The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
Thérèse Raquin is the daughter of a Frenchcaptain and an Algerian mother. After the death of her mother, her father brings her to live with her aunt, Madame Raquin, and her sickly son, Camille. Because her son is so ill, Madame Raquin dotes on Camille to the point where he is selfish and spoiled. Camille and Thérèse grow up side-by-side, and Madame Raquin marries them together when Thérèse is 21. Shortly thereafter, Camille decides that the family should move to Paris so he can pursue a career. Thérèse and Madame Raquin set up shop in the Passage du Pont Neuf to support Camille while he searches for a job. Camille eventually begins working for the Orléans Railroad Company, where he meets up with a childhood friend, Laurent. Laurent visits the Raquins and decides to take up an affair with the lonely Thérèse, mostly because he cannot afford prostitutes anymore. However, this soon turns into a torrid love affair. Thérèse and Laurent conspire to drown Camille while out on a boat trip. This enables them to marry, but their guilt comes between them. They imagine they see the dead man in their bedroom every night, preventing them from touching each other and quickly driving them insane. Laurent, who is an artist, cannot paint a picture (even a landscape) which does not in some way resemble the dead man. They also have to look after Madame Raquin, who suffered a stroke after Camille's death. Madame Raquin suffers a second stroke and becomes completely paralyzed except for her eyes. During an evening's game of dominoes with friends (an attempt to keep up a facade of normality) she manages to move her finger with an extreme effort of will to trace words on the table: "Thérèse and Laurent are ki..." (killers). At this point her strength gives out, and the words are interpreted as "Thérèse and Laurent are kind". Eventually, Thérèse and Laurent find life together intolerable and plot to kill each other. At the climax of the novel, the two are about to kill one another when Therese breaks down and admits that she was about to kill Laurent with a table knife, and he admits that he has bought poison. They embrace passionately one last time and both suicide by taking the poison.
Characters in "Thérèse Raquin"
Thérèse Raquin - the eponymous heroine, she is the orphaned daughter of Madame Raquin's brother and an unknown Algerian woman Camille Raquin - Thérèse's husband and first cousin. Madame Raquin - Camille's mother and Thérèse's aunt. She works as a shopkeeper to support her son. Laurent - a childhood friend and coworker of Camille who seduces Thérèse Michaud - the police commissioner and friend of Madame Raquin Olivier - Michaud's son who works at the police prefecture Suzanne - Olivier's wife Grivet - an elderly employee of the Orléans Railroad Company, where Camille works François - the Raquins' cat
In his preface to the second edition, Zola writes that he intended to "study temperaments and not characters." To his main characters, he assigns various humors: Thérèse is nervous, Laurent is sanguine, and Camille is lymphatic. For Zola, the interactions of these types of personalities could only have the result that plays out in his plot.
Also in his preface, Zola calls both Thérèse and Laurent "human brutes," and the characters are often given animalistic tendencies. Zola would take up this idea again his his La Bête humaine of 1890.
Similar to the human beast who acts based on instinct, the mechanical man acts like an "unthinking machine." 
Literary significance and reception
Thérèse Raquin is generally considered to be Zola's first major work. Upon its release in 1867, Thérèse Raquin was a commercial and artistic success for Zola; enough so that it was reprinted in book form in 1868. It gained additional publicity when critic Louis Ulbach (pen name: Ferragus) called Thérèse Raquin "putrid" in a long diatribe, upon which Zola capitalized for publicicty and to which he referred in his preface to the second edition. Other contemporary critics, like Saint Beuve and Hippolyte Taine were more complimentary, offering praise and constructive criticism.
La Fortune des Rougon, originally published in 1871, is the first novel in Émile Zola's monumental twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. The novel is partly an origin story, with a huge cast of characters swarming around - many of whom become the central figures of later novels in the series - and partly an account of the December 1851 coup d'état which created the French Second Empire under Napoleon III as experienced in a large provincial town in southern France.
After a stirring opening on the eve of the coup d'état, involving an idealistic young village couple joining up with the republican militia in the middle of the night, Zola then spends the next few chapters going back in time to pre-Revolutionary Provence, and proceeds to lay the foundations for the entire Rougon-Macquart cycle, committing himself to what would become the next twenty-two years of his life's work. The fictional town of Plassans (loosely based on the real city of Aix-en-Provence, where Zola grew up) is established as the setting for the novel and described in intimate detail, and then we are introduced to the eccentric heroine Adelaide Fouque, later known as "Tante Dide", who becomes the common ancestor for both the Rougon and Macquart families. Her legitimate son from her short marriage to her late husband, a labourer named Rougon who worked on Dide's land, is forced to grow up alongside two illegitimate children — a boy and a girl — from Dide's later romance with the smuggler, poacher and alcoholic Macquart, while the ageing Dide slides further and further into a state of mental illness and borderline senile dementia. From this premise, the next nineteen novels all get their central protagonists and to a certain extent their themes.The narrative continues along double lines, following both "branches" of the family. We see Pierre Rougon (the legitimate son) in his attempts to disinherit his Macquart half-siblings, his marriage to Felicité Puech, the voraciously ambitious daughter of a local merchant, and their continued failure to establish the fortune, fame and renown they seek, despite their greed and relatively comfortable lifestyles. Approaching old age, the Rougon couple finally admit defeat and settle, crushed, into their lower middle class destinies, until by a remarkable stroke of luck their eldest son Eugène reports from Paris that he has some news that they might find interesting. Eugène has become one of the closest allies of the future Emperor Napoleon III and informs his parents that a coup is imminent. Having been effectively given insider information about which side to back in the coming revolution, the Rougons then make a series of seemingly-bold moves to show their loyal and steadfast support for Napoleon III, winning the admiration of the most influential people in the town, mostly royalists who are themselves afraid of showing too much commitment for fear of backing the "wrong horse" and losing their standing and fortune.The narrative then switches over to the Macquart side of the family, whose grim working-class struggles to survive are juxtaposed keenly with the Rougons' seemingly-trivial quest for greater wealth and influence in genteel drawing-room society. Descended from a drunken ne'er-do-well and a madwoman, Zola effectively predestines the Macquarts to lives of toil and misery. Zola's theories of heredity, laid out in the original preface to this novel, were a cornerstone of his entire philosophy and a major reason for his embarking on the mammoth Rougon-Macquart project in the first place in order to illustrate them. Largely discredited nowadays, the theories are largely "present but unseen" in most of the novels in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, allowing those books to be enjoyed without the overshadowing effect of Zola's somewhat suspect scientific ideas. Due to the original story nature of La Fortune des Rougon, the theories are placed much more to the fore, and can appear somewhat heavy-handed as a result.A third branch of the family, the Mourets, descended from Macquart and Dide's daughter, are then introduced before the novel's focus is brought back to the "present", the night of the coup, via a quite brilliantly told love story. The idealistic but naïve Silvère Mouret falls madly in love with the innocent Miette Chantegreil, and after a long courtship they decide to join up with the republicans to fight the coup. The rest of the novel then picks up from where the opening chapter left off, and from then on is basically a dual narrative telling the story of the old Rougon couple and their increasingly Machiavellian machinations to get themselves into a position of fortune and respect in Plassans, juxtaposed with Silvère and Miette's continuing love story and the doomed republican militia's disastrous attempt to take the town back. Eventually, the Rougons exploit their half-brother Antoine Macquart into inadvertently helping crush the republican threat, and they achieve their life's ambition, fortune and favour. For Silvère and Miette, who committed themselves so completely to a doomed cause, there can be no such happy ending and Zola wisely leaves their half of the story at a bleak dead end.The title refers not only to the "fortune" chased by Pierre and Felicité Rougon, but also to the fortunes of the various disparate family members Zola introduces us to — their future lives, for which this novel is the starting point.Only one English translation is currently available: that conducted for Henry Vizetelly in 1886 and extensively revised (to meet Victorian standards of propriety and avoid prosecution for issuing an indecent publication) by Ernest Vizetelly in 1898, issued under the title The Fortune of the Rougons by Chatto and Windus. It is of reasonably poor quality, not helped by Vizetelly's boast that he had changed one in every three sentences in the course of his editing.
Vastly different from its predecessor and prequel La Fortune des Rougon, La Curée - literally the portion of the game thrown to the dogs after a hunt, usually translated as The Kill - is a tightly-focused character study centred on three distinctive personalities: Aristide Rougon (renamed "Saccard")--the youngest son of the ruthless and calculating peasant Pierre Rougon and the bourgeois Félicité (by whom he is much spoiled), both of them Bonapartistes and consumed by a desire for wealth--, Aristide's young second wife Renée (his first dying not long after their move from provincial Plassans to Paris), and Maxime, Aristide's foppish son from his first marriage.
The book opens with scenes of astonishing opulence, beginning with Renée and Maxime lazing in a luxurious horse-drawn carriage, very slowly leaving a Parisian park in the 19th century-equivalent of a traffic jam. It is made clear very early on that these are staggeringly wealthy characters not subject to the cares and difficulties faced by the everyday public; they arrive back at their enormous mansion and spend hours being dressed by their legions of servants prior to hosting a banquet attended by the richest and most powerful people in Paris. There seems to be almost no continuity between this scene and the end of the previous novel, until the second chapter begins and Zola reveals that this opulent scene takes place almost fourteen years after the end of the first book. Zola then rewinds time to pick up the story practically minutes after La Fortune ended.
Following Eugene Rougon's rise to political power in Paris as mentioned in La Fortune, his younger brother Aristide - featured in the first novel as a talentless journalist, a comic character unable to commit unequivocally to the imperial cause and thus left out in the cold when the rewards were being handed out - decides to follow Eugene to Paris to help himself to the wealth and power he now believes to be his birthright. Eugene promises to help Aristide achieve these things on the condition that he stay out of his way, and change his surname to avoid the possibility of bad publicity from Aristide's escapades rubbing off on Eugene and damaging his political chances. Aristide chooses the surname Saccard, and Eugene gets him a seemingly mundane job at the city planning permission office. The renamed Saccard soon realises that, far from the disappointment he thought the job would be, he is actually in a position to gain insider information on the houses and other buildings that are to be demolished to build Paris' bold new system of boulevards and wide avenues. Knowing that the owners of these properties ordered to be demolished by the city government were compensated handsomely, Saccard contrives to borrow some money in order to start buying up these properties before their doomed status becomes public knowledge, and then raking in the compensation for massive profits.
Saccard is at first unable to make much headway because he cannot lay his hands on the money to make his initial investments, but then his wife falls victim to a terminal illness. Even while she lies dying in the next room, Saccard - in a brilliantly written scene of breathtaking callousness - is already making arrangements to marry a rich country girl, Renée, who is pregnant with the child of a local labourer and whose family wishes to avoid any scandal by offering a huge dowry to any man who will marry her and claim the baby as his own. Saccard accepts this role, and his career in property speculation is born. He sends his youngest daughter back home to Plassans in the south of France, and packs his older son Maxime off to a Parisian boarding school; we meet Maxime again when he leaves school several years later and meets his new stepmother Renée, who is only a couple of years older than he is.
The flashback complete, the rest of the novel takes place after Saccard has made his enormous fortune, against the backdrop of his luxurious mansion and his astounding profligacy, and is concerned with a three-cornered plot of sexual and political intrigue. Renée and Maxime begin a semi-incestuous love affair, which Saccard suspects but appears to tolerate, perhaps due to the almost purely commercial nature of his marriage to Renée in the first place; at the same time, Saccard is trying to get Renée to part with the deeds to her ancestral family home, which would be worth millions to him but which she refuses to give up. The novel continues in this vein with the tensions continuing to mount, and culminates in a series of bitter observations by Zola on the hypocrisy and immorality of the upper-class nouveau riche.
A near-penniless journalist at the time of writing La Curée, Zola himself had no experience whatsoever of the scenes he describes in the novel. In order to counter this lack of first-hand knowledge he toured a large number of stately homes and gardens around France, taking copious notes on subjects like architecture, ladies' and men's fashions, jewellery, garden layouts, greenhouse plants (a very erotically-charged seduction scene takes place in Saccard's cavernous hothouse), carriages, mannerisms, servants' liveries and so on; these notes (many volumes of which are preserved amongst the novelist's papers) were time well spent, as many contemporary reviewers and observers praised the novel for its realism.
Le Ventre de Paris (1873) is the third novel in Émile Zola's twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. It is set in and around Les Halles, the enormous, busy central marketplace of 19th Century Paris. Le Ventre de Paris (translated into English under many variant titles, but literally meaning The Belly of Paris) is Zola's first novel centred entirely on the working classes.
The plot is centred around the escaped political prisoner Florent and the effect he has on Lisa Quenu (formerly Macquart) and her family, with whom he finds refuge. Although Zola had yet to hone his sense for working-class speech and idioms displayed to such good effect in L'Assommoir, the novel still conveys a powerful atmosphere both of life in the great market halls and of working class suffering in general. There are several excellent descriptive passages, the most famous of which, his description of the olfactory sensations experienced upon entering a cheese shop, has become known as the "Cheese Symphony" due to its ingenious orchestral metaphors. Throughout the book, the painter Claude Lantier - himself a relative of the Macquarts and later the central character in Zola's novel L'Œuvre (1886) - shows up to provide a semi-authorial commentary, effectively playing the role of chorus. It is an interesting and often powerful work, though not usually considered as being on a par with the novelist's greater achievements later in the Rougon-Macquart cycle.
Le ventre de Paris was originally translated into English by Henry Vizetelly and published in 1888 under the title Fat and Thin. After Vizetelly's imprisonment for obscene libel the novel was one of those revised and expurgated by his son, Ernest Alfred Vizetelly; this mutilated version, entitled The Fat and the Thin, appeared in 1896 and has been reprinted many times since; for most of the period until 2007 this remained the only English version in print. The original full edition was afterward reprinted in Paris for adventurous English readers. The novel was re-translated for Elek Books in the 1950s under the title Savage Paris, but that translation has long been out of print. However, Oxford World's Classics published a new translation by Brian Nelson entitled The Belly of Paris in 2007, and Modern Library published a new translation by Mark Kurlansky in 2009.
La Conquête de Plassans (1874) is the fourth novel in Émile Zola's twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. In many ways a sequel to the first novel in the cycle, La Fortune des Rougon (1871), this novel is again centred on the fictional Provençal town of Plassans and its plot revolves around a sinister cleric's attempt at political intrigue with disastrous consequences for some of the townsfolk.
At the start of the novel, the home life of Francois Mouret and his wife and cousin Marthe (née Rougon) is portrayed as a generally pleasant and relaxed existence. Francois is slightly compulsive in his behaviour and Marthe clearly suffers from some sort of mental illness, which Zola intended to portray as a genetic consequence of the Rougon-Macquart family's tangled ancestry. Their three children include the eldest son Octave, an intelligent but feckless ladies' man (featured as the principal character of two later novels in the cycle, Pot-Bouille (1882) and Au Bonheur des Dames (1883), but here little more than a footnote), as well as the quiet and introverted younger son Serge and the mentally-handicapped daughter Desirée. Their home lives are shattered by the arrival of a strange cleric, Abbé Faujas, and his mother, who rent a room in the Mourets' house. Slowly, it transpires that the mysterious stranger has arrived to try and win influence in the town for outside political forces (which never manifest themselves) through a series of Machiavellian intrigues, plots, slanders and insinuations; in the process of doing so, he proceeds to unravel the Mourets' lives to such an extent that the bewildered Francois is unwillingly and entirely unnecessarily committed to a mental institution, while poor Marthe really does go insane. The reaction of the townsfolk to this outside influence is fascinatingly drawn by Zola, and the tactics of the groups who are in "resistance" to Abbé Faujas' clever machinations are very keenly observed. The narrative is kept up at a tremendous pace and builds to a quite astonishing climax of violence and horror as Zola ends the novel in a near-apocalyptic fury.
Although the novel does assume in its readers a degree of familiarity with the battle between clerical political interests and governmental influence in the provincial towns of the Second Empire - knowledge which Zola's contemporary readers would certainly have taken for granted, but which seems obscure and almost arcane now - its strength lies not in its politics but in its human drama. On the face of it this could have been a relatively dull series of political observations, but instead by the end it is almost a melodrama, such is the anticlerical fury which Zola instils in his work.
The English translation done by Ernest Vizetelly in the 1880s, still in print under the title The Conquest of Plassans, is much more readable than many of the other Vizetelly texts. A more modern retranslation was undertaken for Elek Books in the 1950s with the more expressive but less faithful title A Priest in the House, but that text is no longer widely available
The plot centres on the neurotic young priest Serge Mouret, first seen in La Conquête de Plassans, as he takes his orders and becomes the parish priest for the disinterested village of Artauds. The inbred villagers have no interest in religion and Serge is portrayed giving several wildly enthusiastic Masses to his completely empty, near-derelict church. Serge not only seems unperturbed by this state of affairs but actually appears to have positively sought it out especially, for it gives him time to contemplate religious affairs and to fully experience the fervour of his faith. Eventually he has a complete nervous breakdown and collapses into a near-comatose state, whereupon his distant relative, the unconventional doctor Pascal Rougon (the central character of the last novel in the series, 1893's Le Docteur Pascal), places him in the care of the inhabitants of a nearby derelict stately home, Le Paradou.
The novel then takes a complete new direction in terms of both tone and style, as Serge — suffering from amnesia and total long-term memory loss, with no idea who or where he is beyond his first name — is doted upon by Albine, the whimsical, innocent and entirely uneducated girl who has been left to grow up practically alone and wild in the vast, sprawling, overgrown grounds of Le Paradou. The two of them live a life of idyllic bliss with many Biblical parallels, and over the course of a number of months, they fall deeply in love with one another; however, at the moment they consummate their relationship, they are discovered by Serge's monstrous former monseignor and his memory is instantly returned to him. Wracked with guilt at his unwitting sins, Serge is plunged into a deeper religious fervour than ever before, and poor Albine is left bewildered at the loss of her soulmate. As with many of Zola's earlier works, the novel then builds to a horrible climax.
Unusually for Zola, the novel contains very few characters and locations, and the level of realist observation compared to outright fantasy is most uncharacteristic; however, the novel remains extraordinarily powerful and readable, and is considered one of Zola's most linguistically inventive and well-crafted works.
The novel was translated into English by Vizetelly & Co. in the 1880s as Abbé Mouret's Transgression, but this text must be considered faulty by any student of literature due to its many omissions and bowdlerisations, as well as its rendering of Zola's language in one of his most technically complex novels into a prolix and flat style of Victorian English bearing little resemblance to the original text. Two more faithful translations, certainly much more readable to modern students, emerged in the 1950s and 1960s under the titles The Sinful Priest and The Sin of Father Mouret. The novel inspired a now lost painting by John Collier (1850-1934), exhibited in 1895 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, under the title "The death of Albine". The painting was reproduced in the weekly "The Graphic" on 31 August 1895 (example in the British Museum, London).
Son Excellence Eugène Rougon is the sixth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series by Émile Zola. It was serialized in 1876 in Le siècle before being published in novel form by Charpentier. It was translated into English by Mary Neal Sherwood (as Clorinda) in 1880, by Kenward Philp (as The Mysteries of Louis Napoleon's Court) in 1884, by Ernest A. Vizetelly in 1897 (reprinted 2006), and by Alec Brown in 1958.
The novel is set in the highest echelons of Second Empire government. It follows the career of Eugène Rougon and a dozen or so of his cronies as they jockey for political favor and personal gain, and embraces the public and personal life of Emperor Napoleon III.
The main character is Eugène Rougon (b. 1811), the eldest son of Pierre and Félicité Rougon. Eugène is first introduced in La fortune des Rougon as a key player in the coup d'état of 1851 which established Napoleon III as Emperor of the French. Eugène's maneuverings establish his parents' control over the town of Plassans and lay the foundations for solidifying the family fortune. Eugène, acknowledged as one of the prime movers in legitimizing the Emperor, has remained in Paris to further his quest for power.
The novel opens in 1857 with Rougon's career at a low ebb. In conflict with the Emperor over an inheritance claim involving a relative of the Empress, Rougon resigns from his position as premier of the Corps législatif before he can be dismissed. This puts the plans and dreams of Rougon's friends in limbo, as they are counting on his political influence to win various personal favors. His greatest ally and his greatest adversary is Clorinde Balbi, an Italian woman of dubious background and devious intent. Clorinde desires power as much as Rougon does but, because she is a woman, she is forced to act behind the scenes. Rougon refuses to marry her because he believes two such dominant personalities would inevitably destroy each other. Instead, he encourages her to marry M. Delestang, a man of great wealth who can easily be wheedled, while he himself takes a respectable nonentity of a wife who will not hinder his ambition.
Rougon learns of an assassination plot against the Emperor, but decides to do nothing about it. In consequence, after the attempt is made (the Orsini incident of 1858), the Emperor makes him Minister of the Interior with power to maintain peace and national security at any cost. Rougon uses this as an opportunity to punish his political adversaries, deport anti-imperialists by the hundreds, and reward his loyal friends with honors, commissions, and political appointments. Through his influence, Delestang is made Minister of Agriculture and Commerce.
As Rougon's power expands, however, his cronies begin to desert him despite his fulfilling their personal requests. They feel that he has not done enough for them and what he has done either has not been good enough or has had consequences so disastrous as to be no help at all. Moreover, they consider him ungrateful, given all the work they claim to have done to have him reinstated as Minister. Eventually, Rougon is involved in several great scandals based on the favors he has shown to his inner circle.
At the center of all this conflict is Clorinde. As Rougon's power has grown, so has hers, until she has influence at the highest level and on an international scale, including as the Emperor's mistress. Now having the upper hand, she is able to punish Rougon for his refusal to marry her. To silence political and personal opposition, Rougon decides to submit his resignation to the Emperor, confident that it will not be accepted. However, it is accepted, and Delestang is made Minister of the Interior, the implication being that both actions are founded on Clorinde’s authority over the Emperor.
The novel ends in 1862. The Emperor has returned Rougon to service as Minister without Portfolio, giving him unprecedented powers in the wake of Italian unification. Ostensibly, the appointment is meant to reconfigure the country on less imperialistic, more liberal lines, but in reality Rougon has a free hand to crush resistance, curtail opposition, and control the press.
In a preface to the English translation (His Excellency. London: Chatto & Windus), Vizetelly states that. in his opinion:
"with all due allowance for its somewhat limited range of subject, Son Excellence Eugene Rougon is the one existing French novel which gives the reader a fair general idea of what occurred in political spheres at an important period of the Empire. But His Excellency Eugene Rougon is not, as many critics and others have supposed, a mere portrait or caricature of His Excellency Eugène Rouher, the famous Vice-Emperor of history. Symbolism is to be found in every one of Zola's novels, and Rougon, in his main lines, is but the symbol of a principle, or, to be accurate, the symbol of a certain form of the principle of authority. His face is Rouher's, like his build and his favorite gesture; but with Rouher's words, actions, opinions, and experiences are blended those of half a dozen other personages. He is the incarnation of that craving, that lust for power which impelled so many men of ability to throw all principle to the winds and become the instruments of an abominable system of government. And his transformation at the close of the story is in strict accordance with historical facts."
Zola's plan for the Rougon-Macquart novels was to show how heredity and environment worked on members of one family over the course of the Second Empire. All of the descendants of Adelaïde Fouque (Tante Dide), Eugène's grandmother, demonstrate what today would be called obsessive-compulsive behaviors to varying degrees. Eugène is obsessed with power and controlling the lives of others, as Zola makes clear in chapter 6:
"With him it was love of power for sheer power's sake, a love, what is more, untrammelled by any craving for personal glory or wealth or honours. Shockingly ignorant and terribly mediocre in all but the management of other men, it was only by his need to dominate others that he really rose to any height. He loved the mere effort of it, and worshipped his own ability." (trans. Alec Brown) ["C'était, chez lui, un amour du pouvoir pour le pouvoir, dégagé des appétits de vanité, de richesses, d'honneurs. D'une ignorance crasse, d'une grande médiocrité dans toutes les choses étrangères au maniement des hommes, il ne devenait véritablement supérieur que par ses besoins de domination. Là, il aimait son effort, il idolâtrait son intelligence."]
Eugène also resembles his avaricious parents Pierre and Félicité. Their desire for power over their hometown of Plassans becomes in Eugène a desire for power on a national scale. (In this, he shows an affinity to his brothers Aristide, who lusts for money, and Pascal, who thirsts for knowledge.) Zola also strongly suggests that the corrupt environment of Second Empire politics and society is what allows Eugène's personality and desire for power to be nurtured and fulfilled.
In La conquête de Plassans (set in 1864-1865), Eugène is the unnamed "friend" who sends Abbé Faujas to Plassans to solidify support for the Emperor there.
In L'argent (which opens in 1864), Eugène's refusal to help his brother Aristide after a financial setback by the latter is the catalyst for the novel, spurring Aristide to ruthless and unethical speculations that eventually lead to the financial ruination of thousands. To disassociate himself from the scandal and to keep Aristide from prison, Eugène arranges for his brother's exile to Belgium.
In Le docteur Pascal (set in 1872), Zola tells us that Eugène becomes a deputy in the legislative assembly and remains a staunch defender of the Emperor and the Empire after the Franco-Prussian War. He has no children.