January 29, 2012

Re: The Hunchback

I should really come up with a feature title for these posts, since I may be doing more of them. No literary analysis here as yet - just one (spoiler-free) quote. My favorite of the first 160 pages, regarding the bells of Notre Dame:
"Here, certainly, is an opera worth hearing. Ordinarily, the murmur that escapes from Paris in the daytime is the city talking; in the night, it is the city breathing, but here, it is the city singing. Listen then to this ensemble of the steeples; diffuse over it the murmur of half a million people, the everlasting plaint of the river, the boundless breathings of the wind, the grave and distant quartet of the four forests placed upon the hills in the distance like so many vast organs, immersing in them, as in a demitint, all in the central concert that would otherwise be too raucous or too sharp, and then say whether you know of anything in the world more rich, more joyous, more golden, more dazzling than this tumult of bells and chines, this furnace of music, these ten thousand voices of brass, all singing together in flutes of stone three hundred feet high--than this city which is no longer anything but an orchestra--than this symphony as loud as a tempest." (p. 133)
 This quote takes my breath away. I imagine actually hearing the bells would produce a similar effect.