The Hunchback of Notre-Dame  

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"In The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the monk Claude Frollo lusts after gypsy girl Esmeralda to the point of obsession." --Sholem Stein

Stryge (1853) is a print by French etcher Charles Méryon depicting one of the chimera of the Galerie des chimères of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral.
Stryge (1853) is a print by French etcher Charles Méryon depicting one of the chimera of the Galerie des chimères of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or Notre-Dame of Paris (in French, Notre-Dame de Paris) is a novel first published on 14 January 1831 by the prolific French author Victor Hugo. It is set in 1482 in Paris, in and around the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.

The enormous popularity of the novel in France spurred the nascent historical preservation movement in that country and strongly encouraged Gothic revival architecture. Ultimately it helped to preserve Notre Dame Cathedral, where much of the story is based, in its contemporary state.


The story begins during the Renaissance in 1482, the day of the Festival of Fools in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer, is introduced by his crowning as Pope of Fools.

Esméralda, a beautiful 16-year-old gypsy with a kind and generous heart, captures the hearts of many men but especially those of Quasimodo and his adopted father, Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to get her. Quasimodo is caught and whipped and ordered to be tied down in the heat. Esméralda seeing his thirst, offers him water. It saves her, for she captures the heart of the hunchback.

She is later accused of the attempted murder of Phœbus, whom Frollo attempted to kill in jealousy, and is sentenced to death by hanging. Quasimodo saves her by bringing her to the cathedral under the law of sanctuary. Clopin rallies the truands (criminals of Paris) to charge the cathedral and rescue Esméralda. The king, seeing the chaos, vetoes the law of sanctuary and commands his troops to take Esméralda out and kill her. When Quasimodo sees the truands, he assumes they are there to hurt Esméralda, so he drives them off. Frollo betrays Esméralda by handing her to the troops and watches while she is hanged. Quasimodo pushes him from Notre-Dame to his death. He then goes to where hanged dead bodies are thrown, lies next to her corpse and eventually dies of starvation. Two years later, excavationists find the skeletons of Esméralda with a broken neck and Quasimodo locked in an embrace.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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