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The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Victor Hugo

Date of publication: 1831

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris) novel is set in 1482 in Paris, in and around the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. The book tells the story of a poor Gypsy girl (La Esmeralda) and a misshapen bell-ringer (Quasimodo) who was raised by the archdeacon (Claude Frollo). The book was written as a statement to preserve the Notre Dame cathedral and not to 'modernize' it, as Hugo was thoroughly against.

Plot Summary

In fifteenth century Paris, the townspeople are celebrating the festival of Epiphany where Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer, is elected the Pope of Fools. Quasimodo later attempts to kidnap the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda, with whom Frollo, his guardian, has grown increasingly obsessed. Esmeralda is saved by Captain Phoebus, with whom she falls madly in love. Quasimodo is put on trial for the attempted kidnapping of Esmeralda, and he is put in the stocks by a deaf judge who misinterpreted Quasimodo's own deafness. Afterwards, Esmeralda has pity on Quasimodo and brings him water to ease his suffering...
(From
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Main topics: love, physical anomaly, beauty, bohemian, clergy, church, fatality, woman, homicide, outlaws, monster, death, passion, sin, death penalty, people, vagrants, city.

Full original french version also available:
Notre Dame de Paris