Notre-Dame de Paris

By Victor Hugo ; Alban Krailsheimer | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

(NOTE: Readers who do not want to know beforehand the plot of Notre-Dame de Paris might prefer to read this Introduction after the book itself.)

TODAY, more than a hundred years after Hugo's death, it is difficult, if not impossible, to approach the man and his work with an open mind. His remains were enthusiastically borne to the Panthéon in 1885, to join those of such other great men as Voltaire and Rousseau; he endured exile for nearly twenty years for speaking his mind against Napoleon III; he fought a spirited campaign all his life against capital punishment. His vast literary output includes some of the most notable poetry in French in both the lyric and the epic mode. His dramatic work was an integral part of the Romantic movement: although his plays are of very varying quality, the preface to the virtually unactable Cromwell ( 1827) is probably better known than any other manifesto of Romanticism, while Hernani literally caused a riot in the theatre at its first performance in February 1830. More to the immediate point, his two best-known novels have inspired several film versions of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (a title, incidentally, going back to the English translation of the novel in 1833) and stage, as well as film, versions of parts of Les Misérables, the most recent of which has proved a commercial success as a musical. On the subject of music, it is worth noting that as early as 1851 Verdi took Hugo's drama Le Roi s'amuse (banned as subversive after its first performance in 1832) as the basis for his opera Rigoletto (another hunchback hero . . .). The sheer energy and range of Hugo's writings, and indeed of the man himself in his life from day to day, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that all is by no means sound and fury: his poetry includes many examples of a more reflective, elegiac lyricism.

It would be misleading here to treat Notre-Dame in the light of Hugo's later novels, or as a stage in his long

-vii-

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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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