Tag: victor hugo

How Victor Hugo Changed the History of Notre Dame

The service of religion once assured and provided for, architecture does what she pleases. Statues, stained glass, rose windows, arabesques, denticulations, capitals, bas-reliefs,—she combines all these imaginings according to the arrangement which best suits her. Hence, the prodigious exterior variety of these edifices, at whose foundation dwells so much order and unity. The trunk of a tree is immovable; the foliage is capricious.

This quote is from Victor’s Hugo The Hunchback of Notre Dame, describing the marvel of French Gothic architecture: Notre Dame cathedral. Victor Hugo’s masterpiece left a huge mark on Notre Dame’s history, and today we mourn together.

Construction on Notre Dame first started in 1163. It would take a 170 years before the famous cathedral was finally constructed.

Image Via Rebecca Chester


As stated on Arch Daily, Victory Hugo once commented:

“Indeed, from the beginning of things down to the fifteenth century of the Christian era inclusive, architecture was the great book of humanity, the chief expression of man in his various stages of development, whether as force or as intellect.”

However the heart of France quickly became a symbol of the French monarchy. It was “a place where kings were coronated and state holidays celebrated“. Come 1789, the infamous French Revolution happened and Notre Dame was on the people’s list.

As blood poured on the streets, the heart of France suffered. Notre Dame was plundered and torn apart. In a frenzy of hate, much of its religious imagery was severely damaged if not destroyed.


Pieces of the statues of the kings of Judah which adorned the facade of Notre Dame, that had been missing since the French Revolution, shown at a museum in 1977.

The French Revolution officially ended in 1799 and in 1801 Notre Dame was given back to the Catholic Church in a horrendous state of disarray. See, the cathedral had been used a gunpowder factory and its largest stones were earmarked for bridge foundations.

In all honesty, it looked like the end of Notre Dame. They were going to strip it for all its worth and get rid of it. It was going to be demolished, and this landmark that saw through the Crusades was going to be a footnote in the history books.

But Victor Hugo saw the grand Cathedral and fell in love with it. He wrote in a paper entitled Guerre aux Démolisseurs (War to the Demolishers) that:


“A universal cry must finally go up to call the new France to the aid of the old”


He believed Notre Dame had a soul. It was alive, and it should live on. In a quest to save it, he began writing his masterpiece in 1829.


Victor Hugo

As Culture Trip writes, “The bell-ringing, half-blind hunchback of Quasimodo has become iconic of ‘a courageous heart beneath a grotesque exterior.’ This character urges readers to look beyond the surface and find the beauty beneath, with the hope that they’ll do the same for the Notre Dame.”

Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Claude Frollo, they are all characters in the books, but the main character is Notre Dame herself. She is alive, she is the home of all these characters, she is what brings them, binds them, see them from their beginnings to their ends. She lives before them, she lives after them.

He won the war against the demolishers, proving the pen is truly mightier than the sword. Notre-Dame de Paris, latter renamed The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was published in January 1831 to critical acclaim.


Stained glass in Notre Dame
Image Via Rebecca Chester


In 1909 Notre Dame was the location in which Joan of Arc was beatified by Pope Pius X.

Since yesterday’s fire, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has seen a huge rise in Amazon orders, and the reason why should be no surprise. Notre Dame has burned. This shouldn’t be news to anyone. It’s a tragedy to everyone around the world. However, Notre Dame still stands, and there is hope.

This quote is from Victor’s Hugo The Hunchback of Notre Dame, describing Notre Dame:

On the crest of the highest gallery, higher than the central rose window, there was a great flame rising between the two towers with whirlwinds of sparks, a vast, disordered, and furious flame.

Notre Dame has burned before. It has been rebuilt. It can be rebuilt again. Please visit this link to help.
Featured Image from Rebecca Chester
'Les Miserables'

BBC Launches Unforgettable Les Miserables Adaptation

Everyone knows Les Miserables, even those of us who think the length is miserablé. It’s pretty likely you’ve seen both the musical or the movie, but neither is the original. It’s far less likely that you’ve read Victor Hugo‘s original Les Miserables, even though it’s packed with hilarious capers, deep friendships, and horrifying deaths. Fans call the novel ‘The Brick’ for a reason—at 1,900 pages, it’s one of the longest novels in history. Given that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 607 pages and needed two movies to cover all the important parts, it’s a little surprising that the Les Miserables movie directors thought that they could tell the story in under three hours. After watching it, some fans thought they would never get the retelling they deserve.


Anne Hathaway in the musical 'Les Miserables': "But there are dreams that cannot be!"

Gif Via Wifflegif


Devotees of ‘The Brick‘ have one common complaint when it comes to the recent movie and musical: where did 80% of the story go? The novel depicts much deeper relationships between characters… and their relationships to historical events. Those who have read and love ‘The Brick’ also have complaints about the story itself, including and mostly limited to why does Victor Hugo spend hundreds of pages describing the sewers of Paris? Rife with French history and cultural context, the novel occasionally has more in common with a textbook than its honestly monstrous size. So here’s the compromise—a TV show that you won’t die before finishing. (No guarantees that the characters won’t die before the show is over.)


'Les Miserables' TV Adaptation's Star Cast

Image Via Indianexpress.com


The series, which has just begun airing on the BBC, will run for six weeks. Jean Valjean actor Dominic West believes that the TV production will remind viewers more of the source material. For those who believe the show will be a rehash of the same plot, West promises that viewers “should expect grand ambition from the series, which avoids the songs of the musical theatre production and 2012 film.” The star-studded cast also features The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones actress Lily Collins and Selma actor David Oyelowo. You’ll want to barricade yourself in your room to finish this one right away!



Featured Image Via Lesmis.com