in the cemetery of the chapel of Braque.

All the avenues leading to the Palace of Justice were particularly crowded, because it was known that the Flemish ambassadors, who had arrived two days before, planned to attend the performance of the play, and the election of the Pope of Fools, which was also to take place in the great hall.

On that day, it was no easy matter to get into this great hall, though it was then reputed to be the largest covered space in the world. (It is true that Sauval had not yet measured the great hall of the Château of Montargis.) To the spectators at the windows, the palace yard crowded with people looked like a sea, into which five or six streets, like the mouths of so many rivers, disgorged their living streams. The waves of this sea, incessantly swelled by new arrivals, broke against the corners of the houses, projecting here and there like promontories into the irregular basin on the square. In the center of the lofty Gothic facade of the palace, the crowds moved relentlessly up and down the grand staircase in a double current interrupted by the central landing, and they poured incessantly into the square like a cascade into a lake. The cries, the laughter, and the trampling of thousands of feet produced a great din and clamor. From time to time this clamor and noise were redoubled; the current that propelled the crowd toward the grand staircase turned back, grew agitated, and whirled around. Sometimes it was a push made by an archer, or the horse of one of the Provost’s sergeants kicking and plunging to restore order—an admirable tradition, which the Provosty bequeathed to the constablery, the constablery to the maréchaussée, and the maréchaussée to the present gendarmerie of Paris.

At doors, windows, garret windows, on the rooftops of the houses, swarmed thousands of calm and honest bourgeois faces gazing at the palace and at the crowd, and desiring nothing more; for most of the good people of Paris are quite content with the sight of the spectators; a blank wall, behind which something or other is going forward, is to us an object of great curiosity.

If we could, mortals living in this year of 1830, imagine ourselves mixed up with those fifteenth-century Parisians, and if we could enter with them, shoved, elbowed, hustled, that immense hall of the palace so tightly packed, on the sixth of January, 1482, the sight would not be lacking in interest or in charm; and all that we should see around us would be so ancient as to appear absolutely new. If the reader pleases, we will endeavor to retrace in imagination the impressions that one would have experienced with us on crossing the threshold of the great hall, in the midst of this motley crowd, coated, gowned, or clothed in the paraphernalia of office.

In the first place, how one’s ears are stunned by the noise! How one’s eyes are dazzled! Overhead is a double roof of pointed arches, with carved wainscoting, painted sky blue, and studded with golden fleurs-de-lis; underfoot, a pavement of alternate squares of black and white marble. A few paces from us stands an enormous pillar, then another, and another; in all, seven pillars, intersecting the hall longitudinally, and supporting the thrust of the double-vaulted roof. Around the first four pillars are shops, glittering with glass and jewelery; and around the other three, oak benches worn and polished by the hosiery of the plaintiffs and the gowns of the attorneys. Along the lofty walls, between the doors, between the windows, between the pillars, is ranged the interminable series of all the kings of France ever since Pharamond: the indolent kings with pendant arms and downcast eyes; the valiant and warlike kings with heads and hands boldly raised toward heaven. The tall, pointed ogival windows are glazed with panes of a thousand hues; for exits there are rich doors, finely carved. The whole thing—ceiling, pillars, walls, wainscot, doors, statues—is covered from top to bottom with beautiful blue and gold paint, which was already somewhat faded at the time we are looking at it. It was almost entirely buried in dust and cobwebs in the year of grace 1549, when du Breul still admired it by tradition.

Now imagine that immense oblong hall, illuminated by the pale light of a January day, invaded by a motley and noisy crowd, pouring in along the walls and circling the pillars, and you will have a faint idea of the general whole of the picture, the curious details of which we shall endeavor to sketch in more precisely.

It is certain that if Ravaillac had not assassinated Henry IV there would have been no documents of his trial deposited in the Rolls Office of the Palace of Justice, and no accomplices interested in the destruction of those documents; consequently no obligatory fire, for lack of better means, to burn the Rolls Office in order to burn the documents, and to burn the Palace of Justice in order to burn the Rolls Office; therefore, there would have been no fire in 1618. The old palace would still be standing with its old great hall; and I might then say to the reader, “Go, look at it,” and thus we should both be spared trouble, myself the trouble of writing, and the reader that of perusing, a banal description. This demonstrates the novel truth—that great events have incalculable consequences.

It is, indeed, possible that Ravaillac had no accomplices and that even if he did, these accomplices had no hand in the fire of 1618. There are two other plausible explanations: first, the great “star of fire, a foot broad, and a foot and a half high,” which fell, as everybody knows, from the sky onto the Palace on the seventh of March, after midnight; second, this stanza of Théophile.

Certes, ce fut un triste jeu,
Quand à Paris dame Justice,
Pour avoir mangé trop d’épice,
Se mit tout le palais en feu.


Whatever one may think of this threefold explanation, political, physical, and lyrical, of the burning of the Palace of Justice in 1618, the fact of which we may unfortunately be certain is that there was a fire. Owing to this catastrophe, and, above all, to the successive restorations that have swept away what it spared, very little is now left of this elder Palace of the Louvre, already so ancient in the time of Philip the Fair that one had to search there for the traces of the magnificent buildings erected by King Robert and described by Hegaldus. Almost everything has vanished. What has become of the Chancery Chamber, where Saint Louis consummated his marriage? The garden where, reclining on carpets with Joinville, he administered justice, dressed in a camlet coat, an overcoat of sleeveless woolsey and, over all of this, a mantle of black serge? Where is the chamber of the Emperor Sigismond? That of Charles IV? Or that of Jean sans Terre? Where is the flight of steps from which Charles VI announced his edict of amnesty? The slab upon which Marcel murdered, in the presence of the Dauphin, Robert de Clermont and the Maréchal de Champagne? And the wicket where the Anti-Pope Benedict’s bulls were torn into pieces, and from which those who had brought them were seized, coped, and mitered in derision, and carried in procession through all Paris? And the great hall, with its gilding, its azure, its pointed arches, its statues, its pillars, its immense vaulted ceiling, broken up by and covered with carvings? And the gilded chamber? And the stone lion at the gate, kneeling, with head lowered and tail between his legs, like the lions of King Solomon’s throne, in the reverential attitude that befits strength in the presence of justice? And the beautiful doors? And the stained glass windows? And the wrought iron that discouraged Biscornette? And du Hancy’s delicate woodwork? What has time, what have men, wrought with these wonders? What has been given to us, in exchange for all this—for the history of the Gauls, for all this Gothic art? For the heavy, low arches of Monsieur de Brosse, for the clumsy architecture of the main entrance of Saint-Gervais? So much for art! And as for history, we have the voluble memory of great pillar, which still reverberates with the gossip of the Patrus.

Copyright 2002 by Victor Hugo
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Table of Contents

Book First
I. The Great Hall
II. Pierre Gringoire
III. The Cardinal
IV. Master Jacques Coppenole
V. Quasimodo
VI. Esmeralda
Book Second
I. From Charybdis to Scylla
II. The Grève
III. Besos Para Golpes
IV. The Inconveniences of Following a Pretty Woman in the Street at Night
V. The Rest of the Inconveniences
VI. The Broken Jug
VII. A Wedding Night
Book Third
I. Notre-Dame
II. A Bird's-eye View of Paris
Book Fourth
I. Kind Souls
II. Claude Frollo
III. Immanis Pecoris Custos, Immanior Ipse
IV. The Dog and his Master
V. More about Claude Frollo
VI. Unpopularity
Book Fifth
I. Abbas Beati Martini
II. The One Will Kill the Other
Book Sixth
I. An Impartial Glance at the Ancient Magistracy
II. The Rat-Hole
III. The Story of a Wheaten Cake
IV. A Tear for a Drop of Water
V. End of the Story of the Cake
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 254 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 245 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What There Is in a Bottle of Ink

    The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is an exquisite novel written by Victor Hugo during the Romantic era. The original title of the book was "Notre-Dame de Paris", as it was written as a statement to preserve the Notre-Dame cathedral. This book was finished on January 14th, 1831, just as Victor Hugo was running out of ink. Because of this, he was greatly tempted to title the novel, "What There Is in a Bottle of Ink".

    At the time Hugo was writing, respect for the cathedral's Gothic architecture had been lost. Notre-Dame was collapsing precipitately, as the damage it had suffered during the French revolution was continuously ignored. Throughout the novel, Hugo strives to represent the cathedral of Notre-Dame as the cultural and political symbol of Paris, and accordingly, France. Upon the publishing of the novel, Parisians progressively came to see Notre-Dame as a national monument of France. Shortly after, a restoration program of the cathedral began.

    Hugo claims the inspiration towards writing this novel came after discovering a carved word on a wall inside the cathedral of Notre-Dame: "anake," or fate (in Greek). Consequently, this is a story of destiny and fate. The characters within the novel do not believe in free will, but in fate, a subduing destiny that eradicates the very prospect of escaping such guidance. The pitiful Pierre Gringoire believes that it was providence that led him to la Esmeralda; in turn, archdeacon Claude Frollo deems that he is fated to love her. The characters' intense belief that fate overcomes free will is epitomized during a captivating scene in which Frollo watches as a fly is ensnared in a spider web. Indisputably, Hugo's illustrious characters become entwined vividly in fate as they compliment an unaltered destiny themselves; passionate albeit melodramatic, they each transpire as unchanging victims of fate.

    These characters are intricate and profound. As the novel unfolds, it depicts the tragic romance between the crude Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers and an abused gipsy named la Esmeralda. Also enveloped within this story of love are the lustful archdeacon Frollo, the homeless and broke poet Pierre Gringoire, and the lonely hunchback, Quasimodo the bell ringer.

    Quasimodo, for example, is contrasting and elaborate; although he embodies innocence and naiveté, he is loathed by the citizens of Paris because of his deformation. And despite the fact that Notre-Dame's church bells are his greatest passion, he is also deaf. Much like Quasimodo, the abandoned cathedral was not cared for, and was considered to be a heinous architecture. In this sense, Quasimodo is an amalgamation that mirrors the cathedral's own architectural deformities.

    The antagonist, archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, is not a black-hearted person. As an orphan, he was like a father to his brother, Jehen, and even brought up the abandoned Quasimodo. Once an epitome of virtue, he becomes tormented by his corrupt love for a gipsy, and dehumanized as jealousy consumes him.

    Therefore, I am compelled to say that within a bottle of ink there resides a delicate story of love and tragedy that sincerely demonstrates the genuine power a pen may possess in order to revive a cathedral that embodies such splendor and passion.

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 1, 2011

    Don't dismiss it so quickly

    I fisrt wanted to read this book because I like comparing movies to books. I wanted to see how close the 1996 Disney movie was (there are similarities but there are also alot of differences). This book did take me a long time to read, but it was mostly the first part. As boring as i found the first part, it is nessiary; it sets up the story and the characters. Once I started the secound part, it really picked up. I found myself wanting to read it more and more. Don't give up because you find the beginning boring, it will get better.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    "Why am I not made of stone like you"

    This is truely one of the best well writen books I have read. The first few chapters are pretty boring and hard to get through, but I promise the story will pick up and that you should just stick to it. Beside the amazing story the novle has a great deal of historical details of everyday life and of the architecture of Paris during the time. I felt very acomplished and releved when I finished this book. Because it is long, but worth reading!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2011

    Explanations to the most common complaints...

    "It is so wordy/rambling!" Yes. In Hugo's time, authors were paid by the word. Besides, Hugo is infamous for being long-winded and for managing to use his ramblings to create atmospheres that are second to none. This novel is Hugo at his wordy best, the somber and melancholy mood is greater than any other I can think of. "There are too many French words!" Aside from street names and titles, which are indeed merely proper nouns, this complaint holds no merit and I can assure you that a reader who knows not even one syllable of French will not find the language to be a barrier to enjoying this beautiful novel. "So many Catholic refrences and I'm not Catholic!" This one always cracks me up. Notre Dame. Notre Dame! Consider it a lesson in Catholicism if necessary, but my being a non-Catholic never kept me from finding the religious refrences to be anything but informative about the structure of a faith that I otherwise know very littly about. Relax and don't be scared off by these silly complaints. The novel is beloved for a very good reason and if you give it a good try, your literary experiences will be immesurably enriched for having read this. Enjoy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    "Alas! and you coldly see me weep? Child, do you know that those tears are burning lava? Is it then really true, -- in the man we hate, nothing moves us?" - Dom Cluade Frollo, Hunchback of Notre Dame

    Out of the many classics (and also the many current novels) of which I've read, Notre Dame is definitely the best. Beautifully crafted with memorable characters, Hugo has truly written a masterpiece, with a wondrous writing style that is beyond all else. Centered in Paris, during a period just after the middle ages, the story follows four different characters: the beautiful, enchanting Esmeralda; the stern, yet kind hearted Claude Frollo; the liberal, yet clueless philosopher Gringoire; and, of course, Quasimodo, the hunchback who wrings the bells of Notre Dame. Through the eyes of these characters, we see the impact of temptation, of love, and of misleading appearances, that the greatest heart may reside in the most crooked of bodies.

    Despite the title, though, little is actually told in Quasimodo's voice, but rather most of the story is told through the eyes of Gringoire and the priest Frollo. Another of the main aspects, is the actual structure of Notre Dame, and the immense loss in the art of architecture, which since the middle ages has continued to diminish as times progress. Just as a warning, do not read this book with the expectation that it will be like the popular Disney movie, it is completely different (in fact, it is better to think of them as two completely separate stories); both are very good, but both are vastly different!

    Stunningly executed, and definitely memorable, the Hunchback of Notre Dame makes the perfect read, classic or no!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2010

    A great read!

    Story is well written, the characters are portrayed really well, just an all around good book to read and I would even recommend watching the 1939 movie with Charles Laughton and Maureen O' Hara

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Wow

    By far the best classic I've ever read. This story is dark, with odd snippets of humor. The characters are all deeply obsessed with each other which brings out both the best and worst in humanity. An excellent classic and an excellent read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    Anything Hugo writes is great

    Hugo's characters are more intensely obsessed that those found in any other literature. Their passion draws the reader into the book in a way that no exciting, suspensive plot can do. His plots are amazing too--logical without being predictable, complex without confusing the reader. I love this author. This is my favorite book of his.<BR/><BR/>I also recommend anything by Alexandre Dumas, especially The Man with the Iron Mask.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2008

    Masterfully made!

    Victor Hugo did a masterful job when he wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame! It is though his pen gave it the gift of life when he wrote it, causing the characters, scenery, emotions, and circumstances to spring to life. If you are one who enjoys a thrilling book with an ability to transport you to another place and time, then read this book. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a tragic story, yet it contains just the right amount of humor and shows the reader that any kind of person be it a priest, a soldier, or an ordinary civilian can be just as deformed and deranged as a hideous hunchback.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2003

    The Hunchbook of Notre Dame

    A couple of months ago, while sitting in my local library, I spied on the table next to me a discarded copy of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'. That title had always fascinated me as a child, for I had watched, in my younger years, all of the many remake movies of it, but I had never actually read the book. Spring break had just started so I decided to take the book home and begin my reading journey through the old, torn pages. And in the blink of an eye, I was transported to the bustling world of medieval Paris, richly described in breath-taking detail. I could see the detail, the outline, as you will, of this Paris of our ancestors, that concealed within it, a story of love, life, and adventure. I meet the hunchback, Quasimodo, who like the reader himself, observed this beautiful city world from the outside, secluded in the great bell tower of Notre Dame. Dom Claude, the jealous priest, whose heart rotted with a mixture of passionate love and loathing disgust, and Esmerelda, the beautiful gypsy girl, who lived in a harsh world of poverty and crime located in the dark alleys of the Paris streets, hidden from the world. These characters, so different in nature and background, whose lives interweaved with a mixture of spell-binding love, sickening hate, and the unique ideas and adventures of life in the streets of Medieval Paris.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    945

    &#945

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Hunchback of Notre Dame

    This particular translation of the story is excellent. I first read this book when I was still in grade school. I loved it then & I loved it now. My daughter & I had the good fortune to spend 2 weeks in Paris not long ago. We made a bee-line to the Cathedral & savored exploring every nook & cranny both inside & out. We made the climb to the bell tower & we felt the spirit of Quasimodo all around us. (I made my daughter read the story when she was in high school).
    Victor Hugo is such a romantic. He does have a tendency to "go on" a bit, but I think it's important because he is so immersed in the story & characters so deeply. This should be required reading in all high schools. Victor Hugo is at the top of my list for favorite writers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Dont buy it!!!

    This book is so confusing!! Victor just goes on and on about stupid c**p that is not even related to the story. I had trouble understanding what was going on! This is by far the worst book i have ever read!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    FINE!!!

    SHE RUNS!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2012

    I thought this work was very good in some aspects- the character

    I thought this work was very good in some aspects- the characters for example and the setting, as well as plot. But I found the descriptions of the city itself hard to understand (on a first reading level). The langauge I liked as well as how loveable Quaisomodo is and how dispicable Claudo can be at times. Pheobus I personally thought was an okay guy with his flaws and all. I felt that Esmerelda was the character was the most relateable from a female perspective- her naivete, beauty, history- I all found interesting and great to read as well as her story. In terms of length I would say the pages are well worth the read. Claudo is a great villian and his hipocrsy is alarming and the impact of his emotions on the whole city is enormous. I'd recommend this for anyone who likes medival settings, a lustful archdeacon, a naive young lady and an outcast who come together for their own goals in life and their journeys both physically and spiritually.

    I'd have to say after reading this and comparing it to the Disney Movie- the movie wasn't that far away from the actual truth but understandable why they edited out things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Classic

    Long, to be sure, but good. I was so saddened by the ending, but I guess I should have expected it. I read it when I was 12 so I didn't get much out of it. I was surprised and shocked sometimes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    It was quiet a book

    I really dont like tradgeties but i wil make an exception for this one. There are alot of lessons woven into this storie that really make a person think. It was a sad story but one that help me see people, architecture, art, and history in a whole new light. If you dont mind taking in a dramatic tale then this is a story that should be read to better understand culture and history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Hunchback of notre dame

    A very good book
    I loved the discribing of what was going on and what happed/will happen

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Amazing book Amazing

    F

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Phenomenal Story

    "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo is a fictional story set in Paris, France & published in 1831. The novel became a classic & the Hunchback became a tragic hero as well as a cultural icon.

    January 6, 1482 is a holiday in Paris, France. The "Festival of Fools" is in full swing & the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, Quasimodo, is crowned as the Pope of Fools.

    Among the crowd is the beautiful Esmeralda, a gypsy girl with a kind heart & a mischievous goat. Esmeralda captured the hearts of many men including Quasimodo, Claude Frollo the Archdeacon of Notre Dame & Quasimodo's adopted father, as well as Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers.

    Frollo, who is torn between his heart's desire & the church's code, orders Quasimodo to kidnap Esmeralda. However, Quasimodo is captured by the guards, led by Captain Phoebus, who whip him & leave him tied down in the heat. Esmeralda offers him water, saves his life & captures his heart in the process.

    Frollo, up to his old tricks again, tried to kill Phoebus whom Esmeralda clearly prefers; however he fails & frames Esmeralda for the assassination. As she is led to the gallows, Quasimodo swings down from the tower & carries her off to the cathedral. Under the law Esmeralda is now in a sanctuary. The criminals of Paris charge the Cathedral to save her, the King who happens to be in Paris as well vetoes the law of sanctuary & commands his troops to capture & kill Esmeralda.

    Mistakenly Quasimodo believes that the criminals are trying to hurt his beloved & drives them off. Frollo however hands Esmeralda to the troops. While watching her hang, Quasimodo pushes Frollo off the tower to his untimely end.

    In a dark & disturbing ending, Quasimodo lies next to Esmeraldas's body in a mass grave, his arms around her, & eventually dies of starvation.

    This is a desperate & quite depressing novel. It is filled with the loneliness of 15th Century Paris, its dark corridors, streets & stench.

    The book tells the stories of three tragic & lonely figures. Claude Frollo, archdeacon of Notre Dame, La Esmeralda, an enchanting gypsy, & Quasimodo, the disfigured bell ringer as well as Frollo's adopted son. Surprisingly, Quasimodo has a small role in the book which was originally titled "Notre-Dame de Paris" or "Our Lady of Paris" - a much more appropriate, yet less imaginative title.

    The dark, brooding & punishing interactions between the complex characters are a mastery of storytelling. The relationships of the characters with themselves are also part of this complex plot. Frollo's struggle with Catholicism vs. desire & Esmeralda's unwillingness to accept a revolting creature for his good heart are only a two examples of what makes this story brilliant. The story is peppered with a few twists, some humor (as much as will allow in the brooding story arc) with sarcasm & mockery galore.

    The book's most frustrating point, & the one which discourages many seasoned readers, is the pages upon pages of descriptive images, whether the streets of Paris down to the cracks (it seems) in the sidewalks or the Notre Dame Cathedral, brick-by-brick almost. The pacing of the book moves unevenly, most of the novel takes place over a period of six month, however the final chapters shoot forward a year & a half or two years.

    Mr. Hugo got paid by the word, as were many other authors back then, however, once y

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