You probably guessed that Victor Hugo’s novel does not have dancing gargoyles or Wizard of Oz references, but it goes much deeper than that. In fact, we can trace its primary misdirection back to whoever first decided on the English translation of the title of the book: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. This implies that the main character of the story is Quasimodo, the misformed outcast with a heart of gold who longsto spend oooone daaay ooouuut theeeeere. However, Hugo’s original French title is much more accurate: Notre-Dame de Paris. The focus of the novel is on its setting rather than its protagonists – we follow a cast of characters, but in the end, all roads lead to the cathedral.
“Death found an author writing his life” (E. Hull, 1827).
This is one of those texts that are absolutely inescapable for literature students. Wherever you live, whichever classes you choose, at one point in your academic career you will encounter Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author.” Whether you agree with him or not, Barthes introduced a concept that was truly revolutionary and is still a game-changing read for many first- and second-year literature students to this day.
A tribute to two of my favourite art forms: literature and musical theatre! If you’ve ever watched Les Mis and found yourself thinking, “you know what this needs? A monologue on the history of the Parisian sewer system”, this is the list for you.