Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inspired Author Saturday: Victor Hugo

Notre Dame de Paris
Welcome to Inspired Author Saturday! The premise is to feature a behind-the-quill story; how an author got their idea. We'll be highlighting our favorite classics, bestsellers, little-known treasures and modern wonders. This feature is open to guest post from authors and folks who have researched a book or interviewed an author. Please contact me if you're interested, and we'll get you scheduled! I'm open to suggestions too, if you have a favorite book you'd like to learn more about.

Staircase to Esmeralda's hideaway
I read Victor Hugo's haunting book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as a teen, trembling in the dark by myself, while my family watched a movie in the next room. I reread it, in French this time, over the space of a year or so. I visited Notre Dame de Paris, climbing the many stairs with my preggo tummy. I saw the gothic towers, the giant bells, imagined the woeful hunchback, the beautiful, mislead gypsy girl, the lustful soldier and the demented cleric.

Obviously, this church was a big source of inspiration for our featured author. But a 2010 article in The Telegraph  reveals that Quasimodo might actually have been based off of a real person. Henry Sibson, a sculpter who worked on repairs in the cathedral during the 1820s, wrote of a hunchbacked stonemason in his memoirs. That was the same time that Victor Hugo was writing his book, which was published in 1831. As he sat, enjoying the splendor and glory, did he see a solitary form passing through the shadows? I can picture him staring at the rosette windows, daydreaming and imagining his dangerous, loving Quasimodo.

 Have you seen something of the corner of your eye that sparked an idea? A real person that blossomed into an amazing character? Have you read The Hunchback of Notre Dame or visited the cathedral?


  1. I've visited Notre Dame, and it became a sort of landmark for us when we rented an apartment nearby. Nice photo at the top of your post.

    Re the book, no, I've never read the Hunchback of Notre Dame. (movies only)

    1. Love those kinds of landmarks ;) It's better than telling friends "Turn left at the McDo" or something ;)

  2. Replies
    1. There are three of them, but I only put one pic ;)

  3. The complete unabridged Les Miserables is one of my top five favorite books ever written. Utterly amazing.