Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Emile Zola

I have only read one of Zola's novels, Therese Raquin, which I really enjoyed even though it is a rather depressing story. The poverty and living conditions it describes in Paris are hard to believe but I'd put it in my list of favourite books.
 Zola was an interesting character, living through the second half of the 19th century, politically active, and a major player in the exoneration of the falsely convicted officer Alfred Dreyfuss. Growing up in Paris he was friends with Cezanne. He was fired from his job at the publishers Hachette after the publication of his autobiographical novel La Confession de Claude in 1865 which had attracted police notice due to its sordid nature, but Therese Raquin, his first major novel followed shortly after.
Paul Cezanne- Paul Alexis reading to Emile Zola, 1869-1870
Although writing continually and building the series of 20 books called Les Rougon Macquart, his success came in 1877 with the publication of l'Assommoir (the 7th book in the series) which made him wealthy, to be followed by the success of  Germinal , the 13th  novel, in 1885, which is often considered to be his masterpiece.
Tragically, he died of monoxide poisoning in 1902 aged 62 due to a blocked chimney and foul play was suspected by many due to his political involvement.

(Just thought I'd add a link to this excellent site about Zola )

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