Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame|
Outcast by society because of his hideous appearance, Quasimodo lives under the protection of Claude Frollo and the cathedral of Notre-Dame. His world revolves around the bells, but once the beautiful gypsy girl, La Esmera... more »
Outcast by society because of his hideous appearance, Quasimodo lives under the protection of Claude Frollo and the cathedral of Notre-Dame. His world revolves around the bells, but once the beautiful gypsy girl, La Esmeralda, enters their lives, things can never return to the way they were before.
Disturbing yet enjoyable.
Gerry T. Neal (gneal.stu@providence | Manitoba, Canada | 02/14/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to popular opinion the novel Le Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo is not primarily about the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo. Quasimodo's role is actually surprisingly small in the story, which makes you wonder why the English translater's chose "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" as the translation for the title. Actually, as the original French title would indicate, it is the cathedral itself that is the focus of the book. This is why in the unabridged editions of this book you will find numerous chapters that seemingly have nothing to do with the plot of the story. This is the books weakest point, and it may turn many people away from the book. Once you get into the plot, however, it is iimpossible to put the book down. The characters are intriguing: composer Pierre Gringoire, archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, once a paragon of virtue now tormented by his corrupt love for a gipsy girl, L'Esmerelda, the naive gipsy dancer, Phoebus, the selfish, egotistical captain of the guards, and of course Qausimodo, a deaf, deformed bellringer. The relationships between these characters are complex and dark but they make an unforgettable story. The story is never, from front to back, a happy one, so if you are looking for a book that makes you "feel good" this is not the one for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a good book to read, that is unafraid to deal with the darker side of reality, I highly recommend "The Hunchback of Notre Dame.""
When A Public Hanging Was Entertainment For The Masses
Loren D. Morrison | Los Angeles County, U.S.A. | 06/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Victor Hugo never wrote a book titled THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Some early translator gave it that name. What Hugo wrote was a book called NOTRE DAME OF PARIS (in French: NOTRE DAME de PARIS). This is not a book that is primarily about a hunchback named Quasimodo or a beautiful Gypsy girl named Esmerelda. It is a book narrowly focused on the Cathedral of Notre Dame situated on the Ile de la Cite in the center of Paris and, more broadly, on the 15th century city of Paris. This was a Paris where public executions or any form of punishment involving public humiliation were the highest forms of entertainment and drew the kinds of crowds that we would see at a major sports event today. If this book is not read with this in mind, the reader might well be disappointed because he came to it with a different sort of book in mind. I would like to congratulate the one previous reviewer who reviewed the book on the basis of its actual scope and intent.Now to the human aspects of the novel, the plot so to speak: There are no perfect angels in this book. After all, Esmerelda was a part of a band of thieves who came to public gatherings for the express purpose of seeing what they could "gather" for themselves. Quasimodo was not a misshapen humanitarian. He had been known to carry out a dirty deed or two himself. As for the rest of the characters, there's not a role model in the bunch. To Hugo's credit, we really care about Quasimodo and Esmerelda, "warts and all." This is one indication of good writing.The basic plot, devoid of any embellishments, is rather simple. Esmerelda, out of humanitarian instincts, comes to Quasimodo's aid in a small but meaningful way when he really needs a friend. Quasimodo, as best as he is able, falls in love with Esmerelda. When the arch villain, Archdeacon Dom Frollo, who is also in love with Esmerelda but has been rejected by her, tries to have her hanged, Quasimodo saves her, but only for a while. Eventually she is executed under circumstances where Quasimodo can't came to her rescue. Quasimodo throws our villain, Dom Frollo, to his death from the heights of the cathedral.In a way, its a shame that when an author creates a memorable character, or an opera composer writes an unforgettable aria, these creations take on such lives of their own that they overshadow the novel or opera from which they come. That has certainly been one of the fates of this book. Too many readers have come to it searching for the cute little Disney Quasimodo, or even Charles Laughton's unforgettable Quasimodo from the 1939 movie. When it turned out that the scope of this book was so much more comprehensive, they were disappointed for all the wrong reasons.A note about reading Hugo, or any other author worth reading. One should read for enjoyment, and, where it is available, for information that will increase one's understanding of this world. I have noticed that several reviewers, some of whom didn't like this book, talked of its length, or of Hugo's use of "similes and metaphors." Anyone who is busy trying to analyze a book for styles or techniques doesn't have the right inclination to enjoy the book, to enjoy the atmospheres the author has created, or to get the emotional impact that was the author's intent.I would recommend THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME as a book that is well worth reading if read for the right reasons. Don't read it, or any book, looking for "techniques" or for "neo-modernism," or "anything-else-isms." I guarantee you that's not what the author had in mind when he wrote his novel. He meant it to be read, not analyzed."
"An Exemplary Edition of Hugo's Classic"
Johannes Platonicus | South Bend, Indiana | 03/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Walter J. Cobb's complete and unabridged edition of Victor Hugo's classic, the "Hunchback of Notre-Dame," is without a doubt the best to be found. His translation retains the original romanticism and tragedy so characteristic of the great novelist's works. One would search in vain to find a better edition than Cobb's full-throated rendition of this great masterpiece of French Literature."