Quasimodo, Victor Hugo, Notre Don Depote discussed on Morning Edition


Of the same story. The novel was an effort to help restore the cathedral back then. So as restorations began again after this week's fire, we've called writer and film critic Andrew leap in good morning. Good morning. What does that mean that the novel was part of an effort to restore the cathedral? So Victor, Hugo writes, The Hunchback of Notre down in eighteen thirty one the cathedral by this point is in a state of neglect and disrepair still recovering from the French revolution. Just a few decades earlier, and he really wants to be basically a celebrity advocate for gothic preservation, and he really wants this architecture to be restored for future generations when I talked to Katherine Clark, who's a professor of French history at MIT. She told me that Victor, Hugo writes this novel as an outcry to try to bring the state of Notre Dame to state attention and public attention and alert everyone that this architectural heritage is falling apart that it work. It did work. Very well. The book is enormously popular people really thrill to the story of Quasimodo as a bell ringer who lives in the in the tower, but is also a metaphor for the tower itself, the stories deep human, and there is a major restoration effort that takes place. After the book's publication amazed. To hear you talk about the belltower because part of the story of the fire this week, which we've heard elsewhere on. Today's program is firefighters going up into the bell towers risking their lives for this building. And according to officials saving the building from much worse damage may be heading it off within a very brief period of time. What do you think about when you you you bring your literary background to that story of this week? What I think about is how this novel and the later that arose from it really continues to be this touchstone for so many people in terms of their relationship with Notre done. You know is asking people on Twitter to share some their memories of the cathedral. And I was hearing from people saying, well, I remember reading this book and identifying with Quasimodo and visiting the cathedral or sitting at the Shakespeare Company bookstore just across the Senate from the cathedral. So you see even today continues to be something that people really attached to identify with. And every time people hear the bells of Notre dumb. I gather that you know, a large number of them are probably thinking about Quasimodo. Do you think that is part of the reason that this fire seems to have touched so many hearts, even though no one was killed? I think it's definitely a big part of the reason, you know, people really attached to narratives, and obviously the cultural history of Notre Dame can't be overstated. But like, this is a building that has been through many cycles of disrepair, and and rebuilding and Victor Hugo's spurred on one of those cycles nearly two hundred years ago, and it looks like we're entering another cycle. No. Did you think about Quasimodo when you heard the news? I did I thought about a lot of things, but that was definitely one of the things that that came to my mind, as I'm sure a lot of people at my age attached to the the Disney version of the movie, and then the subsequent stage musicals and the earlier adaptations, and I think Quasimodo and Notre Don depote as a whole are are intertwined in a lot of people's minds, Mr. life, and thanks so much. Thank you. That's writer.

Coming up next