Illustration from Victor Hugo et son temps Victor Hugo began writing Notre-Dame de Paris in , largely to make his contemporaries more aware of the value of the Gothic architecture, which was neglected and often destroyed to be replaced by new buildings or defaced by replacement of parts of buildings in a newer style. For instance, the medieval stained glass panels of Notre-Dame de Paris had been replaced by white glass to let more light into the church. In the summer of , Gosselin demanded that Hugo complete the book by February Beginning in September , Hugo worked nonstop on the project thereafter. The gypsy Esmeralda born as Agnes 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.

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Jan 23, Melissa Rudder rated it it was amazing I have officially been wooed by nineteenth century French literature. First Dumas and now this. First off: very, very difficult book to get into. I struggled through at least the first hundred pages, and Im not that hard to please. Secondly, up until this point, I have officially been wooed by nineteenth century French literature. Secondly, up until this point, I had always thought that abridged novels were ridiculous.

How could the editors take parts out and still have the story make sense? Upon reading unabridged Hugo, I understand. The man had complete chapters devoted to discussing the history of Paris or the history of the cathedral, and while I admit that it was a clever way to show off his knowledge and spread his political ideals, it was not what I bargained for. They just tried to secularize him to an equivalent position. I argue that Frollo was the protagonist. The story spent most of its time with him: his internal struggle, his plotting.

And his character was fantastic! He was underhanded, but I pitied him. He was pathetic, but I feared him. He did evil, but I loved him. Frollo was not simply a powerful villain; he was a dynamic, complex character that, at times, the reader could really sympathize with. The other characters in the novel were equally impressive.

I especially enjoyed one episode where Quasimodo was being questioned in court. The irony is that the judge was doing the same thing. Hugo created a deaf judge. Anyway, a funny scene ensued, and Hugo made his point. I was afraid.

I was scared that after stringing me along, Hugo was going to kill it at the end. And, to further please the happy reader, there were a million good quotes. That is to be two, and yet one. A man and a woman joined, as into an ange; that is heaven!

The small thing shall bring down the great things; a tooth triumphs over a whole carcass. The novel was difficult, but well worth the effort.


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