If you shut up truth, and bury it underground, it will but grow.
From: A Biography of Emile Zola for American Readers by Stephen R. Pastore:
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.