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The Hunchback of Notre-Dameby Victor Hugo
Synopses & Reviews
The Great Hall of the Palace of Justice Three hundred and forty-eight years, six months, and nineteen days ago, the good people of Paris awoke to the sound of all the bells pealing in the three districts of the Citéeacute;, the Université, and the Ville. The sixth of January, 1482, was, however, a day that history does not remember. There was nothing worthy of note in the event that set in motion early in the morning both the bells and the citizens of Paris. It was neither an assault of the Picards nor one of the Burgundians, nor a procession bearing the shrine of some saint, nor a student revolt in the vineyard of Laas, nor an entry of our most feared Lord, Monsieur the King, nor even a lovely hanging of thieves of either sex before the Palace of Justice of Paris. It was also not the arrival of some bedecked and befeathered ambassador, which was a frequent sight in the fifteenth century. It was barely two days since the last cavalcade of this kind had been seen, as the Flemish ambassadors commissioned to conclude a marriage between the Dauphin and Margaret of Flanders had entered Paris, to the great annoyance of the Cardinal de Bourbon, who, in order to please the King, had been obliged to receive the entire rustic crew of Flemish burgomasters with a gracious smile, and to entertain them at his Hôocirc;tel de Bourbon with very elaborate morality plays, mummery, and farce, while pouring rain drenched the magnificent tapestry at his door.
On the sixth of January, what moved the entire population of Paris was the double solemnity, as Jehan de Troyes describes it, united from time immemorial, of the Epiphany and the Festival of Fools. On that day there were to be fireworks on the Place de Grèegrave;ve, a may tree planted at the chapel of Braque, and a play performed at the Palace of Justice. Proclamation had been made to this effect on the preceding day, to the sound of trumpets in the public squares, by the Provost's officers in fair coats of purple camlet, with large white crosses on the breast.
That morning, therefore, all the houses and shops remained shut, and crowds of citizens of both sexes could be seen wending their way toward one of the three places mentioned above. Each person had made a choice, for fireworks, may tree, or play. It must be observed, however, to the credit of the taste of Parisian riffraff, that the greater part of the crowd was proceeding toward the fireworks, which were quite appropriate to the season, or the play, which was to be represented in the great hall of the palace, which was well covered and protected, and that the curious agreed to let the poor leafless may tree shiver all alone beneath a January sky in the cemetery of the chapel of Braque.
All the avenues leading to the Palace of Justice were particularly crowded, because it was known that the Flemish ambassadors, who had arrived two days before, planned to attend the performance of the play, and the election of the Pope of Fools, which was also to take place in the great hall.
On that day, it was no easy matter to get into this great hall, though it was then reputed to be the largest covered space in the world. (It is true that Sauval had not yet measured the great hall of the Château of Montargis.) To the spectators at the windows, the palace yard crowded with people looked like a sea, into which five or six streets, like the mouths of so many rivers, disgorged
In the famed novel set against the backdrop of medieval Paris, Quasimodo, the hunchback bellringer of Notre-Dame Cathedral, struggles to save the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmeralda from being unjustly executed as a witch. Reprint.
In the dark world of medieval Paris, the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral heroically fights to save the life of a beautiful Gypsy girl about to be unjustly executed. Told with simple vocabulary and set in large type, this adaptation of the classic tale is perfectly suited for young readers.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
\Catherine Liu is an associate professor in the cultural studies and comparative literature department at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Copying Machines: Taking Notes for the Automaton and a novel, Oriental Girls Desire Romance.
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of Niagara Falls All Over Again and The Giant’s House. She lives in Massachusetts.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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