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  • 437
  • Date :
  • 9/27/2003

Emile Zola

 (1840-1902)

"I am little concerned with beauty or perfection. I don't care for the great centuries. All I care about is life, struggle, intensity. I am at ease in my generation."(FromMy Hates, 1866)

Emile Zola was born inParis. His father was an Italian engineer, who had French the citizenship in 1862. Zola spent his childhood inAix-en-Provence, southeast France. When he was seven, his father died, leaving the family with money problems - his mother was largely dependent on a tiny pension. In 1858 Zola moved with his mother to Paris. In his youth he became friends with the painter Paul Cézanne and started to write under the influence of the romantics. Zola's widowed mother planned for him a career in law. However, Zola failed his baccalaureate examination - as later did the writerAnatole France who failed several times but finally passed it. According to a story, Zola was sometimes so broke that he eat sparrows that he trapped on his window sill.

Before his breakthrough as a writer, Zola worked as a clerk in a shipping firm and then in sales department of the publishing house of Louis-Christophe-Francois-Hachette. He also wrote literary columns and art critics for the Cartier de Villemessant's newspapers. As a political journalist Zola did not hide his antipathy toward the French Emperor Napoleon III, who used theSecondRepublic as a springboard to become Emperor.

During his formative years Zola wrote several short stories and essays, 4 plays and 3 novels. Among his early books was CONTES ء NINON, which was published in 1864. When his sordid autobiographical novel LA CONFESSION DE CLAUDE (1865) was published and attracted the attention of the police, Zola was fired from Hachette.

After his first major novel, THةRبSE RAQUIN (1867), Zola started the long series calledLes Rougon Macquart, the natural and social history of a family under theSecond Empire.
At first the plan was limited to 10 books, but ultimately the series comprised 20 volumes, ranging in subject from the world of peasants and workers to the imperial court. Zola prepared his novels carefully. The result was a combination of precise documentation, dramatic imagination and accurate portrayals. Zola interviewed experts, wrote thick dossiers based on his research, made thoughtful portrait of his protagonists, and outlined the action of each chapter. He rode in the cab of a locomotive when he was preparing LA BتTE HUMAINE (1890, The Beast in Man), and for Germinal he visited coal mines. This was something else than Balzac's volcanic creative writing process, which producedLa Comédie humaine, a social saga of nearly 100 novels.

The appearance of L'ASSOMMOIR (Drunkard, 1877), a depiction of alcoholism, made Zola the best-known writer inFrance. He bought an estate at Médan and attracted imitators and disciplines. Inspired by Claude Bernard'sIntroduction à la médecine expérimentale (1865) Zola tried to adjust scientific principles in the process of observing society and interpreting it in fiction. Thus a novelist, who gathers and analyzes documents and other material, becomes a part of the scientific research. He did not much believe in the possibility of individual freedom but emphasized the importance of external influences on human development. His treatise, LE ROMAN EXPةRIMENTAL (1880), manifested the author's faith in science and acceptance of scientific determinism.

In 1885 Zola published one of his finest works, GERMINAL. It was first major work on a strike, based on his research notes on labor conditions in the coal mines. The book was attacked by right-wing political groups as a call to revolution. Zola's tetralogy, LES QUATRE EVANGILES, which started from FةCONDITة (1899), was left unfinished. Also notable in Zola's career was his involvement in the Dreyfus affair with his open letter J'ACCUSE.
Zola died on September 28, in 1902, under mysterious circumstances, overcame by carbon monoxide fumes in his sleep. According to some speculations, Zola's enemies blocked the chimney of his apartment, causing poisonous fumes to build up and kill him. At Zola's funeral Anatole France declared.'He was a moment of the human conscience.'In 1908 Zola's remains were transported to the Panthéon. Naturalism as a literary movement fell out of favor after Zola's death, but his integrity influenced deeply such writers asTheodore Dreiser,August Strindberg and Emilia Pardo-Bazan.

Selected works:

CONTES ء NINON, 1864 - Stories for Ninon

LA CONFESSION DE CLAUDE, 1865 - Claude's Confession

MES HAINES, 1866

EDOUART MANET, 1867

LES MYSTبRES DE MARSEILLE, 1867 - The Mysteries of Marseilles

MADELEINE FةRAT, 1869

ROUGON-MACQUART CYCLE, 1871-93, 20 novels totally, starting with LA FORTUNE DES ROUGON, 1871 (The Fortune of the Rougions); LA CURةE, 1874 (The Rush for the Spoil); LE VENTRE DE PARIS, 1874 (The Belly of Paris); LA CONQUتTE DE PLASSANS, 1874 (The Conquest of Plassans); LA FAUTE DE L'ABBة MOURET, 1875; SON EXCELLENCE EUGبNE ROUGON, 1876 (His Excellency Eugène Rougon); L'ASSOMMOIR, 1877 (The Dram Shop / The Gin Palace); UNE PAGE D'AMOUR, 1878; NANA, 1880 (trans.); POT-BOUILLE, 1882 (Restless House); AU BONHEUR DES DAMES, 1883 (The Ladies' Paradise); LA JOIE DE VIVRE, 1884 (How Jolly Life Is); GERMINAL, 1885 (trans.); L'ŒUVRE, 1886 (The Masterpiece); LA TERRE, 1887 (The Soil); LE RتVE, 1888 (The Dream); LA BتTE HUMAINE, 1890 (The Beast in Man); L'ARGENT, 1891 (Money); LA DةBآCLE, 1892 (The Downfall); LE DOCTEUR PASCAL, 1893 (Doctor Pascal)

L'ASSOMMOIR, 1877 - The "Assommoir" / The Dram-Shop- Ansa, suom. Juha Mannerkorpi

LA RةPUBLIQUE FRANاAISE AT LA LITTةRATURE, 1879

NANA, 1880 - transl. - suom.-films: 1925, dir. by Jean Renoir; 1934, dir, by Dorothy Arzner; 1954, dir. by Christian-Jacque

LE ROMAN EXPةRIMENTALE, 1880

LES SOIRةES DE MةDAN, 1880

LES ROMACIERS NATURALISTES, 1881

LE NATURALISME AU THةآTRE, 1881

NOS AUTEURS DRAMATIQUES, 1881

DOCUMENTS LITTةRAIRES, ةTUDES AT PORTRAITS, 1881

AU BONHEUR DES DAMES, 1883 - The Ladies'Paradise / Naisten aarreaitta/Naisten paratiisi

GERMINAL, 1885 - trans. - suom. -film 1993, dir. by Claude Berri

L'OUVRE, 1886 - The Masterpiece

L'AFFAIRE DFEYFUS: LETTRE ہ LA JEUNESSE, 1887

LE RتVE, 1888 - The Dream - Unelma -film: 1921, dir. by Jacques de Baroncelli

LA BتTE HUMAINE, 1890

L'ARGENT, 1891 - Money - Raha -film: 1928, dir. by Marcel L'Herbier

DةBآCLE, 1892 - The Debacle - Sota

LES TROIS VILLES: LOURDES (1894);ROME (1896); PARIS (1898) - trans.

ŒUVRES COMPLبTES, 1927-29 (50 vols.)

CORRESPONDANCE 1858-1877, 1980

Taken from:
http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/ezola.htm

For more information:
http://pages.globetrotter.net/pcbcr/zola.html (in French)
http://www.who2.com/emilezola.html
http://www.as.wvu.edu/mlastinger/zola.htm
http://www.teachwithmovies.org/guides/life-of-emile-zola.html

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