Emile Zola's Desk Set: This was the author's personal desk set retreived from his Paris home shortly after his death. It has correspondence he received, his pen with various nibs, his ink, photographs of family and friends, coins and his pince nez glasses.
If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.
from EMILE ZOLA: A LIFE for AMERICAN READERS
(to be released Jan15, 2014)
There is considerable memorial evidence that Zola was a determined individual even as a young boy; it is not surprising that Zola’s motto as a youth was “all or nothing.” He did not delude himself into believing that fame and fortune would come with ease. He knew early on that hard work, long hours at his desk, and determination were important factors for the realization of his goal.
Zola was born in Paris on April 2, 1840 less than two months after Thomas Hardy’s birth in Dorchester, Dorset. His father, Francesco Zola, was of Italian Venetian descent. His mother, French-born Emilie-Aurẻliẻ Aubert, was the daughter of a glazier who lived near Paris. Francesco Zola was an exuberant man who had traveled extensively throughout Europe, practiced a variety of professions and seen service in the French Foreign Legion. He was always inventive and filled with inventive plans such as the creation of a new harbor for Marseilles or the building of a canal in the drought-ridden area around Aix-en-Provence. Despite the pressures and strictures placed on his projects by Louis-Philippe’s government, the dreamer Francesco Zola never stopped attempting to bring his ideas to fruition. His world, animated with laughter and hope for the future, spread optimism and joy around him.
Francesco Zola’s plans for the building of a dam in the southern part of France were approved, finally, in 1847. Unfortunately, on a spring day when he was working in one of the dam sights in Aix-en-Provence, an icy mistral wind came up from the gorges. A head cold developed. Unwilling to care for such a slight indisposition, Francesco Zola left on business for Marseilles. His condition worsened. By the time his wife arrived in Marseilles to care for him, pleurisy had set in. Medication failed. The love match that had been their marriage ended on March 27 with Francesco Zola’s death at the age of fifty-one.
Sorrow entered the Zola household. The young Emile, only seven at the time, and deeply attached to his father, felt the loss acutely. A rather sickly child, his father’s courage and positive attitude, coupled with his mother’s gentleness and inner strength, helped him survive an attack of “brain fever’ (possibly juvenile encephalitis) at the age of two. He remained myopic as a consequence of the disease. When the family moved to Aix-en-Provence from Paris in 1843, the fresh air and the long walks through the sun-filled valleys and mountains served to strengthen the young lad. Responsibilities seemed a long way off.
His father’s death ended the carefree and happy days of childhood. Not only was the family to suffer emotionally from the loss, but also economically for many years to come. The Zola family was overwhelmed with debt. Ill-advised, Mme. Zola began a lawsuit to secure shareholders’ compensation for the losses incurred in the canal project. The world of finance was to make inroads into Zola’s life at an early age. He saw it as harsh and brutal; it left deep scars.
Despite her precarious financial situation, Mme. Zola was adamant about securing her son’s education. She invited her parents to move into smaller quarters with her, and to care for her home while she went out to do housework. The young Zola was enrolled as a day student at the Pension Notre-Dame, directed by Master Isoard; afterward he was sent as pensionnaire to the Collège Bourbon (College of Aix). Sensitive and solitary, the young Zola was chided by his peers. They laughed at what they considered his Parisian accent, his lisp, his poverty, and his near-sightedness, his awkward ways. To make matters even worse, he realized only too late that Master Isoard’s school was so wanting academically that he was nearly a year behind his classmates. From 1855 to 1857 he made up his mind to work assiduously. By the time he was ready for graduation he had won nearly all the prizes.
Money grew increasingly scarce. The family moved to still poorer quarters. It was not Zola’s way, however, to indulge in despair. Despite the hardships now endured, he retained an idealistic view of life. The void he felt so keenly with his classmates’ rejection of him was filled by two lads with whom he experienced a deep and lasting entente: Baptistin Baille, a considerate and reliable young man, given to dreaming, who would one day become professor at the Ecole Polytechnique; and Paul Cézanne. Cézanne’s passionate temperament, his outgoing ways, and his compassion for others, were welcomed by lonely Zola. Stronger and older than Zola, Cézanne frequently intervened on his behalf when classmates derided and teased him. Baille, Cézanne, and Zola were inseparable.
The three were fired with enthusiasm. Painting and literature were their favorite topics of discussion. They frequently recited the verses of Lamartine, Vigny, Hugo, and Musset aloud, responding most fervently to the tender emotions expressed by these Romantic poets; with their lyricism and feelings of profound communion with nature. Zola dreamed of becoming a poet, Cézanne was drawn to painting, and Baille longed to become one of France’s “great” epic poets.
The days spent roaming through the countryside, bathing in the clear streams during the hot summer months were joyous ones. Zola and his friends filled their eyes with nature’s spectacular colors: yellows, greens, fuchsia, purples, gold. They breathed in the aromas of Provence: lavender, sage, and thyme. Cézanne would one day immortalize the Mont Sainte-Victoire in his canvasses in pinks, blues, mauves, and ochres; Zola would eternalize the gorges of Infernet, Vauvenargues’ old castle, in his novels.
Zola’s idyllic existence was to be interrupted once again. His grandmother, worn out from the arduous labor of trying to feed herself, her husband, daughter, and grandson on the little she could gather together from the sale of her furniture and other precious objects, became ill and died in November, 1857. Mme. Zola realized that she could no longer subsist doing housework at Aix. She would have to go to Paris, contact some of her husband’s former friends, and seek their help. She left for the city. After several weeks, Zola received a note from her asking him to sell whatever belongings were left, use the money to buy tickets for his grandfather and for himself, and come to Paris. He had mixed feelings of anticipation and fear. He often told friends later in life that going to Paris was “like being born; the pain, the humiliation, the joy, the bright lights.”
Zola felt disoriented in the Paris of the Second Empire and uprooted from his friends and the simple life he knew at Aix-en-Provence. Thrust into a metropolis of turbulence and poverty, feelings of loneliness overwhelmed him. Memories were his sole companion.
After a coup d’état in 1851, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte had the Assembly dissolved and the leaders of the opposition imprisoned or deported to French Guyana or Algeria, and proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III. Paris had been taken by surprise. Since opposition to Napoleon had not had time to gather strength, he was able to exercise virtual dictatorship. Freedom of the press was abolished; a network of police alerted to antigovernment activities was established. Victor Hugo reacted strongly to the political situation and exiled himself to the islands of Jersey and Guernsey. He spoke out harshly in his poetry against Napoleon III calling him “le Petit,” as compared with his uncle, Napoleon I, “le Grande.” The young Republican, Gambetta, whom Zola was to admire later in life, compared Napoleon III to Nero, Tiberius, and Caligula. Plots against the emperor were discovered daily. In 1858, for example, the Italian Count Orsini planted three bombs in front of the Paris Opera House. When these exploded, several people were killed and others injured. The emperor escaped unharmed.
Despite the restrictions placed on the press and upon individuals, unrest and suffering caused by the extreme disparity between wealthy and poor did not dampen the Second Empire’s drive for amusement and pleasure. The Empress Eugénie, born in Spain, adored parties. She gave them frequently at the Tuilleries Gardens, right opposite the Louvre, and also at Compiègne. The Imperial Court glittered with beauty and luxury. Licentiousness was in the air. Dancing, theater, concerts, masquerades were de rigueur. Prosper Mérimée, the author of Carmen, was a regular guest at the empress’ soirées, and it was on one of these occasions that he composed his famous “dictation”: the empress made about sixty mistakes in twenty lines, proving to all how difficult the French language really was. Hunting was also popular pastime for the rich. The forest of Compiègne was the perfect rendezvous for such festivities. The emperor’s troops were deployed in full regalia, making these hunting parties even more thrilling and spectacular.
The Court of the Second Empire was cosmopolitan. People from all nations and capitals were invited to participate in the amusements. Russians, Italians, Spaniards, British, Austrians, Germans flocked to Paris, the City of Light, to view a world inhabited by nouveaux riches, confidence men, parvenus, mondaines, social butterflies, and the demimonde, a word coined by Alexandre Dumas to describe those who live outside the pale. He immortalized them in Claude’s Wife and The Lady of the Camelias. Money, power, intrigue, and frivolity characterized the Paris of the Second Empire, the epicenter of the world.
Innovations were also taking place in Paris. The old city was being transformed into a modern metropolis. Baron Georges Haussmann (1809-1891), prefect of the Seine for seventeen years, was performing a veritable feat of metropolitan magic. Prior to 1852, Paris resembled a medieval city, with its tortuous maze of airless streets, its clusters of closely-knit houses, some built right into surrounding churches and dating back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; its malodorous fumes exuded from open garbage and overflowing sewers. Haussmann was determined not only to modernize the capitol, but to make it the capitol of the world, a city that would be the envy of every country on Earth.
Haussmann started with a general cleaning, routing out the slums and the makeshift hovels of the most poor. With the invention of the chermin du fer, the iron horse, six great railroad lines converged on Paris, increasing its population exponentially. Narrow streets were as impractical as they were impenetrable. Entire neighborhoods, therefore, were torn down and replaced by large avenues. The Rue de Rivoli was extended from the Bastille to the Concorde; boulevards were created: Saint-Michel, Sebastopol, Strasbourg, and Magenta, enabling each quarter of Paris to communicate with the other. The Saint-Martin canal was covered over and transformed into a large boulevard. The Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes were made into magnificent parks. Squares, promenades, eight hundred kilometers of sewers, and hundreds of new gas lamps were included in the creation of what was to become the most fashionable capital in the world. Haussmann razed entire sections so that spectacular monuments such as the Louvre, the Hôtel de Ville, the Palais-Royal, could stand in all their beauty, unencumbered by the clutter of small and unsightly houses. Edifices were built and others remodeled: the National Library; theaters, such as the Chatelet, the Gaïté, the Nations (later known as the Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt); Notre-Dame was restored, as was Sainte-Chapelle. The sumptuous Paris Opera was built by Charles Garnier and stood in all of its glory at the head of the boulevard by the same name. Many fine old buildings and ancient monuments were, unfortunately, destroyed in the process of restoration: the old dives and houses in the Latin Quarter where the fifteenth-century poet, Francois Villon, used to spend so many of his days; where bohemians enjoyed freedom; where the twelfth-century scholastic philosopher and theologian, Abélard, had been acclaimed by his students.
Paris was the focal point of Europe, the seat for the Congress of Paris (1856) and for the World’s Fairs of 1855 and 1867. Economic activity and industrial development reached undreamed of heights as did speculation in land and businesses of all types. A new age was ushered in, made memorable for its course à l’argent, literally the pathway of money.
Zola was eighteen when he arrived in Paris in 1858. The brashness of his new surroundings with its glitter and excitement, its terrible poverty, its aggressive city-dweller, the so-called “civilized” and “sophisticated” individual –offended Zola’s sensibilities. He enrolled at the Lycée Saint-Louis, thanks to the help given Mme. Zola by one of her husband’s old friends. Again Zola would experience rejection. This time the Parisian boys mocked him because of his southern “accent.” To his chagrin he also discovered that he was academically inferior. Loneliness overwhelmed him; a deep-seated inferiority complex set in. Without Cézanne, Baille, and the sunny climate of Provence to help him through his dismal hours, Zola grew introverted and depressed. He could not enjoy his studies. Although he read extensively, it was only those works by the great Romantics which interested him: Rabelais, Montaigne, Hugo, Musset, whose poetry he still loved passionately.
A glimmer of hope re-entered his life during the summer months when Mme. Zola sent him back to Aix-en-Provence to live with his friends Baille and Cézanne. Once the fall set in, however, Zola returned to the dark and humid atmosphere of the Parisian winter. The sadness and isolation he experienced at this time may have been a factor in weakening him physically. Zola became seriously ill with typhoid. He spent long months in bed and, temporarily lost the power of speech. His mother went out each morning to do housework; he remained alone in his room. His isolation may have been instrumental in developing another area of his personality: his imagination and his dream world which were to nourish and sustain his creative impulse, encouraged him to think of the future, to build hopes and to make plans. Months elapsed. Finally he was sufficiently strong to return to school. His attitude had changed. Easily fatigued, he seemed detached from the world around him, uninterested in his work. When it came time to take his baccalaureate examination in 1859, he failed twice. The examiners claimed, ironically, that Zola’s use of the French language was both “limited” and “defective.”
Zola was nineteen. The time had come, Mme. Zola declared, for her son to earn his own living. A friend of the family came to Zola’s rescue and found him a job as a clerk at the docks. His work would consist of attending to custom charges and matters of freight. Since Zola lived at 241 rue Saint Jacques and the offices were located in the area of the Canal St. Martin, it took him two hours to walk to work every day. He earned 60 francs a month (roughly US$300.00 in today’s money); the hours were long; there was no room for advancement. Zola again became depressed. He saw no way out of his situation: he had reached an emotional and financial impasse. In a letter to Baille, Zola confessed his fear of being and “remaining in a rut,” of not having a future. His work at the docks was not at all satisfying. On the contrary, it was “monotonous,” and absurd. He felt lethargic all the time; half asleep as he copied long lists of numbers. After two months, Zola left his job.
Zola longed for something better. The world of books fascinated him. He decided not to work for a while. He had saved a bit of money and planned to earn more writing poetry and newspaper and magazine articles. He moved out of his mother’s apartment in 1860 at the age of 20. He was ready to fend for himself, to experience the world on his own terms. He embraced the “Bohemian” lifestyle and imagined he would live in the style of Murger’s characters, those early nineteenth century Romantics, with passion and excitement, worshipping Nature. By 1860 though, times had changed. Zola’s life resembled that of the Bohemia he sought to emulate only in one way: he was poor and many a night he was forced to go without food. He read; he meditated. He wrote fiction, The Shop Girl of Provence: a Tale, The Fairy in Love which was published in La Provence, a newspaper at Aix-en-Provence; poems “To My Friend Paul”; he completed The Love Comedy, depicting a kind of Dantesque voyage into the Inferno, Purgatory, and the Paradise of love. Yet, despite his poverty, he still saw that a new world was unfolding. Zola was filled with plans and projects. He was on the threshold of greatness, of this he was certain.
Icy in winter and stifling in summer, his garret room did not dampen his ambitions. He moved frequently from one apartment to another, always in search of cheaper rent. In a letter to Cézanne, he described his tiny room at 24 rue St. Etienne-du-Mont with great enthusiasm: it had been occupied by the “great” Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737-1814), the author of that sentimental novel Paul and Virginia, which had captured the fancies of an entire generation. Zola lived on romance; or fantasized about it. A charming flower girl passed in front of his window twice a day, he wrote. She was young, blond, gracious, and charming. Zola fell in love.
The winters of 1860-62 were particularly arduous for Zola. He sold few stories and still fewer poems. There were days when his room was so cold that he would have to remain in bed to keep warm. He pawned whatever he was able to spare. He ate bread soaked in the oil sent him by his friends from Provence; when he could, he added a bit of cheese to his sparse regimen or a fruit of some sort. The summers were not so bad since the neighborhood parks offered him the greenery for which he so longed.
By April, 1861, Zola was unable to pay his rent. He moved to 11 rue Soufflot, a boarding house occupied by poor students and prostitutes. When Cézanne arrived in Paris, finally, after putting off his visit so many times, Zola’s heart lightened. Cézanne’s father, a banker, gave his son a small subsistence allowance. He and Zola would live together during his stay in Paris. As time passed, however, personality differences arose between the two and remaining in such close quarters together became difficult. Cézanne was not accustomed to small and grimy rooms, dismal restaurants, or poor food. He may also have resented the fact that he was virtually supporting Zola. Most important, however, was Cézanne’s dissatisfaction with himself. He felt he was not growing as an artist and his frustrations led him to burst into uncontrollable rages. He had enrolled at the Académie Suisse where he hoped to prepare himself for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts’ entrance examination. After he failed to pass in August, 1861, he decided to return to Aix and to work for his father.
Zola plodded along. He was for the most part driven by an inner fire which inspired him to write poems about nature and love, essays on “Progress in Science and in Poetry.” He also realized that his financial plight was such that he could no longer indulge in his mock-Bohemian existence. Dr. Boudet, a member of the Academy of Medicine and a friend of his deceased father, introduced Zola to the publishing house of Hachette. By February, 1862, Zola was hired as a clerk in the packing department. He wrapped books for which he was paid 100 francs a month. Soon he was promoted to the advertising department and given 200 francs a month. His days were full and busy. His schedule was set: he worked ten hours at Hachette, after which he ate at a nearby restaurant, returned to his room and wrote assiduously far into the night. A thousand words a day was his goal. Sundays he wrote all day.
COPYRIGHT The Emile Zola Society, 2012. This may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever in whole or in part without the copyright holder's express written consent in writing.
French novelist and critic, the founder of the Naturalist movement in literature. Zola redefined Naturalism as "Nature seen through a temperament." Among Zola's most important works is his famous Rougon-Macquart cycle (1871-1893), which included such novels as L'ASSOMMOIR (1877), about the suffering of the Parisian working-class, NANA (1880), dealing with prostitution, and GERMINAL (1885), depicting the mining industry. Zola's open letter 'J'accuse,' on January 13, 1898, reopened the case of the Jewish Captain, Alfred Dreyfus, sentenced to Devil's Island.
"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." (from My Hates, 1866)
Emile Zola was born in Paris. His father, François Zola, was an Italian engineer, who acquired French citizenship. Zola spent his childhood in Aix-en-Provence, southeast France, where the family moved in 1843. When Zola was seven, his father died, leaving the family with money problems – Emilie Aubert, his mother, was largely dependent on a tiny pension. In 1858 Zola moved with her to Paris. In his youth he became friends with the painter Paul Cézanne, who was his class-mate. Zola's widowed mother had planned a career in law for him. Zola, however, failed his baccalaureate examination – as later did the writer Anatole France, who failed several times but finally passed. According to one story, Zola was sometimes so broke that he ate sparrows that he trapped on his window sill.
Zola began to write under the influence of the romantics. Before his breakthrough, Zola worked as a clerk in a shipping firm and then in the sales department of the publishing house of Louis-Christophe-Francois-Hachette. He also contributed literary columns and art reviews to the Cartier de Villemessant's newspapers. Zola supported the struggle of Edouard Manet and Impressionists; Manet thanked him with a portrait. As a political journalist Zola did not hide his antipathy toward the French Emperor Napoleon III, who used the Second Republic 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 Á 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.
Zola did not much believe in the possibility of individual freedom, but emphasized that "events arise fatally, implacably, and men, either with or against their wills, are involved in them. Such is the absolute law of uman progress." Inspired by Claude Bernard's Introduction 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. His treatise, LE ROMAN EXPÉRIMENTAL (1880), manifested the author's faith in science and acceptance of scientific determinism.
After his first major novel, THÉRÈSE RAQUIN (1867), Zola began the long series called Les Rougon Macquart, the natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire. "I want to portray, at the outset of a century of liberty and truth, a family that cannot restrain itself in its rush to possess all the good things that progress is making available and is derailed by its own momentum, the fatal convulsions that accompany the birth of a new world." The family had two branches – the Rougons were small shopkeepers and petty bourgeois, and the Marquarts were poachers and smugglers who had problems with alcohol. Some members of the family would rise during the story to the highest levels of the society, some would fall as victims of social evils and heredity. Zola presented the idea to his publisher in 1868. "The Rougon-Macquart – the group, the family, whom I propose to study – has as its prime characteristic the overflow of appetite, the broad upthrust of our age, which flings itself into enjoyments. Physiologically the members of this family are the slow working-out of accidents to the blood and nervous system which occur in a race after a first organic lesion, according to the environment determining in each of the individuals of this race sentiments, desires, passions, all the natural and instinctive human manifestations whose products take on the conventional names of virtues and vices."
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, accurate portrayals, and dramatic imagination; the last had actually little to do with his Naturalist theories. Zola interviewed experts, prepared thick dossiers, made thoughtful portraits of his protagonists, and outlined the action of each chapter. He rode in the cab of a locomotive when he was preparing LA BÊTE HUMAINE (1890, The Beast in Man), and for Germinal he visited coal mines. This was something very different from Balzac's volcanic creative writing process, which produced La Comédie humaine, a social saga of nearly 100 novels. The Beast in Man was adapted for screen for the first time in 1938. The director, Jean Renoir wrote the screenplay with Zola's daughter, Denise Leblond-Zola. In the film Séverine (Simone Simon) wants her lover, the locomotive engineer Lantier (Jean Gabin), to kill her stationmaster husband. Lentier, an honest and proud man, cannot do it, but in a fit of anger and frustration he strangles his beloved instead and commits suicide by throwing himself off a fast moving train.
With L'Assommoir (1877, Drunkard), a depiction of alcoholism, Zola became the best-known writer in France, who attracted crowds imitators and disciples, to his great annoyance: "I want to shout out from the housetops that I am not a chef d'ecole, and that I don't want any disciples," Zola once said. His personal appearance – once somebody said that he had the head of a philosopher and the body of an athlete – was know to everybody. Following the publication of LES SOIRÉES DE MÉDAN (1880), Guy de Maupassant jokingly suggested that Zola's country house at Médan should be visited with the same intrerest as the Palace of Versailles and other historical places. Zola lived there eight months in the year, and the other four month in Paris.
Nana, about a young Parisian prostitute, took the reader to the world of sexual exploitation. In general, sex was a central element in Zola's novels. The book was a huge success in France but in Britain it was attacked by moralist. Henry Vizetelly, who had published several Zola translations from the Rougon-Macquart series, was imprisoned on charges of obscenity. The translation of LA TERRE (1887) practically ruined Vizetelly & Company. Germinal, one of Zola's finest novels, came out in 1885. It was the first major work on a strike, based on his research notes on labor conditions in the coal mines. Germinal was criticized by right-wing political groups as a call to revolution. Zola's tetralogy, LES QUATRE EVANGILES, which started with FÉCONDITÉ (1899), was left unfinished.
Also notable in Zola's career was his involvement in the Dreyfus affair with his open letter J'ACCUSE. "In making these accusations, I am fully aware that my action comes under Articles 30 and 31 of the law of 29 July 1881 on the press, which makes libel a punishable offence," Zola wrote challenging. Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) was a French Jewish army officer, who was falsely charged with giving military secrets to the Germans. The trials quickly developed into a idealogical struggle, or as Anatole France wrote, "rendered an inestimable service to the country by bringing out and little by little revealing the forces of past and the forces of future: on the one side bourgeois authoritarianism and Catholic theocracy; on the other side socialism and free thought." Dreyfus was transported to Devil's Island in French Guiana. The case was tried again in 1899 and he was found first guilty and pardoned, but later the verdict was reversed. "The truth is on the march, and nothing shall stop it," Zola announced, but during the process he was sentenced in 1898 to imprisonment and removed from the roll of the Legion of Honor. He escaped to England, and returned after Dreyfus had been cleared.
Zola died on September 28, in 1902, under mysterious circumstances, overcome 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 had a profound influence on such writers as Theodore Dreiser, August Strindberg and Emilia Pardo-Bazan.
Note: The American writer Henry James was not enthusiastic about naturalism and wrote that the "only business of naturalism is to be - natural, and therefore, instead of saying of Nana that it contains a great deal of filth, we should simple say of it that it contains a great deal of nature." - Film: The Life of Emile Zola (1937), dir. by William Dieterle, screenplay Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczed, from a story by Heiz Herald and Geza Herczeg, starring Paul Muni, Gale Sondergarrd, Joseph Schildkraut, Gloria Holden. Source material, Matthew Josephson's Zola and His Time. - "Rich, dignified, honest and strong, it is at once the finest historical film ever made and the greatest screen biography, greater even than The Story of Louis Pasteur with which Warners squared their conscience last year." (Frank S. Nugent in the New York Times) - Negotiations were carried out with Dreyfus' widow, Lucie, to ensure that she would find the film acceptable. - Other film adaptations: Thérèse Raquin, 1953, dir.by Marcel Carne; Gervaise, 1955, dir. by René Clément; Pot-Bouille, 1957, dir. by Julien Duvivier; La curée, 1966, dir. by Roger Vadim; La faute de Abbe Mouret, 1970, dir. by Georges Franju - For further reading: Emile Zola by Angus Wilson (1952); Emile Zola by F.W.J. Hemmings (1953); Zola's 'Germinal' by Elliott M. Grant (1962); A Zola Dictionary by I.G. Patterson (1969); Emile Zola: A Selective Analytical Bibliography, ed. by Brian Nelson (1982); Critical Essays on Emile Zola, ed. by David Baguley (1986); A Bourgeois Rebel by Alan Schom (1987); Emile Zola: A Biography by Alan Schom (1988); Zola by Marc Bernard (1988); Zola and the Craft of Fiction, ed. by Robert Lethbridge (1990); Emile Zola: 'L'Assommir' by David Baguley (1992); Emile Zola Revisited by William J. Berg and Laurey K. Martin (1992); Thresholds of Desire by Ilona Chessid (1993) - SEE ALSO: Wladyslaw Reymont,Guy de Maupassant, Gore Vidal- Museum:Maison d'Emile Zola, 26 rue Pasteur, 78670, Medan, Yvelines - Zola's home from 1878