Chrám Matky Božej v Paríži Victor Hugo


Published: 1965


524 pages


Chrám Matky Božej v Paríži  by  Victor Hugo

Chrám Matky Božej v Paríži by Victor Hugo
1965 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 524 pages | ISBN: | 9.44 Mb

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 point, I had always thought that abridged novels were ridiculous. How could the editors take parts out and still have the story make sense? Upon reading unabridged Hugo, I understand. The man had complete chapters devoted to discussing the history of Paris or the history of the cathedral, and while I admit that it was a clever way to show off his knowledge and spread his political ideals, it was not what I bargained for.The novel would have been more accurately titled “The Archdeacon of Notre Dame.” (Frollo was not a judge as in the Disney movie.

They just tried to secularize him to an equivalent position.) I argue that Frollo was the protagonist. The story spent most of its time with him: his internal struggle, his plotting. And his character was fantastic! He was underhanded, but I pitied him. He was pathetic, but I feared him. He did evil, but I loved him. Frollo was not simply a powerful villain- he was a dynamic, complex character that, at times, the reader could really sympathize with.The other characters in the novel were equally impressive. Esmeralda’s sweet, strong innocence (she was only sixteen) and foolish devotion to Phoebus is heart wrenching.

Quasimodo’s strength of body and heart is awe-inspiring. Phoebus’ selfish arrogance is antagonizing. The minor characters, from the old heckling woman, to the foolish young Frollo (the Archdeacon’s brother), to the rambling philosopher, create a motley portrait of a fascinating world.Hugo’s occasional comments on society cannot go unnoted. I especially enjoyed one episode where Quasimodo was being questioned in court.

In the novel, unlike in the Disney movie, Quasimodo is deaf, so, as he is being questioned, he tries to anticipate the judge’s questions and answer them accordingly. The irony is that the judge was doing the same thing. Hugo created a deaf judge. Beautiful. Anyway, a funny scene ensued, and Hugo made his point.The best part of the story (maybe, there were just so many good ones) was likely Hugo’s portrayal of love.

Love was everywhere: the inexplicable love Frollo had for his useless brother, the love that caused Frollo to accept Quasimodo, the love that broke a mother’s heart at the loss of her daughter, the faithful love that sent Quasimodo to Frollo with his tail between his legs… But the most stunning and provocative of all was the comparison of the three men who “loved” Esmeralda: one man, “loving” her so much that he wanted to possess her- one man, “loving” her for the moment, until another girl came along- and one man “loving” her so much that she went before everything: before his desire to be with her, before his desire to have her, before his own desire to live.

*swoons again* Awesome book…When I started reading it, everyone felt the need to warn me that it didn’t end like the Disney movie. I was afraid. I was scared that after stringing me along, Hugo was going to kill it at the end. Don’t worry: he doesn’t.

The end is moving and beautiful and fitting and so what if it’s not Disney: it’s great.And, to further please the happy reader, there were a million good quotes. Here you go:“Oh, love!... That is to be two, and yet one. A man and a woman joined, as into an ange- that is heaven!” (Esmeralda).“Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of the ages.”“He found that man needs affection, that life without a warming love is but a dry wheel, creaking and grating as it turns.”“Alas! The small thing shall bring down the great things- a tooth triumphs over a whole carcass.

The rat of the Nile destroys the crocodile, the swordfish kills the whale- the book will kill the edifice” (Frollo).“It is to this setting sun that we look for a new dawn.”“Spira, spera.” (“Breathe, hope.”)“For love is like a tree- it grows of itself- it send its roots deep into our being, and often continues to grow green over a heart in ruins.”“What man orders… Circumstances disorder” (Frollo).“Everyone knows that great wealth is not acquired by letters, and that the most accomplished writers have not always a warm hearth in wintertime.

The lawyers take all the wheat for themselves and leave nothing by chaff for the other learned professions” (Gringoire, the philosopher).“A lighted candle never attracts one gnat only.”“That’s life… It’s often our best friends who make us fall” (Gringoire).“The human voice is music to the human ear.”Just a wonderful sample of the jewels contained in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The novel was difficult, but well worth the effort.

I’m just sitting here in awe of it. I can’t write any more.

Enter the sum

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