PDF | Victor Hugo's Notre‐Dame de Paris () was translated for English readers as The Hunchback of Notre‐Dame in One year later, Quasimodo. Victor Hugo and NotreDame de Paris. Hugo was a pioneer of the Romantic Movement in literature, which stressed individual experience over classical themes. By Victor Hugo. Set in medieval Paris, it tells the story of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned as a witch by the tormented archdeacon Claude Frollo.
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Notre-Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions. Ombres”; in fiction, “Notre Dame de Paris” (); in the drama, “Le Roi s'Amuse, ” . Victor Hugo, in “Notre Dame,” was animated by a quite other spirit. After the. In 1 Victor Hugo again obtained the prize for his . 1 83 1, appeared his N otre- Dame de Paris co mpared to his description of Notre- Dame, and the m ys .
Leaving aside the tragic love for the beautiful Esmeralda by that most timeless of characters, Quasimodo, the novel is an important gauge of nineteenth-century medievalism and a wonderful point of entry for students coming to the European Middle Ages for the first time. And although Hugo had no formal training in medieval history or literature, he truly ought to be considered something of a medievalist avant la lettre. The availability of multiple screen versions of the novel further make The Hunchback of Notre Dame an eminently teachable text. A few of these will be mentioned below. The plot itself needs little introduction. It tells the story of a beautiful gypsy street dancer who is condemned as a witch by the archdeacon Claude Frollo who simultaneously lusts after her.
Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame of Paris, trans. John Sturrock ; London: Penguin, , 82; hereafter cited parenthetically. Google Scholar 2. Google Scholar 4. Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, ed. Michael Holquist trans. Google Scholar 5. Google Scholar 7. His forays into alchemy, on the other hand, are evidence of his wish to test the limits of his imprisonment whilst avoiding a fuller exploration of his freedom.
It would be very easy to ascribe the blame for Frollo's actions to the Church which raised him and its misogynistic creed, but that interpretation simply cannot be made.
Frollo's trajectory, then, can be seen as that of a man who exchanges the dogmas of Christianity for the tyrannical freedom of amorality, and in refusing to use his freedom to better mankind, meets his death.
By this point he has realised that he wants La Esmeralda more than anything else, and all his passion for alchemy and astrology has been transferred to this new object.
Frollo's transformation, then, should not be seen as that of an asexual being developing sexuality, but rather of someone possessed of the creative fire beginning to expend that energy to fulfil sexual ends. Hugo shows us, however, that there are other ways of applying one's energy to a more positive conclusion, and this is exhibited by the character of Quasimodo.
Richards, , p. Quasimodo Frollo's sexual awakening is bound up with that of his adopted son. Quasimodo begins the novel as a stone-like figure, constantly compared with the architecture of the cathedral he inhabits, and even seen as an extension of it. His only personal contact is with the father figure of Frollo, and so he has developed a sexualised mother-son relationship with Notre- Dame.
The tear he sheds at receiving this pity is an apt metaphor for the awakening of his human, and therefore sexual, nature. Commonly, we would understand dryness and coldness to represent sexual aridity — thus Quasimodo and Frollo both begin the novel in the cold, dry darkness of Notre-Dame—Frollo spends a great deal of his time in his dank chamber, and when he does confess his love to La Esmeralda, it is in an underground cell; moisture and warmth, therefore, are signs of life.
While Quasimodo and Frollo are both moved to transformation by La Esmeralda, they both adapt to their new selves in very different ways. While Frollo, the great controller, cannot help but view La Esmeralda as an object, Quasimodo, ever the servant, finds in the gypsy a way to be free.
First, however, we must ask ourselves if the hunchback is sexually attracted to La Esmeralda. After her rescue from execution, she and Quasimodo engage in laconic conversation, and the hunchback covers his eyes as the gypsy dresses. While Frollo invades La Esmeralda's privacy and forces her constantly to be on show see previous chapter , Quasimodo recognizes the gypsy's subjecthood.
Aime moi! When Frollo envisages himself as a sexual being, he takes desire too far, turning it into obsession and falling into darkness. Quasimodo, on the other hand, breaks through the barriers separating himself from society and ends the novel as a Hero, who has defended the one he loves to the best of his abilities and dies faithfully by the gypsy's side. Both Quasimodo and Frollo have played these respective roles for so long that they have become a part of their identities.
Quasimodo is subservient to Frollo even during La Esmeralda's aslyum in the cathedral, when Frollo harasses her in the night and Quasimodo 27 See, for instance, N.
Further supporting this is the fact that he gives the gypsy a whistle to call him if she finds herself in danger. So while Quasimodo's transformation looks at first sight as if he has merely changed masters, the point is that he has chosen to serve another, and this indicates another difference between the hunchback and his master.
Deaf, mute, half-blind and chronically ugly, he is almost automatically excluded from sexual society. However, he is better placed to assume subjecthood than his master: as an orphan he has no natural parental authority to overthrow, just the overlordship of a man who proves himself increasingly unworthy of this role. The turning point, as previously mentioned, is when La Esmeralda shows him compassion on the pillory. This act of compassion, freely given and with no ulterior motive, gives Quasimodo another figure in his life, which has henceforth been largely solitary.
The first act of compassion he received was his adoption, which Frollo effected as a dedication to his brother's soul. From the very beginning of their relationship, then, Quasimodo was an object to Frollo, and only by being treated as a subject by the gypsy could he actually grow into the role. Now a subject, in control of his life, Quasimodo is able to answer a question which pervades Notre-Dame de Paris.
How should we love? It is obvious that the type of love expressed by Frollo, which is brooding, objectifying and obsessive, is an inadequate answer. Given that the Divine Comedy is about Dante's salvation through the person of Beatrice, a development of the stilnovisto philosophy of love which resolves the question of love versus duty, it is not surprising that we should find it referenced in this novel.
Jacoff, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, , p. However, while Frollo treats the gypsy as an instrument of his pleasure, Quasimodo treats her as a person, and through this solidarity validates his subjecthood.
He usually finds his own ugliness reflected in the eyes of the gypsy. He is beautiful in this moment because he is close to her and she does not shudder at the very sight of him. By not sexualizing his relationship with La Esmeralda, Quasimodo is able to relieve La Esmeralda of her need to perform, because her beauty has no need of exhibition. This is the kind of love which Hugo advocates in Notre-Dame de Paris, the kind between two equal, and beautiful, subjects.
While Quasimodo's asexuality is well established, however, the nature of the novel's female protagonist requires investigation. La Esmeralda While Frollo is barred from sexual society by his religious vows, and Quasimodo by his biological difformity, we find no such reason to exclude La Esmeralda. And yet it is around her that the narrative's action revolves. She is no femme fatale, the ruin of men, like Matilda in The Monk and other female characters stretching back to Helen of Troy. She is the object of many men's desires, but there is no suggestion in the novel that she tries to elicit such feelings, or play upon her obvious attractiveness.
Coupled with a timidity on the part of directors to present the churchman Frollo as such a predator, we can see that audiences in the 20th Century have been more prepared to accept a seductress than the truly innocent creature that Hugo has written. To what extent can La Esmeralda be seen as a character fully aware of her sexuality? Her epiphany of realism was only a momentary descent to Earth for this dreamer.
This streak of self-sacrifice, which is absent in the captain and in Gringoire, is the cause of her death, just as it is for Quasimodo. It is interesting, then, that whereas Quasimodo and Frollo die because they transform and are unable to reconcile their internal contradictions, it is in fact La Esmeralda's refusal to change, to compromise sexually, which damns her. Two explanations of the gypsy's effect on Frollo need examination. Grossman, on the other hand, views the attraction as a father-daughter one.
I think what Grossman is overstating here is Frollo's age. Although the archdeacon is bald, angular, and precociously responsible for Jehan and then for Quasimodo , he is a man in his thirties. The age that the modern reader associates with Frollo is socially constructed — it is a way of separating Frollo from the object of his obsession to justify the taboo of the situation.
In Hugo's time, the mere fact of Frollo's being a priest would be enough to establish this taboo. In viewing it as father-daughter relationship, Grossman is overthinking the situation — Frollo is simply a relatively young man who finds himself stirred both sexually and philosophically by the dual taboo of the gypsy dancer, a beautiful and forbidden woman.
In this sense, Baudouin's analysis, while it relies on a knowledge of the author not possible to every reader, is closer to the situation in the novel — the attraction of a man to a spectacle. La Esmeralda's sense of identity is tied up with her chastity—the shoe she keeps as an amulet could be read as a metaphor for the parental safeguarding of her virginity. Regarded as a virtue at the time in which the novel was set, it has since lost its significance in a sexualized society.
At the time of the novel's publication, however, virginity was held in esteem and it is notable that Hugo, for all his bravery in tackling social norms, does not allow his virgin heroine to die deflowered. Please download only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. The Great Hall 3 2. Pierre Gringoire 17 3. Monsieur the Cardinal 27 4. Master Jacques Coppenole 33 5.
Quasimodo 42 6. From Charybdis to Scylla 52 2.
Besos Para Golpes 57 4. Sequel of the Inconveniences 71 6. The Broken Pitcher 73 7. Notre-Dame 2. Good Souls 2. Immanis Pecoris Custos Immanior Ipse 4.
The Dog and His Master 5.
More About Claude Frollo 6. Abbas Beati Martini 2. An Impartial Glance at the Ancient Magistracy 2.
The Rat Hole 3. The Story of a Cake 4. A Tear for a Drop of Water 5. The Bells 4. The Two Men Dressed in Black 6. The Effect of Swearing in Public 7.
The Phantom Priest 8. The Coin Changed into a Dry Leaf 2. Sequel to the Coin Changed into a Dry Leaf 3. End of the Coin Changed into a Dry Leaf 4. Lasciate Ogni Speranza 5. The Mother 6. Fever 2. Hunchbacked, One-eyed, Lame 3. Deaf 4. Earthenware and Crystal 5.
The Key to the Porte-Rouge 6. Turn Truand 3. Hurray for the Gay Life! An Awkward Friend 5. The Password 7. The Little Shoe 2.
As a new century dawned, the novel became reinvigorated by the advent of cinema. This film camera enabled Hugo to make his mark on yet another creative medium from beyond the grave, having already been prolific in poetry, novel writing, theater, the graphic arts, and even interior design. Conversely, that other literary classic has yet to translate as remarkably to the big screen as his Gothic drama.