The Journal of Popular and American Culture

User menu

The Carnival Mirror: Ideological Twists on The Feast of Fools in Disney’s Adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

David A. Hatch

The Walt Disney Corporation has been accused of selectively altering historical and literary events and figures when producing their animated feature films to perpetuate a type of “Disney morality.” Much of this criticism has been leveled at Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame because this production adds characters, includes musical numbers, alters the ending, and in the words of one critic, takes “a work of subtlety and complexity and [renders] it laughingly simple, omitting every ambiguity, every shade of gray, every nuance.”1 Disney alterations to Hugo’s tale are obvious and even onerous at times, but the criticism that the film has received may be unduly harsh. Disney’s Hunchback exists in the realm of popular culture wherein artists influence and are influenced. A simple comparison of the novel and the Disney film would ignore the historical sources and influences available to Disney artists in painting, literature, and film which inform the modern interpretation of the film. The indicator of these influences and how they affect the final project is the popular culture phenomenon portrayed in the “Feast of Fools” segment. Historical accounts of the festival identify it as a time of abandon, social criticism, and role reversal. Hugo’s alteration of the festival in his novel, and later alterations by Hollywood and Disney filmmakers, display how the popular sentiment of each period influences the portrayal and social function of the festival. Despite the many obvious alterations to Hugo’s Hunchback, however, Disney’s adaptation maintains the original festival themes and social function more closely than the novel or earlier adaptations.

Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame begins with the wild tolling of the bells to signal the dual celebration of the Epiphany and the Feast of Fools on January 6th, 1482. The first is one of the oldest and most sacred medieval Christian celebrations, the commemoration of the revelation of the infant Christ to the nations and of the arrival of the Magi. The second is also an old celebration, but not one designed to commemorate a sacred event; the Feast of Fools was a day of sanctioned license and revelry when the powerful where mocked by those over whom they ruled. This duality of sacred celebration and profane parody is a core theme which provides a valuable social function for the characters in the novel.

Hugo’s version of the above mentioned celebration presents several scheduled entertainments including a fireworks display, a May-tree, and a mystery play. He conducts the reader to the most popular of the three events, the mystery play, at which the election of the Pope of Fools is to also take place, and recreates the scene of the medieval festival. The most basic elements in this description of the festival are the swell of the crowd and the noise. He notes that the palace yard has the “appearance of a sea, into which five or six streets, like the mouths of so many rivers, disgorged their living streams.”2 This huge crowd produces a great “clamour,” by “the cries of some, the laughter of others and the trampling of thousands of feet.” These throngs are unruly, volatile with the “weariness, the impatience, the freedom of a day of license,” which results in quarrels and complaints.3 The most boisterous are the rakish young scholars such as Joannes Frollo and his friends,

a knot of these merry wights, who, after knocking the glass out of one of the windows, had boldly seated themselves on the entablature, and thence cast their eyes and their jokes alternately within and without.

These students entertain themselves throughout the mystery by exchanging, “their mimicries, their peals of laughter and [their] jeers,” from one end of the hall to the other.

The scholars attack all of the influential members of society, crying:

Down with the Rector, the electors and the proctors!…down with master Andry, the beadles, and the scribes! down with the theologians, the physicians, and the descretists!

When the Rector passes in procession, they rail against him and his servants:

How has he managed to get hither - the old gambler? How could he leave his dice?…Ho, there! Mr. Rector Thibaut, how often did you throw double-six last night?…How he trots along on his mule! I declare the beast’s ears are not so long as his master’s.4

Later, as the Cardinal enters the hall to watch the mystery, young Frollo drapes himself in scarlet and sings loudly, “Cappa repleta mero! (A cloak stuffed with old wine!)”5

This parody and humiliation of the powerful is part of the accepted social function of the Feast of Fools in Hugo’s novel. Despite the complaints of those who receive the sharp end of this humor, the characters attend the festival expecting to enjoy not only the planned events but also those that result from this drunken license. Hugo illustrates this concept in the following passage:

As for the scholars, they swore lustily. It was their day, their Feast of Fools, their saturnalia, the annual orgies of the [clerks of parliament] and of the schools. There was no turpitude but was authorized on that day. Was it not the least they could do to swear at their ease, and to curse a little in the name of God, on so fine a day, in the good company of churchmen and loose women? Accordingly they made good use of the license, and amid the general uproar horrible was the clamour of the blasphemies and enormities proceeding from the tongues thus let loose - the tongues of clerks and scholars restrained during the rest of the year by fear of the red-hot iron of St. Louis.6

The young rakes make the most of their day of sanctioned social freedom, and the most powerful members of society, who are open to the most frequent and violent mockery on such a day, turn a deaf ear to these abominations. Hugo informs the reader that the insults of Frollo and his comrades were smothered by the noise in the hall and thus passed unnoticed by the Cardinal and his attendants. However, Hugo also notes that”

Had it, indeed, been otherwise the Cardinal would not have heeded them, so deeply were the liberties of that day engrafted on the manners of the age.7

As an additional parody of the powerful, the rabble choose a leader for the day, a “Pope of Fools,” who according to custom is selected in the following manner

every one that likes puts his head in turn through a hole, and grins at the others, and he who makes the ugliest face is chosen Pope by acclamation.8

The contestants present themselves and the crowd becomes increasingly bawdy; “seized with a sort of frantic intoxication,” which finally climaxes in the selection of the Pope, the hideous Quasimodo. The misshapen man is crowned with a “pasteboard tiara;” is adorned in “the mock robe” of the Pope of Fools and is hoisted up onto a litter to be born about the town. He becomes part of a procession made up of “all the mendicants, all lackeys, all the cutpurses together with the scholars.”9

The Hunchback of Notre Dame thus recognizes a certain social function inherit in the Feast of Fools. The festival is a mix of religious celebration and social commentary, a recognition of the highest (Christ) and an exaltation of the lowest (thieves, students, the disfigured). As it is presented in the novel, the festival allows for parody and subversion of social roles for two purposes: to create a controlled outlet for the dissatisfaction in the masses which could potentially erupt in more violent and permanent rebellions, and to allow for a certain amount of role-reversal that reminds those in power of the benefits of their station, thus seeming to remind them to rule wisely lest they lose their status.

Armed with these descriptions of the feast and indications of its social function within the context of the novel, one can examine the differences between the novel and the Disney film. The film is much like the novel in the fact that there are swelling crowds whose primary goal seems to be to enjoy their day of license and role-reversal, and the costumes that are worn by the revelers communicate this role-reversal. A king’s costume is overturned and replaced by that of a clown, dogs parade with men on leashes, and a lobster cooks a chef in a pot. These reversals are comparable to the scholars dressing like the Cardinal in parody. However, this also illustrates the first major difference between the two works, the fact that the irreligious references have been removed from the Disney festival. For example, the people crown Quasimodo the “King of Fools” rather than using an ecclesiastical title and there are no religious symbols used in the sequence.10

The second difference is that the feast has the atmosphere of a modern carnival, with jugglers, stilt-walkers, clowns and balloons; the hard critical edge (exemplified by the drinking, violence, and mockery) is gone from the Disney film. The final major difference is the fact that the Disney feast is a musical number which creates a much more visceral emotional connection with the viewer, and which also allows for the lyrics of the song to illustrate the social function of the feast in a more immediate fashion than through the use of dialogue.

Once a year we throw a party here in town
Once a year we turn all Paris upside down
Ev’ry man’s a king and ev’ry king’s a clown
Once again its Topsy Turvy Day…
It’s the day the devil in us gets released
It’s the day we mock the prig and shock the priest
Ev’ry thing is topsy turvy at the Feast of Fools.11

These lyrics make plain the fact that the main goal of this feast is role-reversal, especially when the lyrics correspond with the overturning of the king figure to reveal a fool as described above. However, the song also indicates that the object of parody (if one is directly identified in the Disney film at all), is the political leadership or class system, and not the religious leaders; it is the “prig” that is “mocked” while the priest is merely “shocked.” This sensitivity about religion is further extended by the filmmakers to the point that the film displays a healthy respect for religious figures. However, at the same time that these figures are portrayed as virtuous, they are also portrayed as somewhat impotent against the forces of evil, whereas Hugo’s clerics are tainted and powerful. In the Disney film, for example, the Arch-Deacon convinces Frollo to adopt the infant Quasimodo, but is unable to intercede or even leave the cathedral when Frollo prepares to execute Esmarelda. There are numerous such alterations of the themes of the original text throughout the film, but the rest of this examination will be limited primarily to the comparison of the interpretation of the Feast of Fools in hope that this will provide illumination about overall thematic alterations.

Hugo’s novel must be contextualized within the period of its creation. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was published in 1831, over three hundred years after the fictional event in the novel and almost two hundred years after the Feast of Fools lost its social relevance and was no longer celebrated.12 Also, one must consider the fact that Hugo was both writing under the influence of Romanticism and also felt a certain amount of personal resentment toward religious figures. Thus, although the cultural milieu of the fictional events in the novel is based upon extensive research, his writing is affected by his writing aesthetic and his anti-clericism.13 An excellent example of Hugo’s views is the passage in which he describes the Cardinal, who:

loved to make merry with the growth of the royal vineyard of Chaillot…bestowed alms on young damsels rather than on wrinkled hags…[and] was surrounded by a little court of bishops and abbots of high families, wenchers and boon companions, who had no objection to join in a carouse…a few hours before lustily singing, to the clatter of glasses, the bacchanalian song of Benedict XII…Bibamus papaliter (Let us drink like a Pope).14

Another example is the subtle comment made by a rabble leader when, having elected Quasimodo, the gathering learns that he is deaf, “Deaf! …By the Rood! He is an accomplished Pope.”15 As an artist, especially during the Romantic era, Hugo seems less interested in a historically accurate account of the Feast of Fools than in using the festival as a rhetorical device, a framework upon which to construct the events of his tale. Thus, in order to gain a more complete perspective of the themes and interpretation of the Feast of Fools in both the novel and the Disney film, one must consider the nature of the historical festival.

The Feast of Fools was historically celebrated on the same date and in much the same ribald manner as Hugo’s festival.

Ingvild Salid Gilhus notes that the core theme of these celebrations is that of “reversals and incongrueties” consisting of the use of “masks, talking gibberish, making animal noises instead of articulated speech, men dressing in female clothes etc.”16 Hugo seems to have captured these elements of the feast and the social commentary of role-reversal which they provide. However, in addition to these reversals, Gilhus maintains that when examining this social commentary, the significance of the festival “must be sought in relation to the Catholic Church and to the religious universe of that church.”17 The significance of the religious milieu is articulated by a letter from the Theological Faculty of Paris in 1445 which condemns the celebration of the feast:

Priests and clerks may be seen wearing masks and monstrous visages at the hours of office. They sing wanton songs. They eat black puddings at the horn of the altar while the celebrant is saying mass. They play at dice there. They cense with stinking smoke from the soles of old shoes. They run and leap through the church, without a blush at their own shame. Finally, they drive about the town and its theatres in shabby traps and carts; and rouse the laughter of their fellows and the bystanders in infamous performances with indecent gestures and verses scurrilous and unchaste.18

In addition to this description, there are accounts where:

the lay-brothers held their books upside-down, wore spectacles of orange peels, and blew ashes from the censers upon each other;”

records of a drinking bout on the porch

before the ass was let in [to the church],” and complaints of participants who wore flowers in their hair, dressed in the clothing of women, beggars and minstrels, or even appeared naked.19

Arguably, the most startling reversal is the extent to which the revelers distorted the words and acts of the liturgy. Additional chants and songs were added to the office which often directly mocked the sacredness of the ceremony.20 The mass and the answers were at times changed to braying and an ass was led into the church, while the priests engaged in “dissonant singing, of gibberish, of shouting, hissing, howling, cackling and jeering.”21 At Vespers the leader of the feast was elected accompanied by the proclamation that “the mighty were cast down from their seats and the low ones were exalted.” Gilhus stresses the point that this elected leader was given an ecclesiastical title, often bishop, archbishop, or pope, and further that this leader was borne in procession as though a visiting church dignitary, accompanied by the cross and bearing mock emblems of power such as a twisted pastoral staff. In the milieu of medieval Paris, royal power is combined with, or even somewhat subservient to, the church, and thus it is the church which bears the brunt of this social commentary in the historical festival.

In part due to the separation of church and state in his era, Hugo ignores the bulk of the irreligious aspects of the feast, and the religious references which remain, although tainted by his anti-clericism, are significantly altered by the Disney film. However, before making any conclusions about Disney’s poetic license, one must account for other versions of the narrative which have heavily influenced its cultural memory and thus, would have had an influence upon later interpretations.

One of the earliest adaptations of the novel was a silent picture filmed in 1923 by Universal Pictures and starring Lon Chaney.22 Although during this era Universal was primarily known for low-budget “B” movies and lacked the capital to gamble on such a lavish period piece, they attempted to realistically recreate medieval Paris on the backlot of Universal City. The producers were so concerned with detail and realism that when they constructed the sets, which universal president Carl Laemmle felt “should be built as solidly as the real thing,” they recreated the lower sixty feet of Notre Dame and the surrounding square, even carting in real cobblestones by wagon from a riverbed twenty miles distant. Unfortunately, their exhaustive attention to detail extended only to the visual and they made drastic changes to both the plot and the themes of the novel. The screenwriters, Perley Poore Sheehan and Edward T. Lowe were forced to trim the novel down to a manageable length, and in doing so, they altered the themes on two key points:

to relieve some of the gloom which permeates the novel but would hardly be acceptable to theater audiences of the time, and partly to eliminate Hugo’s criticism of the church.23

This was an unusually selective decision in the decade before the self-censoring Hays Production Code which prohibited the depiction of anything offensive, and it was probably based upon artistic or personal tastes of the studio executives.

The Feast of Fools as it is portrayed in this film is less coherent than in the novel, with the essence of the role-reversal removed. No presence of ecclesiastical or political power is represented, and thus there is nothing for the revelers to erect as a target for parody. The festival seems to have deteriorated to a huge cavorting mass of people bearing torches and dancing. The film retains the election of Quasimodo as the leader of the festivities, but in keeping with the elimination of clerical criticism, his title is altered to that of the “King of Fools.” The removal of such irreligious references eliminates the source of parody and thus modifies the social commentary and the overall purpose of the Feast of Fools. Universal’s festival lacks the social relevance of both Hugo’s feast and the historical festival; it seems to be merely a point of social interaction which allows for the hunchback to fall in love with Esmarelda as he views her dancing. Even the interaction between classes which is an unspoken effect of the festival is downplayed in this film; each individual seems very much alike whether merchant, gypsy, or priest. These details reveal two important issues: first, that the changes were intentional rather than a by-product of the adaptation process, and second that this film has become almost legendary and established the conventions for later film versions.

The next version of the narrative was filmed in 1939 by RKO with Charles Laughton cast in the lead role.24 The “talkies” were an established mode of filmmaking by this time and this improvement in technology, among others, permitted the producers to create a much more sophisticated film. However, the producers borrowed heavily from the conventions of the earlier, highly successful film. The Feast of Fools segment has more diverse entertainments; mild diversions such as jugglers, musicians, feasting, dancing, and kissing; and more ribald pleasures such as cutting purses, fighting, drinking, jumping bodily into full wine barrels, and bear baiting. In contrast to the earlier film, the king attends this festival, but like the earlier film, the class differences are played down. This king sits near the people, enjoys the entertainment and seems to fraternize with his subjects. The benevolence of this dictator removes a lot of the impact from the later crowning of the King of Fools, eliminating the role reversal which is such an important theme in the novel, but at least he is present as a representative of power and thus a potential object of parody.

Another similarity between this film and the earlier version is that the religious references have been removed as well. Once again the ecclesiastical titles of scorn are removed and political references to a king put in their place. When the king is crowned, all of the peasants turn around and “moon” the new festive monarch, but this disrespect is for a politician, not a religious leader. This alteration of the titles becomes much more poignant when one considers the alteration of the scene when Quasimodo is crowned and the crowd learns that he is deaf. In the film, the leader of the rabble discovers that the hunchback “[is] dumb too…” and responds, “That makes him the perfect king!” This line makes plain the degree to which the religious references are secularized in the film. However, the film reverses Hugo’s anti-clericism further by adding a healthy respect for the church. As the guards pursue Esmarelda into the cathedral they are stopped by a priest who offers her sanctuary. The priest is portrayed as a powerful force of good against which soldiers have no recourse, and this characterization of potency and respect is further reinforced by the sacred music which overlays the scene. In this way, this film builds upon the conventions of the silent version and alters Hugo’s themes further.

Another film which uses the carnival as a rhetorical device and thus is useful as a device for comparison is the Franco Zeffirelli rendition of The Taming of the Shrew.25 In this film, Zeffirelli removes the induction of Christopher Sly which Shakespeare used as a framing device for the play. In this induction, the Sly character is exalted beyond his station and then watches the play which becomes a lesson in role-reversal and proper social behavior. At the end, Sly is dismissed, beaten, and scolded for not maintaining his proper place in society. Zeffirelli replaces this induction with a carnival which is very similar to the Feast of Fools and which develops the role-reversal idea much more effectively for the film than the original framing device. Graham Holderness describes this portrayal of the festival:

In the course of the opening sequence, we observe the barbaric anti-ceremony of clerics wearing grotesque animal masks, sacred music giving way to obscene and cacophonous chants, [and] a blasphemously parodic image of the Virgin.26

In this sequence, the portrayed festival accomplishes much the same purpose as does the Feast of Fools in Hugo’s novel and later film adaptations; by comically and violently disrupting the dominant social order, it not only creates a commentary about that order, but also, through parody of the trappings of power, the feast reaffirms the importance of that order. This film is not useful merely for comparison, but it was also wildly successful and has become heavily entrenched in contemporary cultural memory. As such, the vibrant festival portrayed in the film could be viewed as a minor link in exploring the antecedents of and the influences upon the Disney film. One connection in particular that is worth mentioning is the fact that the Zefferelli festival begins with a solemn religious ceremony whose participants wear black hooded robes and then at a signal, suddenly fling them off to reveal colorful festival costumes beneath. This event is mirrored almost exactly at the beginning of the Feast of Fools segment in the Disney film, as a hooded band of worshippers enters the square and casts off their robes. This scene is not found in Hugo’s novel, and thus might logically be traced to Zeffirelli’s film.

This connection brings up one of the difficult aspects of one of these types of explorations. How does one trace the influences upon a work of art such as Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame which is not only a collaborative creation involving the synthesis of the cultural memories of many people, but also a work which is based upon a well-known image, especially when that image has been much altered during numerous translations? Without doubt, the Disney filmmakers consulted the original text and the earlier movie versions. In addition, although access to the Disney archives is limited, Steven Rebello’s The Art of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and other Disney publications suggest that the animators consulted period artwork to help inspire them in their creation of the medieval festival.

According to Rebello, the primary source of inspiration for the crowd scenes in the film was the art of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, especially The Battle Between Carnival and Lent, 1559.27

There are several thematic and artistic sources available within this art work, which depicts a day of carnival and the allegorical battle between license and piety. In the foreground, Prince Carnival rides a wine cask, wearing a pie for a hat and armed with a spit holding a pig’s head and other treats. His opponent is the figure of Lent, a thin old woman crowned with a basket and armed with two herring. The composition of the painting supports the theme of a contest between the two extremes. It is the theme of moral criticism and the contest between license and conformity which makes this painting an important thematic source for Disney. Artistically, it has many similarities to the palette used in the film, characterized by David Goetz as:

dirty pageantry…the grungy, lived-in medieval look we were all after. We went for a highly saturated fall palette - orange, rust, yellow ochre - everything with a burnt smokiness to it, punched up with reds and violets.28

In addition, many of the costumes of the crowd are similar to those in this painting, particularly that of Clopin which resembles the split-pattern design of the faceless fool. The influence of this work is evident when one examines the concept art for the film such as the festival scene created by Rowland Wilson.

The meat on a fork in the center of the concept painting mirrors a similar image under the sign of the ship in the Battle. The spoon stuck in the hat of a man in the center of the former painting is similar to a spoon in the belt of another above the fool in the conceptual drawing. Many of these details were later eliminated from the final film art, but it is evident that the Disney concept artists utilized Breughel’s art as a resource, and this exploration of period art is evidence of their interest in historical representation.29

With all of these resources available to them, the Disney filmmakers could select from many different interpretations of the Feast of Fools. It is important when considering their motivations that the Disney target audience is primarily children and that much that was considered acceptable social criticism in Hugo’s day (or during the era about which he writes) is offensive to modern sensibilities in the contemporary multicultural age.30 It is also readily apparent that Disney is not as guilty as some may claim of altering Hugo’s novel from the original. By merely building on the established Hollywood conventions established by two fantastically successful forerunners, the Disney approach could be interpreted as merely a progression in a chain in the evolution of the tale.

In a very thoughtful essay, Paul Goldenberger argues that the older versions of film are more accurate renditions which more successfully capture the intent of Victor Hugo’s novel.

These older films - and hundreds of other successful movie versions of great works of literature - were different in a critical way from the new “Hunchback”… Once, films based on classics emerged out of a belief that the intentions of the original material were paramount and had to prevail.31

Like many others, this essay decries the alteration of the original by Disney filmmakers. Goldberger contends, very accurately, that the Disney creators “didn’t miss the point of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but rather that they “just didn’t like it.”32 The alterations engineered by Disney are obvious, intentional, rhetorical, and even blasphemous or silly depending on one’s perspective. To assert, however, that the older films were more true to the intention of the original is to ignore the substantial alterations and progression of the film identity of this particular narrative in the popular consciousness. The largest alteration is animation, which by itself is linked so securely to the infantilization of a film that critics may ignore more severe, thematic alterations made in earlier celluloid versions. Perhaps the most significant indication of the changing identity of the film as different versions appear is the progressive alteration of the nature and title of the villain. In the Chaney version, Claude Frollo is a good priest, dressed in white and the function of villain is transferred to his brother Jehan [Joannes] who dresses in black. In the Laughton version, Claude Frollo is the villain, but his title has been changed to “High Justice Frollo;” the ecclesiastical title has been removed. Disney follows this progression of secularization, giving the evil Frollo the simple title of “Judge.”

The impact of these earlier films and their alteration of the fundamental themes of the novel cannot be ignored. It is also apparent, however, that Disney expended a great deal of time and effort to research both visual and literary sources for the films and that they fully understood the historical function of the festival. Rebello paraphrases the passage from the above quoted letter from the Theological Faculty of Paris in a section of his book about the Feast of Fools and makes note of the irreligious tone of the feast.33 In the premier edition of Disney Magazine, Kevin Markey again summarizes the letter and makes specific reference to the “Pope of Fools.”34

If Disney’s Hunchback exists as a link in a chain, a multicultural reading of the tale for an end-of-the-century audience, and if the filmmakers made an artistic choice based upon education rather than ignorance, then why are so many viewers uncomfortable with a Disney interpretation? Perhaps it is the fact that Disney over-emphasizes the theme of role-reversal in much the same manner that Hugo over-emphasizes the anti-clericism of the festival. In both cases, what was historically conceived as an ephemeral state is rendered permanent and thus the feast loses its potency as a form of social commentary. Regardless of this fact and the negativity surrounding the “verity” of the Disney adaptation of the novel, the Feast of Fools segment reveals that this film is in many ways thematically closer to the original novel than those adaptations which immediately proceed it and from which it seems to have so heavily drawn.

  1. Paul Goldernberger, “Cuddling Up to Quasimodo and Friends,” New York Times (June 23, 1996): H-1. ↩︎

  2. Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (New York: Dodd, Nead and Company, 1947), 12. ↩︎

  3. Hugo, 17. ↩︎

  4. Hugo, 20. ↩︎

  5. Hugo, 36. ↩︎

  6. Hugo, 35. ↩︎

  7. Hugo, 36. ↩︎

  8. Hugo, 45. ↩︎

  9. Hugo, 51. ↩︎

  10. One possible religious reference is a fish chasing a man in a boat. When considered in the light of Catholic dining regulations concerning the eating of fish on Fridays, this could be a very subtle Catholic criticism. ↩︎

  11. Stephen Rebello, The Art of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. (New York: Hyperion Press, 1996), 2. ↩︎

  12. For a more comprehensive timeline, see Igvild Salid Gilhus, “Carnival in Religion: The Feast of Fools in France,” Numen 37, no. 2 (1990): 24. ↩︎

  13. Interestingly, Disney retains and even expands some of Hugo’s Romantic devices. The most poignant is the use of the “pathetic fallacy,” where nature empathizes with the protagonist and behaves accordingly. When Quasimodo is joyful at the festival, the scene becomes noticably lighter, and after his humiliation, the sky becomes dark and it starts to rain. For a discussion of this, see Rebello, 169. The cathedral supports “Quasi” as well; the bells thrum when he angrily breaks the chains that bind him, and a gargoyle comes to life and plunges Frollo to his death. ↩︎

  14. Hugo, 34. ↩︎

  15. Hugo, 50. ↩︎

  16. Gilhus, 24. ↩︎

  17. Gilhus, 25. ↩︎

  18. Gilhus, 24. ↩︎

  19. Gilhus, 27. ↩︎

  20. An example from the letter quoted above is the fact that the revelers would eat black pudding at the altar. Not only was eating and drinking forbidden in the sanctuary, but when one considers that black pudding is made from blood, the explicit mockery of the sacrament becomes evident as well. ↩︎

  21. Gilhus, 27. ↩︎

  22. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, directed by Wallace Worsley, 1923. There have been many adaptations of the Hunchback novel: films, plays, operettas and television screenplays, (not to mention all of the bit pieces and parodies which utilize the Quasimodo character). Most of these adaptations are extremely obscure and thus are somewhat outside of the scope of this paper. ↩︎

  23. George Turner, “A Silent Giant: The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” American Cinematographer (June 1985): 34. ↩︎

  24. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, directed by William Dieterle, 1939. ↩︎

  25. The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Franco Zefferelli, 1967. ↩︎

  26. Graham Holderness, Shakespeare in Performance: The Taming of the Shrew. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989), 57. ↩︎

  27. Rebello, 168. ↩︎

  28. Rebello, 169. ↩︎

  29. With this in mind, it is highly doubtful that the Disney concept artists could have failed to consider Breughel’s Feast of Fools. However, despite the fact that this engraving deals directly with the festival, the concept artists may have found the subject matter to be rather limited and the monochrome color to be uninspiring in comparison to other works. ↩︎

  30. Anthony Lane comments about the apparent confusion over target audience in his review of the Disney film. He feels that in trying to cater to both children and adults which results in “kid’s stuff decked out with judicious adult additions,” and the lasting legacy of the film will be that it is the “world premier of Disney cleavage.” ↩︎

  31. Goldernberger, H-1. ↩︎

  32. Goldernberger, H-1. ↩︎

  33. Rebello, 176-7. ↩︎

  34. Kevin Markey, “The Festival of Fools,” Disney Magazine 1, no 1 (Summer 1996): 54. ↩︎


Billington, Sandra. Mock Kings in Medieval Society and Renaissance Drama. Oxford: Clerendon Press, 1991.

Frati, Tiziana. Bruegel: The Complete Paintings. N.Y.: Granada Press, 1980.

Gilhus, Igvild Salid. “Carnival in Religion: The Feast of Fools in France.” Numen 37.1 (1990):24-52.

Goldberger, Paul. “Cuddling up to Quasimodo and Friends.”* New York Times* 145.2 (June 23, 1996): H-1.

Gluck, Gustav. Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Paris: Hyperion Press, 1936.

Glut, Donald F. Classic Movie Monsters. London: The Scarecrow Press, 1978.

Hanawalt, Barbara A. and Kathryn L. Reyerson, eds. City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Holderness, Graham. Shakespeare in Performance: The Taming of the Shrew. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989.

Hugo, Victor. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1947.

Lane, Anthony. “Lone Stars.” The New Yorker. (July 8, 1996): 84-87.

Markey, Kevin. “The Festival of Fools.” Disney Magazine. 1.1 (Summer 1996): 54-55.

Mellinkoff, Ruth.* Outcasts: Signs of Otherness in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages*. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Rebello, Stephen. The Art of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. N.Y.: Hyperion Press, 1996.

Regalado, Nancy Freeman. “The Tournament of Vices and Virtues in the Roman de Fauvel.” Gesta 32.2 (1993): 135-146.

Sullivan, Margaret. Bruegel’s Peasants: Art and Audience in the Northern Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Turner, George. “A Silent Giant: The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” American Cinematographer (June, 1985): 34-43.

Volume 1, Issue 1

Also in this issue

Passing in the Age of Rachel Dolezal, or Is Everyone Catfishing?

Judy Phagan

In the Ruins of Geocities

Rieke Jordan
Freie Universität Berlin

On Album Covers as Supplementary Narratives in Multimodal Popular Music Analyses

Robert J. Belton
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Department of Critical Studies
Caroline Fitzpatrick, PhD; Ryan Lange, PhD; Jodi Radosh, PhD

Dave Grossman and the Depiction of the Psychological Effects of Killing in the Television Show Supernatural

Stephan Schaffrath
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of Developmental Studies

Features in this issue

From the Editors

Submit a response

Do you have something to say? Submit a response to one of the articles in this issue. Our editorial staff will be in touch soon.