The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The tragic love of Quasimodo, ringer of the bells at Notre Dame cathedral, for the beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda. Much pulling of the heart-strings, a little adventure, and a finale including two bodies intertwined in the grave, turning to dust together. Hunchback is a masterpiece of Hugo’s, a massive epic that wrote the novel as though it were grand theatre, and inspired others who are recognized as masters in their own right – Balzac, Dickens, Proust.
Hugo gave us Quasimodo and Esmeralda, one of the great love stories of literature, but Hunchback is important, too, for its impact on the development of the novel: it is perhaps the first panoramic historical novel, sweeping all of life, the greatest and the smallest, into its narrative; it brought us the first central character whose primary role is to bear silent witness to the unfolding history of the time; it made beggars and street-urchins active players, characters in their own right. And Notre Dame, the famed cathedral – this book played a large part in making it what it is, the architecture of the place playing such a significant role that it spawned a revival in the gothic style and resulted in a massive restoration of the church.
It’s a big deal in literary history, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And nothing like the Disney version.
- Wiki on The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Victor Hugo
- Victor Hugo research portal
- Full text of The Hunchback of Notre Dame