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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 Sep 1993


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Product details

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New Ed edition (5 Sept. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260681
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Review

"What a beautiful thing "Notre-Dame" is!" --Gustave Flaubert"From the Trade Paperback edition." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Enter the world of 15th Century Paris in one of the greatest historical novels of all time - vivid, passionate and magnificent. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By LittleMoon VINE VOICE on 27 July 2009
Format: Paperback
"...something has disappeared. That vast body is empty - it is like a skeleton - the spirit has quitted it - they see its place and that is all. It is like a skull, which still has holes for the eyes, but no longer sight."

The classics are classics for a reason - they have a place in our modern cultural consciousness - even if they've largely got there thanks to Disney. To read the originals is often a great, if tormenting pleasure, and Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame is no exception.

Tormenting for what would be called today authorial indulgence on a grand scale, and whilst I am a purist in terms of reading unabridged versions, I couldn't read beyond 5 pages of Book Three, Chapter Two: A Bird's Eye View of Paris. It recounts the layout of the city in excruciating detail, and whilst it ends with a beautifully descriptive paragraph about the city as a great symphony, it will bore all but the most dedicated of readers senseless. (I say this in a whisper: "It can be completely skipped!")

A great pleasure because the story itself is rich and compelling. A wonderful cast of characters fill the streets of Paris, and the gothic "character" of Notre Dame cathedral looms in the background. Quasimodo remains a favourite - and I would argue the only character whose love for Esmeralda, and his actions in general, are even remotely pure - which makes him the hero of the novel in my eyes. Claude Frollo, the dark and dangerous priest, is another of my favourite characters, to the point where I am frustrated by Hugo's overall neglect of his background and development.

As usual, the Wordsworth Classics version comes with a "jargon-free", though rather critical introduction, from Keith Wren, and is a very cheap way to enter the world of 15th Century Paris, replete with the enduring themes of literature: love, murder, fate, revenge and redemption.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barty Literati on 16 July 2012
Format: Paperback
A REVIEW OF `THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME' BY VICTOR HUGO

Who is `The Hunchback of Notre Dame'? For many, the character of Quasimodo is the eerie, scratchy figure from black-and-white horror movies. For others, he is the comical character used to advertise telephones in the 1980s ("It's Esmeralda: She LOVES me!"). More recently, he is the more cuddly hero of the 1996 Disney animated film. These associations - whilst keeping the character alive in the public consciousness - do rather detract from his actual rightful place within the pages of Victor Hugo's magnificent novel. Indeed, owing to its ability to excite, horrify, amuse, surprise and move, `The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is a true `Classic'.

So revered is the book in educated literary circles, that I would not deign to offer any in-depth analysis here. Suffice to say that the story revolves primarily not around the deformed bell-ringer, but rather the beautiful gypsy dancer, La Esmeralda. Hugo himself resented the English re-naming of his novel and argued forcibly (and correctly) that the original title, `Notre Dame de Paris' was far more fitting. Therefore, accepting Quasimodo as one of many pivotal characters, the story emerges as one of many figures' love for the captivating La Esmeralda. For the most part, this is the love of men, as her boldy charms attract the attention of three would-be lovers, none of whom fit the traditional leading man role. Perhaps the most obvious suitor is the dashing Captain Pheobus. However, beneath his good looks, lurks a serial womaniser who sees La Esmeralda as merely another notch on his bed-post. There is a realism about such a self-serving, vain `hero' that offers the first indication that `The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is not your typical 19th century masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barty Literati on 16 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A REVIEW OF `THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME' BY VICTOR HUGO

Who is `The Hunchback of Notre Dame'? For many, the character of Quasimodo is the eerie, scratchy figure from black-and-white horror movies. For others, he is the comical character used to advertise telephones in the 1980s ("It's Esmeralda: She LOVES me!"). More recently, he is the more cuddly hero of the 1996 Disney animated film. These associations - whilst keeping the character alive in the public consciousness - do rather detract from his actual rightful place within the pages of Victor Hugo's magnificent novel. Indeed, owing to its ability to excite, horrify, amuse, surprise and move, `The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is a true `Classic'.

So revered is the book in educated literary circles, that I would not deign to offer any in-depth analysis here. Suffice to say that the story revolves primarily not around the deformed bell-ringer, but rather the beautiful gypsy dancer, La Esmeralda. Hugo himself resented the English re-naming of his novel and argued forcibly (and correctly) that the original title, `Notre Dame de Paris' was far more fitting. Therefore, accepting Quasimodo as one of many pivotal characters, the story emerges as one of many figures' love for the captivating La Esmeralda. For the most part, this is the love of men, as her boldy charms attract the attention of three would-be lovers, none of whom fit the traditional leading man role. Perhaps the most obvious suitor is the dashing Captain Pheobus. However, beneath his good looks, lurks a serial womaniser who sees La Esmeralda as merely another notch on his bed-post. There is a realism about such a self-serving, vain `hero' that offers the first indication that `The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is not your typical 19th century masterpiece.
Read more ›
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