Notre-Dame de Paris

By Victor Hugo ; Alban Krailsheimer | Go to book overview

II
THIS WILL KILL THAT

OUR lady readers will forgive us if we stop for a moment to look for what thought might lie hidden behind the archdeacon's enigmatic words: 'This will kill that, the book will kill the building.'

In our view, that thought was twofold. First of all it was a priest's way of thinking. It was priestly dread in the face of a new agent: printing. It was the terror and confusion of the man of the sanctuary dazzled by the light shining from Gutenberg's press. It was the pulpit and the manuscript, the spoken and the written word, taking fright at the printed word; something like the stupefaction of a sparrow seeing the angel Legion spreading his six million wings. It was the cry of the prophet who already hears the clamorous swarming of emancipated mankind, who foresees intelligence undermining faith, opinion dethroning belief, the world shaking off Rome. The philosopher's forecast, as he sees human thought, volatilized by the printing press, evaporate out of its theological container. The soldier's terror as he examines the bronze battering ram and says: 'The tower will crumble.' It meant that one power would succeed another. It meant: the printing press will kill the Church.

But beneath that thought, no doubt the first and simplest one, there was in our view another, newer one, less easily perceived and more easily challenged, a view just as philosophical, no longer that of the priest alone, but of the scholar and the artist. It was the presentiment that in changing its form human thought was going to change its mode of expression, that the most important idea of each generation would no longer be written in the same material and in the same way, that the book of stone, so solid and durable, would give way to the book of paper, even more solid and durable. In that connection the archdeacon's vague formula had a second meaning; it signified that one

-192-

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Notre-Dame de Paris
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Notre-Dame De Paris i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on the Text xxvi
  • Select Bibliography xxvii
  • A Chronology of Victor Hugo xxviii
  • Table of Contents 3
  • Note to the First Edition 7
  • Book One 13
  • I The Great Hall 13
  • II Pierre Gringoire 28
  • III Monsieur Le Cardinal 38
  • IV Maître Jacques Coppenole 45
  • V Quasimodo 54
  • VI La Esmeralda 61
  • Book Two 65
  • II The Place de Grève 68
  • III Besos Para Golpes⋆ 71
  • IV The Disadvantages of Following a Pretty Woman Through the Streets at Night 81
  • V The Disadvantages (Continued) 86
  • VI The Broken Pitcher 89
  • VII A Wedding Night 108
  • Book Three 119
  • I Notre-Dame 119
  • II A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 128
  • Book Four 153
  • I Kind Souls 153
  • II Claude Frollo 157
  • III Immanis Pecoris Custos Immanior Ipse⋆ [Of a Monstrous Flock a Still More Monstrous Keeper] 163
  • IV The Dog and His Master 171
  • V Claude Frollo (Continued) 173
  • VI Popularity 180
  • Book Five 181
  • I Abbas Beati Martini [The Abbot of Saint-Martin] 181
  • II This Will Kill That 192
  • Book Six 207
  • I An Impartial Look at the Old Magistracy 207
  • II The Rat-Hole 218
  • III The Story of a Maize Cake 223
  • IV A Tear for a Drop of Water 244
  • V The Story of the Cake (Concluded) 254
  • Book Seven 255
  • I Of the Danger of Confiding Your Secret to a Goat 255
  • II A Priest and a Philosopher are Two Different Things 270
  • III The Bells 279
  • IV 'AnÁГkh 282
  • V The Two Men in Black 296
  • VI The Effect That Can Be Produced by Seven Oaths Uttered in the Open Air 302
  • VII The Bogeyman-Monk 307
  • VIII Of the Usefulness of Windows Looking Out on to the River 315
  • Book Eight 323
  • I The Gold Écu Turned into a Dry Leaf 323
  • II The Gold Écu Turned into a Dry Leaf (continued) 333
  • III End of the Gold Écu Turned into a Dry Leaf 338
  • IV Lasciate Ogni Speranza [Ball Hope Abandon . . .] 342
  • V The Mother 356
  • VI Three Men's Hearts Differently Made 361
  • Book Nine 379
  • I Fever 379
  • II Hunchbacked, One-Eyed, Lame 391
  • III Deaf 395
  • IV Earthenware and Crystal 398
  • V The Key to the Red Door 409
  • VI The Key to the Red Door (continued) 412
  • Book Ten, I Gringoire Has Several Good Ideas in Succession in the Rue des Bernardins 417
  • II Become a Truand! 428
  • III Three Cheers for Pleasure! 431
  • IV An Awkward Friend 440
  • V The Private Retreat Where Monsieur Louis of France Says His Hours 460
  • VI Little Blade on the Prowl 491
  • VII Châteapers to the Rescue! 492
  • Book Eleven 495
  • I The Little Shoe 495
  • II La Creatura Bella Bianco Vestita (Dante) 528
  • III Phoebus' Marriage 537
  • IV Quasimodo's Marriage 538
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