Hugo V. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Hugo’s grand medieval melodrama tells the story of the beautiful Esmeralda, a gypsy girl loved by three men: the handsome, callous Captain Phoebus, the tormented Archdeacon Frollo and his adoptive son Quasimodo, deformed bell-ringer of the cathedral of Notre-Dame. Together they are caught up in a drama of betrayal and redemption, injustice and revolution, with epic crowd scenes and a cast of characters ranging from Louis XI to the self-styled King of the Beggars who holds court in the Parisian sewers. Opening with a humorous presentation of the French capital in 1482 and moving towards a thrilling and tragic climax, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is dominated by the massive brooding presence of the cathedral itself, a whole supernatural world embodied in its Gothic vaults, towers and statues. The subject of many adaptations for stage and screen, this remains one of the greatest historical novels – vivid, passionate and magnificent.

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