The Real Quasimodo Discovered
Historical hunchback was stonemason, not bell-ringer
By Jane Yager, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2010 6:31 AM CDT
Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame from the book by Victor Hugo. Original Artwork: Illustrator - Antoine Wiertz of Brussels   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – There really was a hunchback of Notre Dame, the newly discovered memoirs of a 19th-century sculptor have revealed. References to a hunchback stonemason in the diaries of Henry Sibson, a British sculptor who went to Paris to work on the restoration of Notre Dame around the time Victor Hugo penned his famous novel, suggest that Hugo's Quasimodo was based on a historical figure, the Telegraph reports.

Sibson's seven-volume memoir, which was found in the attic of a house in 1999, was acquired by the Tate Archive and cataloged this year. "When I saw the references to the humpbacked sculptor at Notre Dame, and saw that the dates matched the time of Hugo's interest in the Cathedral, the hairs on the back of my neck rose and I thought I should look into it," the archivist said.

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Aug 16, 2010 8:50 PM CDT
Professor Sean Hand, the head of the Department of French Studies at the University of Warwick, and an expert on Hugo, said: It sounds entirely plausible, and if Hugo was indeed inspired by this deformed stonemason at Notre Dame, it further renews our appreciation of his amazing imaginative powers to take details from real life and weave them into magical literature.” Yes, Professor Hand, magical indeed; we’ll take this over the Disney version’s magic brainwashing, any day.
Aug 16, 2010 6:17 PM CDT
dammit that changes everything - EVERYTHING!
Aug 16, 2010 11:42 AM CDT
I glad that's settled. Next?