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'The Hunchback of Notre-Dame' Quotes

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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a famous French novel by Victor Hugo. Here are a few quotes.

Quotes

  • "These Greek capitals, black with age, and quite deeply graven in the stone, with I know not what signs peculiar to Gothic calligraphy imprinted upon their forms and upon their attitudes, as though with the purpose of revealing that it had been a hand of the Middle Ages which had inscribed them there, and especially the fatal and melancholy meaning contained in them, struck the author deeply."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Preface

  • "The word Gothic, in the sense in which it is generally employed, is wholly unsuitable, but wholly consecrated. Hence we accept it and we adopt it, like all the rest of the world, to characterize the architecture of the second half of the Middle Ages, where the ogive is the principle which succeeds the architecture of the first period, of which the semi-circle is the father."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book I, Chapter I

  • "We shall not attempt to give the reader an idea of that tetrahedron nose-that horse-shoe mouth-that small left eye over-shadowed by a red bushy brow, while the right eye disappeared entirely under an enormous wart-of those straggling teeth with breaches here and there like the battlements of a fortress-of that horny lip, over which one of those teeth projected like the tusk of an elephant-of that forked chin-and, above all, of the expression diffused over the whole-that mixture of malice, astonishment, and melancholy. Let the reader, if he can, figure to himself this combination."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book I, Chapter V

  • "Philosophy, moreover, was his sole refuge, for he did not know where he was to lodge for the night."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book II, Chapter I

  • "There remains to-day but a very imperceptible vestige of the Place de Grève, such as it existed then; it consists in the charming little turret, which occupies the angle north of the Place, and which, already enshrouded in the ignoble plaster which fills with paste the delicate lines of its sculpture, would soon have disappeared, perhaps submerged by that flood of new houses which so rapidly devours all the ancient façades of Paris."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume II, Book II, Chapter I

  • "It is a consoling idea ... to think that the death penalty, which three hundred years ago still encumbered with its iron wheels, its stone gibbets, and all its paraphernalia of torture, permanent and riveted to the pavement, the Grève, the Halles, the Place Dauphine, the Cross du Trahoir, the Marché aux Pourceaux, that hideous Montfauçon, the barrier des Sergents, the Place aux Chats, the Porte Saint-Denis, Champeaux, the Porte Baudets, the Porte Saint Jacques, without reckoning the innumerable ladders of the provosts, the bishop of the chapters, of the abbots, of the priors, who had the decree of life and death--without reckoning the judicial drownings in the river Seine; it is consoling to-day, after having lost successively all the pieces of its armor, its luxury of torment, its penalty of imagination and fancy, its torture for which it reconstructed every five years a leather bed at the Grand Châtelet, that ancient suzerain of feudal society almost expunged from our laws and our cities, hunted from code to code, chased from place to place, has no longer, in our immense Paris, any more than a dishonored corner of the Grève--than a miserable guillotine, furtive, uneasy, shameful, which seems always afraid of being caught in the act, so quickly does it disappear after having dealt its blow."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book II, Chapter II

  • "Whether this young girl was a human being, a fairy, or an angel, is what Gringoire, sceptical philosopher and ironical poet that he was, could not decide at the first moment, so fascinated was he by this dazzling vision. She was not tall, though she seemed so, so boldly did her slender form dart about. She was swarthy of complexion, but one divined that, by day, her skin must possess that beautiful golden tone of the Andalusians and the Roman women. Her little foot, too, was Andalusian, for it was both pinched and at ease in its graceful shoe. She danced, she turned, she whirled rapidly about on an old Persian rug, spread negligently under her feet; and each time that her radiant face passed before you, as she whirled, her great black eyes darted a flash of lightning at you."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book II, Chapter III

  • "It is an unpleasant thing to go to bed without supper, it is a still less pleasant thing not to sup and not to know where one is to sleep."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book II, Chapter III

  • "During a wise man's whole life, his destiny holds his philosophy in a state of siege."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book II, Chapter III

  • "The poor poet cast his eyes about him. It was, in truth, that redoubtable Cour des Miracles, whither an honest man had never penetrated at such an hour; the magic circle where the officers of the Châtelet and the sergeants of the provostship, who ventured thither, disappeared in morsels; a city of thieves, a hideous wart on the face of Paris; a sewer, from which escaped every morning, and whither returned every night to crouch, that stream of vices, of mendicancy and vagabondage which always overflows in the streets of capitals; a monstrous hive, to which returned at nightfall, with their booty, all the drones of the social order; a lying hospital where the bohemian, the disfrocked monk, the ruined scholar, the ne'er-do-wells of all nations, Spaniards, Italians, Germans,--of all religions, Jews, Christians, Mahometans, idolaters, covered with painted sores, beggars by day, were transformed by night into brigands; an immense dressing-room, in a word, where, at that epoch, the actors of that eternal comedy, which theft, prostitution, and murder play upon the pavements of Paris, dressed and undressed."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book II, Chapter VI

  • "When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book III, Chapter II

  • "He stirred up from the bottom of his heart all his hatred, all his wickedness; and he discovered, with the cool eye of a physician examining a patient, that this hatred, this wickedness, were but vitiated love-that love, the source of every virtue in man, turned to things horrible in the heart of a priest-and that a man constituted as he was, by making himself a priest made himself a demon."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book IX, Chapter I

  • "The owl goes not into the nest of the lark."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book IX, Chapter III

  • "For dogs we kings should have lions, and for cats, tigers. The great benefits a crown."
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book X, Chapter V

  • "Quasimodo then lifted his eye to look upon the gypsy girl, whose body, suspended from the gibbet, he beheld quivering afar, under its white robes, in the last struggles of death; then again he dropped it upon the archdeacon, stretched a shapeless mass at the foot of the tower, and he said with a sob that heaved his deep breast to the bottom, 'Oh-all that I've ever loved!'"
    - Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Volume I, Book XI, Chapter II

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