Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1834. First American edition. Two octavo volumes (pages: 199 x 118 mm): [2, Opinions on This Work], xii, 243; [iv], 192, [2, blank], [12, publisher's ads]; complete. Bound in original publisher's quarter blue cloth over drab boards. Untrimmed and completely unrepaired. Light toning and foxing throughout, as expected. Contemporary (1835) ink signature on volume one title page and volume two contents page with some bleed-through to adjacent pages. Heavy crease to lower corner of front board of volume one, some other minor edgewear. Remnants of printed paper labels on cloth spines. A very good copy, rarely found in the original binding. Chemised and housed within an elegant full blue morocco, gilt decorated slipcase by Rene Patron. One of a thousand copies printed for the American market. Only one copy in original boards found in the auction records, the Drapkin copy, Christies 2005 (selling for $4800).
Set in Paris during the reign of Louis XI, Hugo's gothic romance was one of the earliest novels to depict life across the whole spectrum, from the rodents of the sewer to the King and his court. Using themes of French architecture and the advent of the printing press to explore freedom of expression, temporality, sanctuary, and the connections among higher and lower strata peoples, Hugo created a novel that heavily influenced later writers including Dickens and Flaubert. Considered the rarest and most elusive of all works of Victor Hugo, the first edition of Notre-Dame was produced as a set of 1,100 copies divided into four issues of 275 each, with the issue being designated on the title page.
An important and influential work of literature that has had a resounding impact worlwide. (Item #2601)