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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  177,570 ratings  ·  5,292 reviews
This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that g ...more
Paperback, 510 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Signet Classics (first published January 14th 1831)
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Katie It is similar in style, but the story is different. This book focuses more on the cathedral than any one character, that one reads much more like a tr…moreIt is similar in style, but the story is different. This book focuses more on the cathedral than any one character, that one reads much more like a traditional story, with characters we spend lots of time with.(less)
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Bill Kerwin
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I recently read Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris for the first time, and was delighted and moved by the experience. Although it lacks the depth and humanity of Les Miserables, it possesses a grandeur of architectonic structure and an Olympian compassion all its own. Best of all, it gives us one of literature's most loving and detailed depictions of a city, rivaled only by Joyce's Dublin in Ulysses.

It is a shame that this book is so seldom referred to in English by its given name, for it is abou
Melissa Rudder
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have officially been wooed by nineteenth century French literature. First Dumas and now this. I just finished reading Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and it was fantastic. The characters, the themes, the literary structures… Ahhh… *swoons*

Before I proclaim my love affair with Victor Hugo, I have to mention some negatives. First off: very, very difficult book to get into. I struggled through at least the first hundred pages, and I’m not that hard to please. Secondly, up until this po
Jul 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Okay, I'm glad I read this book, if only to find out just how badly Disney ruined the story for the sake of their embarassing excuse for a film. (the horrendous straight-to-video sequel, which I fortunately only saw previews for, will not be spoken of at all.) Victor Hugo has a gift for the most ungodly depressing stories, but he writes very well when he's not rambling pointlessly to stretch out his page count. But I can't bring myself to give this four stars, and for one simple reason: with the ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
922. Notre-Dame de Paris = Our Lady of Paris = The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a French Romantic/Gothic novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831.

The story is set in Paris in 1482 during the reign of Louis XI. 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 an
While reading this book I started to notice how little the Hunchback is in it. A Goodreads friend mentioned that this is why the title for it in France is actually "Our Lady of Paris". For some reason, English translations chose the the Hunchback for the title.

If other books, movies, or TV shows named themselves based on a character that was involved as much as Quasimodo was in this story, here is what they would be called:

Star Wars = Chewbacca
Harry Potter = Neville Longbottom
The Big Bang Theory
Victor Hugo ties in the destinies of a handful people in Paris in the late fifteenth century so cleverly and atmospheric together in a tragedy, that it belongs to the most known dramas’ in European literature. The significance of this work is based on the psychological archetypes that Hugo portrays as tragic characters. The author characterized the underlying society with particular destinies and psychographics.
Church, nobility, poets and criminality of the contemporary Paris, which are here re
Amalia Gkavea
“Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.”
Katie Lumsden
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting read – I enjoyed this, though not as much as Les Miserables. The characters were complex and interesting and the ending very powerful, but it didn't quite hold my attention as much as Les Miserables. ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Chelsea by: mary howe
ok... i'll be honest. i hated the first 150 pages and had i not been reading it for book club i would have abandoned it. about 300 pages in i started to think it was okay. around 400... i really liked it. at page 450 i couldn't put it down. i stayed up till 2am last night finishing it.

so... is it worth the painful first half to get to the second half? now that i've done it... i would say so.

victor hugo could have used a good editor. pages and pages of diatribes and descriptions that made me fe
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is one of my all-time favourite novels and so it's odd that I've never read any of his other books. In order to fill in the gaps in my reading, I've decided to read at least one classic a month this year and am so glad I started with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Wow, wow... WOW! What a freaking good story! It's not quite as good as Les Mis but it's still incredible. At times Hugo can be long-winded and I could have thrown the Kindle across the room when he rambled on ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a review of the book itself, but rather a sampler of its English translations. Since the ratio of English readers of Hugo to English translators of Hugo is perilously close to 1:1, I thought a quick taste test was in order, so I've whipped up this plateau d'amuse-gueules so that you can find your favorite. I've compiled as many versions of the opening paragraph(s) as I could find online; I had no luck unearthing Hazlitt [1833], but most of the others are here. I've ended with Hugo's o ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If these stones could speak …

Victor Hugo wrote this book in 1829, largely to make his contemporaries more aware of the value of the Gothic architecture, which was neglected and often destroyed, only to be replaced by new buildings or defaced by replacing parts of buildings in a newer style (such as the beautiful glass window of Nôtre Dame).

The actual French title translates to „Our Lady in Paris“ as it is not really about Quasimodo but about the cathedral of Nôtre Dame.

Now, in order to under
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Vibrant scenes, full of irony but also one of the most trope filled books I’ve read. The Hunchback of the Notre Dame is much more like a Disney movie than I expected: predictable, fun and with solid production value a.k.a. writing by Hugo.

No better way to keep somebody waiting patiently than to swear to them that you will start immediately
This tale, with an almost execution in book two and some miraculous saves and a beauty with an animal companion (Djali the spelling, golden horned and
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Who knows, maybe I'm one of the only people in existence who enjoy good long novels about buildings. But then, there are a lot of fans of Follet's Pillars of the Earth, so maybe not.

Are people the thing? Or is it place? Or what happens when we start confusing a place with the persons within it?

Notre-Dame is a misshapen monster with a lumpy heart and a lumpy head. Or wait, is that Quasimodo? Is Esmeralda a good-natured gypsy dancer or is the spine of Paris itself?

Seen this way, the whole tragedy
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Long descriptions lovers <3
Recommended to Denisse by: Disney movie. I know, so cliché
Buddy Read at: Emma's Tea Party

Oh my God! My brain is exhausted. I used too many neurons for this. I want to take a nap. I really wanted to love the book. In my defense I did like Frollo’s character. He has a very interesting and intense problem to read going on in his head. Sadly everyone else did not set up a thing on me. Alongside those endless descriptions, I found this story way too long and tedious. The writing is excellent, the passion behind it really inspiring but I’m just not interest
Brett C
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was a great story! I can't believe it took me this long to discover this book. This is my first Victor Hugo attempt and I really enjoyed it.

It may be detail heavy on certain things, may ramble and go into seemingly different directions, and may go overboard on certain descriptors: but it adds character to the story and gives the characters more dimension.

The story centers on Esmeralda, a local Gypsy girl, trying to discover her past.

Unfortunately, she is the focus of unhealthy obsession fro
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it

I really enjoyed this! It was WAY more accessible than I thought it would be, and the story was very easy to follow (although there were a handful of characters it took me a while to keep straight). The story was fun, dramatic, and filled with anxious, fast-paced scenes but also very sad, insightful moments. I also really enjoy Hugo's writing style.
I'm now quite resigned to being disappointed in books that are written by my favourite classical authors. It looks like I'm in the process of discovering at least one book by each of them to my dislike. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is Victor Hugo's contribution to that lot. But it is still disheartening when a book you liked as a teen becomes a total nightmare as an adult. Perhaps it is not fair for me to draw a comparison like that, for I understand now that what I've read and liked as a teen w ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There is all that I ever loved" ...more
It’s quite a few years since I last listened to an audio book. Years ago I used to take out audiobooks on CD from my local library and listen to them when I was driving, but then car manufacturers stopped putting CD players in cars, and for various reasons I didn’t get into the habit of listening to audiobooks via downloads, until now. There’s a moderate but limited selection available from same library, so I decided to start with Victor Hugo’s meandering but majestic novel, which I’d never befo ...more
I want to state clearly that the book is not bad. I gave it two stars, and by that I mean it is OK! First of all, there are some really gorgeous lines. Secondly, Hugo has the ability to put you in the middle of an event; you are right there and it is whirling around you. Thirdly, he has a talent for weaving non-fictional facts into a fictional story.

Sometimes the writing feels wordy. Other times, Hugo expresses himself superbly, beautifully, elegantly.

The fictional elements are what give me the
♔ Leah.
This is definitely my favourite classic, I loved the dark atmosphere of the book, and the setting being Notre-Dame, which is one of my favourite places in Paris. It's not entirely dark and horrible, there are times when it can be humorous, but it's brutal in terms of showing what obsession can become when it's misunderstood as love and the true form of love shown by other characters.

When starting this book, it was really difficult to get into which is why I had to force myself to keep reading u
Victor Hugo’s first real novel, written under duress from his publisher!! Nevertheless, he manages to render a dark environment joyous, almost funny at times.

For me, the protagonist is not Quasimodo but Esmeralda. It’s her inner and outer struggles we have access to the most. As usual, Victor Hugo portrayed them realistically, neither all good nor all bad, thus humane and credible. Even Gringoire and Claude are portrayed that way, as human beings subjected to primal instincts and humane spiritu
Daniel Chaikin
Was this a just fairy tale? I mean a darker fairy tale, where the frog didn’t get kissed, and instead ran away with the goat? (That’s a little of a spoiler). No, seriously, Hugo put a lot of time into researching this Paris of 1482, and this Cathedral, but he held off writing it until time became desperate, this according to Andre Maurois in the afterword. Then, he spent weeks locked in a room, wearing a head-to-toe sweater that he couldn’t leave the house in, and crunched out the actual text. S ...more
This book was one of the most arduous reads ever!!! I can’t remember the last time it took me a month to read a book.
This is a story of love and obsession. It’s centre point is the Notre Dame Cathedral. There were so many side characters and interruptions, the story just bogged down. All I want to know is where was Quasimodo, the “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He didn’t really figure for at least two thirds of the book. The highlights were when he was front and centre, otherwise the book was a total
I loved this book in College. Dark and gothic. Talk about alienation, this book got that right and one of the most memorable characters. The ultimate alienation story.
Charlotte May
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
A really tough slog for me I found.... maybe I'll try it again in the future, but I really had to push myself to finish this. ...more
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know about you, but I think about obsessional crimes and stalking as modern phenomena, exacerbated by life in huge cities. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame demonstrates that there is truly nothing new under the sun. Victor Hugo wrote this tale of obsession in the 1800s. The gypsy girl, La Esmeralda, has the misfortune of attracting the obsessional gaze of two men, the archdeacon Claude Frollo and his protégé, the deformed bell-ringer of the cathedral, Quasimodo. She, in her turn, is fixated o ...more
Yara (The Narratologist)
Disney lied to us.

Let me specify.

You probably guessed that Victor Hugo’s novel does not have dancing gargoyles or Wizard of Oz references, but it goes much deeper than that. In fact, we can trace its primary misdirection back to whoever first decided on the English translation of the title of the book: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. This implies that the main character of the story is Quasimodo, the misformed outcast with a heart of gold who longs to spend oooone daaay ooouuut theeeeere. Howe
Rinda Elwakil
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“God helps the outcasts.”
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Victor Hugo, in full Victor-Marie Hugo, poet, playwrighter, novelist, dramatist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights campaigner, and perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France, who was the most important of the French Romantic writers. Though regarded in France as one of that country’s greatest poets, he is better known abroad for such novels as Notre-Dam ...more

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