The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Wordsworth Classics) (Wordsworth Collection)

by Victor Hugo | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1853260681 Global Overview for this book
Registered by cluricaune of Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on 7/7/2018
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Journal Entry 1 by cluricaune from Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Saturday, July 07, 2018
Victor Hugo was born in Besançon in 1802, and is considered one of the greatest French writers. He us best known, outside of France, for Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He died in 1885, and is interred in the Panthéon in Paris. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was first published in France in 1831, simply as "Notre-Dame de Paris". The first translation into English followed two years later.

I knew little about the book before reading it, though had assumed that most of the action would follow Quasimodo, the hunchback of the title, and Esmeralda, the gypsy girl he famously loves. I was a little surprised to find this wasn't the case and they share the lead with a number of other characters. (Pierre Gringoire, the playwright, and Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon at Notre Dame Cathedral are particularly significant. The book's title in French may be a little less misleading than its title in English). Quasi is, of course, the bell-ringer at Notre Dame, a foundling adopted by the cathedral's Archdeacon. He really has little going for him - he can only see out of one eye, and his years of bell ringing have left him deaf. Meanwhile, his outwards appearance means he's feared and reviled by the local population. Esmeralda, young, kind hearted and beautiful, is as widely loved as Quasi is despised. (In fact, it’s Esmeralda who is probably the book's most significant character). Many who live in the area around the Notre Dame love her for her street performances, others for her beauty. Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon and Quasimodo’s guardian, is one of those who falls for her – though, being a priest, this obviously stirs up a great deal of inner turmoil. This turmoil, in turn, causes a great deal of bother.

Largely an enjoyable book, though at times a touch over-descriptive. (There were sections that, I felt, rambled on unnecessarily and got in the way of the story. The whittering about the city’s architecture I found a little irritating, and Book Three – describing the Cathedral and the City – could have been trimmed a great deal). At times, too, he could be a little cruel about poor Quasimodo. (“But the darkness had robbed him of his most formidable weapon, his ugliness.”) However, when Hugo followed the characters and concentrated on the story, things were much more enjoyable.

Journal Entry 2 by cluricaune at Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Saturday, July 07, 2018
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Journal Entry 3 by cluricaune at Connolly Station in Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Thursday, April 25, 2019

Released 4 mos ago (4/25/2019 UTC) at Connolly Station in Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland

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