Excellent livre audio. Même si nous connaissons tous cette histoire, elle reste fascinante et est racontée avec brio. On se trouve transporté dans le Paris de l'époque. La seule critique que je formulerai est sur la voix du prêtre qui semble moins crédible car surjouée.
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Disturbing yet enjoyable.14 février 1998
Gerry T. Neal (email@example.com)
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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."
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When A Public Hanging Was Entertainment For The Masses27 juin 2000
Loren D. Morrison
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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.
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"An Exemplary Edition of Hugo's Classic"16 mars 2002
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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.
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Romaticism at its best!26 mars 2007
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Victor Hugo, the French poet and writer, who wished to change how novels were written and read, wrote The Hunchback of Notra-Dame in the beginning of his career. In contrast to Les Miserables, which is his more celebrated work, and was written several decades after the Notra-dame novel, the present piece is not only laced with more humor and romance but also stands out as a piece where the young poet in Hugo pours out a ravishing range of similes. Just for the pure magic of his metaphors and similes that make all his descriptions so poetic, so powerful Notra-Dame is worth reading.
The story itself reads like a fanciful movie, an ugly hunchback, Quasimodo is brought up by a Priest Frollo, the archdeacon of Notradame. The hunchback is hence attached like a dog to his master to him. The English title of Hunchback of Notra-dame is a misnomer, for the original is called Notra-dame de Paris, and English title lets us assume that it is the story of Hunchback as hero, while the original title asserts it is story set in Notradame and has charaters who reside in it, or live in its shadows. The Priest Calude Frollo, leaving his pursuit of science and philosophy meanders to a path of unrelenting lust for the gypsy dancer, Esmeralda. A writer, Pierre Grigorne, gets into a set of bizarre circumstances, where a token marriage attaches him to the gypsy. Phoebus, captain of King's Archers is the object of the affection of Esmeralda herself.
Besides these characters, there is a madwoman who lives in confinement, pining for her lost child, who was carried off by gypsies, and hates Esmeralda. There is the goat Djali, who performs tricks with Esmeralda, Jehan who is Claude Frollo's irreligious brother, King Louis IV - who interacts with Claude on issues of science, and the most important character, who lurks like an existence all though, is the Notra-Dame itself. The romances criss cross through a series of interesting episodes and drama, and that forms the crux of the story that I won't divulge here. Readers will benefit by discovering surprises and mystery for themselves, in process getting enchanted by a story that has been a popular read for centuries now.
What makes this novel a masterpiece, besides the poetic descriptions, is
Hugo's description of the cathedral of Notra-dame and the city of Paris, and his discussion of how the arrival of printing press signaled an end to the importance as architecture as the expressive art of intellectuals. The views of the author expressed in these pages and pages of delightful reading provide the reader not only with historical and architectural prespective on the buildings in Paris, but also gives us a word image of buildings, roofs, rooms, carvings, modernism, and more. In his commentaries and comparisons between writing and printing as form of expression in contrast to architecture, Hugo unmasks a wide array of issues that arrival of every new media (TV, Cinema, Internet, Digital Photography) bring. How existing precepts and concepts are revised, how adaptations occur, how each age has its own expression through any of these means- and all Hugo says so passionately about architecture or literature allows us to feel the essence of why we make monuments of stones or words in the first place.
Victor Hugo had great skill in developing characters, and describing their lives over an extended period of time, capturing how situations and people led to certain choices, behavioral changes and thought process of each. His ability of doing this, in a very detached manner, where narrative is like a camera floating into a room, and staying long enough for a distant observer to watch and identify traits of every person present there, makes him a great novelist. The novel, like all classic reads, looks formidable in size, but can be read at a formidable pace, especially after the first half of the novel is over.
Besides the merits of the novelist, and the beauty of his wordplay, the story itself is a charming one, and has been brought to screen versions many times. Reading Hugo's two major works allows one to get the same keen insight into French society of the respective times, as does Thackeray and Dickens novels for England and Tolstoy in Russia. Reading any of these masters takes time, but trust me, it is worth the patience and the effort. Recommended highly.
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A Book for the Lonely2 avril 2003
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I don't know why this is, but classic books are often bound into heavy, dark tomes and printed in the tiniest print with almost no space between the lines. Perhaps the publisher imagines these books will not actually be read anymore, but instead are supposed to serve as fillers for the large shelves in aristocratic libraries and behind lawyers' desks. Well, for those of us who still like to dust off the classics and read them, TOR's edition of the Hunchback of Notre Dame serves nicely. It's bound in a modern style--small, with an intriguing cover, with easy-on-the-eyes print. And, it's complete and unabridged (accept no substitutions on this point, otherwise you're depriving yourself of the grand vision of the artist). Also, TOR's 458-page mass market paperback is only [$]--when was the last time you got so many hours of entertainment for so little? The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a dark, desperate novel, filled with mist and moonlight and echoes in the lonely streets of 15th century Paris past midnight. In the main, it tells the intersecting stories of three lonely characters, each aching in their own way. There's Claude Frollo, archdeacon of Josas, who's spent his whole life cloistered in the tight garb of Catholicism. There's La Esmeralda, an enchantingly beautiful gypsy who's searching for her long lost mother. And, of course, there's Quasimodo, the malformed, hunchbacked figure haunting the shadows of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Hugo knows how to tell a story--there is plenty of irony, a few good surprises, and some excellent characterization. He paints the dark places of humanity: people struggling to survive, to find hope in the midst of horror, each clinging in some way to a dream that can never be realized. One drawback of the book is its pacing, which, at times, slows to a crawl. For example, there is a long chapter on the layout of Paris in the 15th Century, which, if you're not a city planner or fastidious historian, can get pretty long and boring. Even Hugo seems to know it becomes boring, because he recaps so often. Also, Hugo often breaks the fourth wall and directly addresses the reader, which can be distracting and anti-dramatic at times. Thirdly, I would have liked to spend some more time with that loveable wretch, Quasimodo. He has a big part in the end, but not much more. But don't let these minor annoyances stop you from reading a great story. If you have patience, The Hunchback of Notre Dame will rebuild the gothic Notre Dame of stone in words; if you have imagination, it will acquaint you with the adventures of some extraordinary characters; and if you have a heart, you will shed a tear for Claude Frollo, La Esmeralda, and Quasimodo.