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Notre-Dame de Paris (Oxford World's Classics)

4.2 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0192837011
ISBN-10: 019283701X
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Editorial Reviews


"Good text with excellent bio-bibliographical chronology. I shall be happy to recommend it. I do not teach a class in which it would be a textbook, but I may well use it for examples in translation studies scholarship."--Marilyn Gaddis Rose, Binghamton University

From the Back Cover

Three extraordinary characters caught in a web of fatal obsession are at the center of Hugo's novel. The grotesque hunchback Quasimodo, bell-ringer of Notre - Dame, owes his life to the austere archdeacon, Claude Frollo, who in turn is bound by a hopeless passion to the gypsy dancer Esmeralda. She, meanwhile, is bewitched by a handsome, empty-headed officer, but by an unthinking act of kindness wins Quasimodo's selfless devotion. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019283701X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192837011
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,533,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The novel which is so poorly mistranslated as "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" is one which sadly few people have read. Disney has done this novel a great injustice. Hugo paints an elaborate and incredible picture of 15th-century Paris. The main character is not Quasimodo, the infamous hunchback, but rather the cathedral of Notre Dame itself. It is a complex and powerful character who shifts dramatically depending on who percieves it. Hugo is a brilliant writer; each image is beautiful, each line a poem. The book is four hundred pages of pure poetry. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who appreciates good literature.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I still do not have the faintest idea as to why Disney could possibly make this book into a children's movie. First of all, I would rate the unabridged book itself "PG-13"...but anyway. This book, more popularly known as "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" (even though the plot circles around the Cathedral, not Quasimodo) is like a twisted "Romeo and Juliet" story sans star-crossed lovers. The real protagonist (in my opinion) is Esmarelda, the sixteen year old gypsy dancer. She falls passionatly in love with the chauvanistic stuff-shirt Captain Pheobus whotakes advatage of her love while meanwhile courting a young, rich noblewoman. Meanwhile, both Quasimodo the deaf bell-ringer and Claude Frollo the fanatical archdeacon fall madly in love with Esmerelda. So naturally things get quite chaotic when the gypsy is sentanced to death for "murdering" the captain. The action so is spectacular, especially the siege of Notre Dame, that I almost forgot I was reading it, not actually standing in Place de la Greve watching it all happen. Hopefully I don't give too much away when I say yes, there is a heck of a lot of dying going on throughout the book. This book, unfortunately, does have its long, slow, boring parts too...such as the beginning--just get through it and you'll be alright. And unless you are an ardent scholar of mideival architecture or French history, go ahead and skip the chapters titled "Notre-Dame" and "A birds eye view of Paris". P.S: my favorite part...Esmarelda's "marriage" to Pierre Gringiore, and also Gringiore's unhealthy obsession with the gypsy's goat
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unlike a great number of the people giving this book a positive review, I was and still am a fan of Disney's movie. Yes, the movie distorted the book quite liberally--but this is to be expected of a children's film adaptation. I view the movie's existence as positive since it encourages older fans of the movie to go and seek Hugo's book to get the complete story. It is a sad fact that most people have never read the book, however, the Disney movie brought attention back to it--a victory, in my opinion.

As far as the book itself, it was marvelous! Hugo's writing style is ornate and an artistic work in itself. As far as who the main character is, I would daresay that this is up to the reader's interpretation. I agree with the fact that the British translation regarding the title is misleading, as I find Quasimodo to be a bit distant from the focus of the book.

Hugo seemed to be preoccupied with portraying both Notre Dame and 15th Century Parisian society when writing this book. From that stance, it would seem as though both Cathedral and time period were the protagonists of the story.

As far as in-context, living characters, I would again like to state that Quasimodo is not whom I would nominate as protagonist. Esmeralda is a tempting choice, however, she is not given too much detail as far as personality. I would daresay that the most developed character in the book is the antagonist, Claude Frollo. I could write volumes on this character alone, as he is my favourite. If he weren't already antagonist, I would deem him a good candidate for protagonist.

Ah, Claude Frollo. He is the main reason behind my love for the book. (To Disney fans--his story does not unfold as in the movie!
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Format: Paperback
The story takes place in 1482 and 1483, when Paris's center was, as today, the Ile de France, surrounded by the Seine, where there emerges the marvelous Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, a work of the people, of the years, and of Gothic architecture. The book begins with the popular festival where Quasimodo is crowned as Ugly King. Quasimodo is a deformed creature: hunchback, deaf, blind in one eye, but in posession of an extraordinary physical strength. Abandoned, as a four-year-old, at the Cathedral's gate, he was adopted by Claude Frollo, the arch-deacon of the cathedral, a nobleman with a tragic story and a younger brother who, in spite of having been nurtured and loved by Claude, has betrayed him with his licentious and illegal behavior. Frollo hates women, in particular the young gypsy Esmeralda, a lovely young girl who, with her white goat, dances, sings, and divines the future, to the scandal of the good consciences, including Frollo.

This is one of the most powerful stories ever created, a masterful adventure into the depths of the late Middle Ages. Surrounding the tragic love story between Esmeralda and the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a deep reflection on the demise of Medieval times and the slow but inevitable onset of the Renaissance. Hugo inserts chapters about the Cathedral's history and the description of Medieval Paris, its different neighborhoods and urbanistic setting. Frollo explains, to his astonished listeners, how and why the invention of printed books will mean the death of Architecture, at least as an art. "The book will kill the building", he says, because the printed book "is the greatest event of humanity. It is the mother of Revolutions". Before the press, the Church was able to control thought and speech.
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