What was Quasimodo suffering from?

  • Nikolaos G. Markeas
  • Athanasios Verdis
Keywords: Notre-Dame de Paris; Quasimodo; literature; mucopolysaccharidosis; neurofibromatosis


One of the fictional characters in Victor Hugo’s novel “Notre-Dame de Paris” is without doubt Quasimodo: the hunchbacked bell-ringer of the Cathedral. From a medical perspective, the affliction of Quasimodo has remained a mystery for two centuries. Recent research however has linked his condition to a particular pathogenicity. Specifically, some passages in Hugo’s novel suggest that a form of mucopolysaccharidosis, a deformity associated with many congenital and hereditary changes affecting the skeletal system, could explain Quasimodo’s somatometric characteristics. In the present study we support the above claim and we discuss a number of related issues in the point between medicine and literature.


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Author Biographies

Nikolaos G. Markeas

2nd Department of Orthopaedics, General Children’s Hospital “P. & A. Kyriakou”

Athanasios Verdis

Department of Philosophy-Pedagogy-Psychology, University of Athens