When Victor Hugo completed his novel in 1831, he intended it to be an ode to the Gothic architecture that was present at the time. The French title, “Notre Dame de Paris,” is a play on words referring to both the cathedral and the central human character of the book, the translation meaning “Our Lady of Paris.” The cathedral itself is central to the plot. In the book itself, Hugo details the intricacies of the structure.
Hugo was appalled by the defacing and modification of other structures that, to him, erased the stories that were created in the buildings. Architecture formed an important connection to oneself. The history and activities that decorated and embellished the grand structure presented as a book to read. Hugo’s own changed and challenged his writing. His admiration of the building reflected upon its historical significance. Like a book, the complex design tells a story.