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Paris cathedral blaze boosts Hugo's 'Hunchback of Notre Dame'

The manuscript of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Nôtre Dame de Paris) by Victor Hugo ©BNF

The French daily newspaper Le Monde reports that sales of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame have surged in the wake of this week’s cathedral fire.

The book first appeared in 1831 and helped save the central Paris landmark which, at the time, was in a serious state of dilapidation.

Now, Hugo’s classic is at the top of the Amazon best-seller list, and the various publishers have promised to contribute some or all of their profits to the re-building fund.

The paperback version by Folio has had a 30,000-volume cheap reprint, 5.60 euros down from 10.20, with all profits going to the national collection. Folio think they’ll manage between 50,000 and 100,000 euros. Livre de Poche have a new version selling at 4.40 and have promised to give 1 euro to the fund for every volume sold.

Victor Hugo's 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' soars in Amazon's book sales in France after the fire that destroyed part of Paris' iconic cathedral Amazon.fr (screenshot)

Fund-raising concerts and television specials are already in the works, with a possible once-off reunion of the original cast of the 1998 musical comedy Notre-Dame de Paris being evoked by the Canadian producer Luc Plamondon. An on-line petition in favour of such a performance has already collected 40,000 signatures.

The fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on 15 April 2019 Reuters

In November, 2015, following the Bataclan terrorist attack in which 130 people lost their lives, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, a memoir of the American novelist’s early days in the French capital, became a best-seller under the title Paris est une fête.