Set in medieval Paris, Victor Hugo s powerful historical romance "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" has resonated with succeeding generations ever since its publication in 1837. It tells the story of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned as a witch by the tormented archdeacon Claude Frollo, who lusts after her. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre-Dame Cathedral, having fallen in love with the kindhearted Esmeralda, tries to save her by hiding her in the cathedral s tower. When a crowd of Parisian peasants, misunderstanding Quasimodo s motives, attacks the church in an attempt to liberate her, the story ends in tragedy."
"What a beautiful thing "Notre-Dame" is!" --Gustave Flaubert
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.