The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Living, Breathing Cathedral

By Victor Hugo
France, 1831
Gothic, Philosophy

Main Attractions

1.  Incredible Story Telling  
2.  Resonating Descriptions
3.  Memorable Characters
4.  Poetic Structure
5.  Fast Paced Plotline
6.  Emotional Scenes
7.  Unpredictable Events
8.  Philosophical & Social Commentary
9.  Intense Final Scenes
10. Memorable Ending 


Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Lasagna or Hearty Casserole
On the surface, this book’s plot is fairly straightforward in a similar way as Crime & Punishment.  But if you look at the finer details in how things are described, a very poetic and philosophical discussion emerges about what is art and even what is life?  They are very profound concepts for a 500 page novel.  Then, if you examine the cast of characters and what they represent, the discussion about life takes root.  The roles and stereotypes that members of society are simultaneously trapped within and broken free in this book.  All of it makes for delicious reading with lots of food for thought to chew on for years after reading!

Why Visit Here

This novel is so well written for images and is full of moving events.  The characters are all given interesting backstories that clash and play out amongst each other.  The descriptions of Notre Dame are exquisite and turn the cathedral into a living character that’s central to the story.  The characters are a mere snapshot against the lengthy lifespan of the cathedral. 

A clip from the beginning of the Disney Movie.  It captures the mood of the book so well!  

Off the Beaten Path

Professional Views of the Cathedral and then of the Bells Ringing

Hunchback Views of Notre Dame, beautiful sounds.

Packing List

✓ Map of Paris 
✓ Google for image searches
✓ Documentary about Gypsies
✓ Bohemian Throw for coziness
✓ Old Cathedral Bells Ringing

Recommended Resources

Alternate Books
The Monk By Mathew Lewis (1796) - The monk who falls from grace is explored far more deeply
✓ Frankenstein By Mary Shelley (1818) - The Hunchback’s thoughts are the main focus.
✓ Les Miserables By Victor Hugo (1862) - After reading this one, I’m so eager to read Hugo’s other books, this one being his most famous.

Movie Adaptations
✓ The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) Directed by Wallace Worsley - It’s the oldest  film adaptation!

✓ The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) Directed by William Dieterle - It’s in Black & White!

✓ The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise - It’s the famous Disney adaptation, Hugo himself said to make changes to his work because it’ll reflect the current times.