The thought is a deed. Of all deeds she fertilizes the world most.
La joie de vivre (The Joy of Living) is the twelfth novel in the Rougon-Marquand series by Emile Zola. It was serialized in the periodical Gil Blas in 1883 before being published in book form by Charpentier in February 1884. It was translated into English by Ernest A. Vizetelly as How Jolly Life Is! in 1888 (reissued in 1901 as The Joy of Life, reprinted in 2006) and by Jean Stewart as Zest for Life in 1955.
The main character is Pauline Quenu (b. 1852), the daughter of Parisian charcutiers Lisa Macquart and M. Quenu, who are central characters in Le ventre de Paris (published 1873). Pauline plays a small part in that novel.
The novel opens in 1863 and covers about 10 years. Ten-year-old Pauline's parents have died, and she comes to live with the Chanteaus, relatives on her father's side, in the seaside village of Bonneville, some 10 kilometers from Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandy. Zola contrasts Pauline's optimism and open-heartedness with the illness, resentment, and depression prevalent in the Chanteau household. In particular, the 19-year-old son Lazare, a student of the writings of Schopenhauer, is convinced of life's futility and infused with pessimism and nihilism, which he attempts to express in an unfinished Symphony of Sorrow.
Over the course of several years, a series of financial setbacks causes Mme. Chanteau to "borrow" from Pauline's inheritance. Lazare's investment in a factory to extract minerals from seaweed and his project to build a series of jetties and breakwaters to protect Bonneville from the pounding waves — and the subsequent failure of both these enterprises — reduce Pauline's fortune even further. Through it all, Pauline retains her optimistic outlook and love for Lazare and his parents. Eventually, that love extends to the entire town as Pauline provides money, food, and support to Bonneville's poor, despite their evident greed and degeneracy.
Gradually, Mme. Chanteau grows to resent Pauline, blaming her for the family's bad luck and accusing her of being miserly, ungrateful, and selfish. Even on her deathbed, Mme. Chanteau is unable to get past her resentment, and accuses Pauline of poisoning her when she attempts to nurse her. Though Lazare and Pauline are tacitly engaged, Pauline releases him so that he may marry Louise Thibaudier, a rich banker's daughter who spends her vacations with the Chanteaus. Their marriage is an unhappy one, as his obsessive-compulsive behaviors escalate and he infects her with his fear of death. His inability to maintain gainful employment and his palpable apathy add to their unhappiness.
Louise gives birth to a stillborn baby boy, but Pauline saves his life by breathing air into his lungs. The novel ends 18 months later. The baby, Paul, is healthy and growing, though Louise and Lazare maintain a tense relationship. Bonneville is all but destroyed by the waves. The suicide of the family servant brings the novel to a close, with M. Chanteau, wracked with gout and in constant agony, railing against suicide and praising the joys inherent in the ongoing fight for life in the face of sorrow and unhappiness.
La joie de vivre is one of the least typical of the Rougon-Macquart novels. It is not set in or near Paris, nor is it set in Zola's fictional Plassans, the town where the family originates. Pauline's somewhat tenuous and unexplored connection to her Rougon and Macquart relatives is the only link to the rest of the series.
Zola's plan for these novels was to show how heredity and environment worked on members of one family over the course of the Second French Empire. All of the descendants of Adelaïde Fouque (Tante Dide), Pauline's great-grandmother, demonstrate what today would be called obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Pauline demonstrates these characteristics to a lesser degree than anyone in the family who is a focus of his or her own book.
Indeed, the Chanteau family, especially the son Lazare, more clearly demonstrate these behaviors. The Chanteaus are not, however, in the direct Rougon-Macquart line.
Another characteristic of the family is a streak of jealousy and possessiveness. Pauline, while demonstrating these traits, consciously fights against them. The result of this struggle is her positive outlook, altruism, and sense of joie de vivre.
In Le docteur Pascal (set in 1872-1873), Zola tells us that Pauline still lives in Bonneville. Lazare, now a widower, has gone to America, leaving Paul in her care.
Germinal (1885) is the thirteenth novel in Emile Zola's twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. Often considered Zola's masterpiece and one of the most significant novels in the French tradition, the novel - an uncompromisingly harsh and realistic story of a coalminers' strike in northern France in the 1860s - has been published and translated in over one hundred countries as well as inspiring five film adaptations and two TV productions.
The title refers to the name of a month of the French Republican Calendar, a spring month. Germen is a Latin word which means "seed"; the novel describes the hope for a better future that seeds amongst the miners.
Germinal was written between April 1884 and January 1885. It was first serialized between November 1884 and February 1885 in the periodical Gil Blas, then in March 1885 published as a book.
The novel's central character is Étienne Lantier, previously seen in Saloon (1877), a young migrant worker who arrives at the foreboding coalmining town of Montsou in the bleak far north of France to earn a living as a miner. Sacked from his previous job on the railways for assaulting a superior - Étienne was originally to have been the central character in Zola's "murder on the trains" thriller The Human Beast (1890), before the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Germinal persuaded him otherwise - he befriends the veteran miner Maheu, who finds him somewhere to stay and gets him a job pushing the carts down the pit.
A picture of the title page from an 1885 German edition
Étienne is portrayed as a hard-working idealist but also a naïve youth; Zola's genetic theories come into play as Étienne is presumed to have inherited his Macquart ancestors' traits of hotheaded impulsiveness and an addictive personality capable of exploding into rage under the influence of drink or strong passions. Zola keeps his theorizing in the background and Étienne's motivations are much more natural as a result. He embraces socialist principles, reading large amounts of working class movement literature and fraternizing with Souvarine, a Russian anarchist and political émigré who has also come to Montsou to seek a living in the pits. Étienne's simplistic understanding of socialist politics and their rousing effect on him are very reminiscent of the rebel Silvère in the first novel in the cycle, The Fortune of the Rougons(1871).
While this is going on, Étienne also falls for Maheu's daughter Catherine, also employed pushing carts in the mines, and he is drawn into the relationship between her and her brutish lover Chaval, a prototype for the character of Buteau in Zola's later novel The Earth(1887). The complex tangle of the miners' lives is played out against a backdrop of severe poverty and oppression, as their working and living conditions continue to worsen throughout the novel; eventually, pushed to breaking point, the miners decide to strike and Étienne, now a respected member of the community and recognized as a political idealist, becomes the leader of the movement. While the anarchist Souvarine preaches violent action, the miners and their families hold back, their poverty becoming ever more disastrous, until they are sparked into a ferocious riot, the violence of which is described in explicit terms by Zola, as well as providing some of the novelist's best and most evocative crowd scenes. The rioters are eventually confronted by police and the army, who repress the revolt in a violent and unforgettable episode. Disillusioned, the miners go back to work, blaming Étienne for the failure of the strike; then, in a fit of anarchist fervour, Souvarine sabotages the entrance shaft of one of the Montsou pits, trapping Étienne, Catherine and Chaval at the bottom. The ensuing drama and the long wait for rescue are among some of Zola's best scenes, and the novel draws to a dramatic close. Étienne is eventually rescued and fired but he goes on to live in Paris with Pluchart.
The title, Germinal, is drawn from the springtime seventh month of the French Revolutionary Calendar, and is meant to evoke imagery of germination, new growth and fertility. Accordingly, Zola ends the novel on a note of hope, and one which has provided inspiration to socialist and reformist causes of all kinds throughout the years since its first publication:
"Beneath the blazing of the sun, in that morning of new growth, the countryside rang with song, as its belly swelled with a black and avenging army of men, germinating slowly in its furrows, growing upwards in readiness for harvests to come, until one day soon their ripening would burst open the earth itself."
By the time of his death, the novel had come to be recognized as his undisputed masterpiece. At his funeral crowds of workers gathered, cheering the cortège with shouts of "Germinal! Germinal!". Since then the book has come to symbolize working class causes and to this day retains a special place in French mining-town folklore.
Zola was always very proud of Germinal, and was always keen to defend its accuracy against accusations of hyperbole and exaggeration (from the conservatives) or of slander against the working classes (from the socialists). His research had been typically thorough, especially the parts involving lengthy observational visits to northern French mining towns in 1884, such as witnessing the after-effects of a crippling miners' strike first-hand at Anzin or actually going down a working coal pit at Denain. The mine scenes are especially vivid and haunting as a result.
A sensation upon original publication, it is now by far the best-selling of Zola's novels, both in France and internationally. A number of exceptional modern translations are currently in print and widely available.
L'œuvre is the fourteenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series by Émile Zola. It was first serialized in the periodical Gil Blas beginning in December 1885 before being published in novel form by Charpentier in 1886.
The title, translated literally as "The Work" (as in work of art), is often rendered in English as The Masterpiece or His Masterpiece. It refers to the struggles of the protagonist Claude Lantier to paint a great work reflecting his talent and genius.
L'œuvre is a highly fictionalized account of Zola's friendship with the painter Paul Cézanne. Zola and Cézanne grew up together in Aix-en-Provence, the model for Zola's Plassans, where Claude Lantier is born and receives his education. Like Cézanne, Claude Lantier is a revolutionary artist whose work is misunderstood by an art-going public hidebound by traditional subjects, techniques, and representations. Zola's self-portrait can be seen in the character of the novelist Pierre Sandoz.
The book is often blamed for ending the friendship between Cézanne and Zola. The story of a groundbreaking artist unable to live up to his potential must have seemed intensely personal to Cézanne; no correspondence exists between the two after a letter in which Cézanne thanks Zola for sending him the novel.
L'œuvre was first translated into English by Ernest A. Vizetelly in 1886 (reprinted by Barnes & Noble in 2006). Several other translations have appeared over the years. One of the most readily accessible is that by Thomas Walton (1957), revised in 1993 for Oxford World's Classics.
Painter Claude Lantier advocates painting real subjects in real places, most notably outdoors. This is in stark contrast to the artistic establishment, where artists painted in the studio and concentrated on Classical and religious subjects. His art making is revolutionary, and he has a small circle of like-minded friends equally intent on shaking up the art world and challenging the establishment. His best friends are his childhood comrades Pierre Sandoz, a novelist, and Louis Dubuche, an architect. Like Zola, Sandoz contemplates a series of novels about a single family based in science and incorporating modern-day people and everyday lives. Dubuche is not half as bold as Claude and, although a painter, finds music to be his passion. He chooses a more conventional course, opting for the security of a middle-class life and a bourgeois marriage. Sandoz also pursues marriage - not for love, but stability and to better understand what he is writing about. The outcry in the artistic community over the sidelining of new artists in favor of popular, established, traditional artists at the annual Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts leads to the creation of a Salon des Refusés for the rejected artists to display their work. No painting gathers more interest or generates more criticism than Claude's. Entitled Plein Air (Open Air), it depicts a nude female figure in the front center and two female nudes in the background, with a fully dressed man, his back to the viewer, in the foreground. (Zola deliberately invokes Le déjeuner sur l'herbe by Edouard Manet, which provoked outcries at the actual Salon des Refusés in 1863.)
Claude moves to the country to soak up more of the 'Open Air' atmosphere he reveled in as a child and to create more masterpieces. Accompanying him is Christine Hallegrain, who served as the model for Claude's nude, and they have a son. However, Claude is unable to paint much and grows more and more depressed. For the sake of his health, Christine convinces him to return to Paris. Claude has three paintings in three years rejected by the Salon before a spectacular view of the Ile de la Cité captures his imagination. He becomes obsessed with this vision, and constructs a massive canvas on which to paint his masterpiece. However, he is unable to project his ideas successfully or combine them into a meaningful whole. He begins adding incongruous elements (like a female nude bather), reworks and repaints until the whole enterprise collapses into disaster, then starts over. His inability to create his masterpiece deepens his depression. The slow breakup of his circle of friends contributes to his decaying mental state, as does the success of one of his confreres, a lesser talent who has co-opted the 'Open Air' school and made it a critical and financial triumph.
Christine, whom he has at last married, watches as the painting — and especially the nude — begins to destroy his soul. When their son dies, Claude is inspired to paint a picture of the dead body that is accepted by the Salon (after considerable politicking). However, the painting is ridiculed for its subject matter and its execution, and Claude again turns to his huge landscape. Christine watches as he spirals further into obsession and madness. A last-ditch effort to free him from Art in general and from his wished-for masterpiece in particular has an effect, but in the end, Claude hangs himself from his scaffolding. The only ones of his old friends who attend his funeral are Sandoz and Bongrand, an elder statesman of the artistic community who recognized and helped nurture Claude's genius.
Claude Lantier (b. 1842, the son of Gervaise Macquart and Antoine Lantier) is first introduced briefly as a child in La fortune des Rougon. In L'assommoir, he comes to Paris with his parents, but returns to Plassans under the sponsorship of a local patron who recognizes his artistic talent. In Le ventre de Paris, Claude has returned to Paris, and is discovered in the Les Halles marketplace searching for realistic subjects to paint.
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 French Empire. Claude is the son (and grandson) of alcoholics and inherits their predisposition for self-destruction. Furthermore, all of the descendants of Adelaïde Fouque (Tante Dide), Claude's great-grandmother, demonstrate what today would be called obsessive-compulsive behaviors. In Claude, this is manifested in his obsessive approach to making art.
Claude's brothers are Jacques Lantier (La bête humaine), the engine driver who becomes a murderer, and Étienne Lantier (Germinal), the miner who becomes a revolutionary and union agitator. Their half-sister is the prostitute Anna (Nana) Coupeau (Nana).
Claude's son Jacques-Louis also figures in L'œuvre, his death from unspecified causes being brought about by his parents' neglect. In him, Zola shows what happens when energy and natural creativity are stifled.
The book includes a few autobiographical details. As a young journalist, Zola wrote many articles on art and he was deeply interested in the newest ways of painting; he was one of the earliest champions of the work of Édouard Manet. The character of Sandoz, a young writer whose ambition is to write a story of a family that would portray the present epoch, is most clearly a self-portrait of the author. The basis of some of the other characters, including Claude Lantier, is murkier. Though Claude is most often understood as being based on Cézanne, the Impressionist painters Édouard Manet and Claude Monet are often cited as other possible sources. (In fact, Claude Lantier's first painting in the book is based on Manet's Le déjeuner sur l'herbe.) However, in a letter written immediately after the novel's appearance in 1886, Claude Monet (who was acquainted with both Cézanne and Manet) indicated that he did not recognize himself or any of his fellow painters in the character. Other parallels between the author’s life and the novel include Lantier’s dead child painting being similar to Monet’s portrait of the deceased Camille (his first wife), Lantier’s idea of mobile studios mirroring Monet’s, and loose ties equating Fagerolles and Manet. In the book, the Open Air school got its name from the title of Lantier’s first mentioned painting. In real life, the Impressionists got their name from Monet’s Impression: Sunrise. Both Open Air (Plein air) and Impressionism were insulting names given by critics and jeering crowds.
La Terre (The Earth) is a novel by Émile Zola, published in 1887. It is the fifteenth novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series. The action takes place in a rural community in La Beauce, an area of northern France. The novel is connected to the other novels in the series by the main protagonist, Jean Macquart, whose childhood in the south of France was recounted in La Fortune des Rougon, and who will go on to feature prominently in the later novel La Débâcle.
La Terre describes the steady disintegration of a family of agricultural workers in Second Empire France, in the years immediately before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. It offers a vivid description of the hardships and brutality of rural life in the late nineteenth century.
The novel takes place in the final years of the Second Empire. Jean Macquart, an itinerant farm worker, has come to Rognes, a small village in La Beauce, where he works as a day labourer. He had been a corporal in the French Army, a veteran of the Battle of Solferino. He begins to court a local girl, Françoise Mouche, who lives in the village with her sister Lise. Lise is married to Buteau, a young man from the village, who is attracted to both sisters.
Buteau's father, the elderly farmer Fouan, has decided to sign a contract known as a donation entre vifs (literally: "gift between living people"), whereby his three children, Fanny Delhomme (married to a hard-working and respected farmer), Hyacinthe (aka "Jesus Christ", a poacher and layabout), and Buteau will inherit their father's estate early; they agree to pay their parents a pension in return. The property is painstakingly measured and divided up between the three children, as the Civil Code of 1804 dictated. Almost as soon as the contract is signed, Buteau begins to resent the pension, and quickly refuses to pay it. In the house Lise shares with her sister (the property having been shared between them on the death of their late father), Buteau begins a campaign of sexual advances towards his sister-in-law, which she attempts to repel.
Midway through the novel, Fouan's wife dies and, since it seems wasteful for Fouan to retain their marital home, the property is sold, and Fouan goes to live with Fanny and her husband. While Fanny is scrupulously respectful of the conditions of the donations entre vifs, she nevertheless make it clear that she resents his presence. Fouan eventually moves to live with his son "Jesus Christ" who shares a shack with his daughter "La Trouille", a put-upon dogsbody. Under "Jesus Christ's" influence, Fouan's self-respect dwindles: while previously law-abiding, he now joins his son on poaching expeditions and takes part in Hyacinthe's favourite evening activity, farting contests. Eventually, however, Hyacinthe's abusive drunkenness is directed against Fouan, who leaves to take up residence with Buteau and Lise.
Meanwhile, Françoise and Jean have married. Françoise can no longer remain under the same roof as Buteau, whose sexual overtures are becoming more and more persistent: Lise, jealous of Françoise, insists that her sister is behaving in a deliberately provocative way. Françoise, who is now pregnant with Jean's child, decides to leave, but demands that Buteau and Lise buy out her share of the house, which the couple cannot afford to do. The situation worsens until, in a shocking scene, Buteau and Lise set upon Françoise when she is alone in the fields at harvest time. Lise restrains her sister while she is raped by Buteau, then pushes her onto a sickle, wounding her in the belly and killing her unborn child. The two flee the scene. While Françoise is still conscious when she is found, her family pride leads her to refuse to name Lise and Buteau; she claims instead that her injury was the result of an accident, and dies shortly after.
Back in the Buteau home, the greedy couple turn their attention to Fouan, whose obstinacy in remaining alive has become a serious financial drain. One night while Fouan is asleep, they steal into his bedroom and smother him; finding he is still alive, they set fire to him, while arranging the scene to look like an accident (their story is accepted by the local community).
The Buteaus refuse to pay Jean the money for Françoise's share of the family home, which is now rightfully his as her next-of-kin. Horrified by his suspicions regarding both his wife's and Fouan's deaths, and by the heartlessness of those around him, Jean returns to his wandering, and leaves the region for good. As he leaves, he passes the freshly dug burial mounds of Françoise and Fouan, and the ripe corn in the harvest fields.
The novels contains about 100 characters. Many have multiple names and extended family connections. The novel centers on the Fouan's, a 300-year-old peasant farming family "dynasty", and an itinerant carpenter Jean Macquart, who also appears in two other Zola novels.
Badeuil, Charles - married Laure Fouan, and went to live at Chartres. He tried commerce without much success, and, haunted by a desire for rapid fortune, acquired a house of prostitution which had fallen into bad repute through mismanagement.
Badeuil, Madame Laure - wife of Charles, was the youngest daughter of Joseph Casimir Fouan. She was the sister of La Grande, of Padre Fouan, and of Michel Fouan, known as Mouche. When her father's estate was divided, she got no land, but received an indemnity in money instead. After she and her husband acquired the prostitute establishment in Chartres, she assisted ably in its management.
Badeuil, Estelle - daughter of Charles and Madame Badeuil, was educated by the Sisters of the Visitation at Chateaudun, and at eighteen was married to Hector Vaucogne, by whom she had one daughter, Elodie.
Bécu - gamekeeper and bell-ringer at Rognes, was a man of fifty years of age who had at one time been in the army. He was an intense Bonapartist, and pretended that he had met the Emperor. Himself a confirmed drunkard, he was on friendly terms with Hyacinthe Fouan, whose poaching expeditions he over-looked.
Bouteroue, Hilarion - second child of Vincent Bouteroue, and grandson of Marianne Fouan (La Grande). Hilarion, who was of weak intellect, was looked after from childhood by his sister Palmyre, who wore herself out in his service.
Bouteroue, Palmyre - sister of Hilarion, worked like a slave to support her brother, and died completely worn out by toil and hardship at the age of thirty-five.
Buteau - second son of Père Fouan ; brother of Hyacinthe ("Jesus Christ") and of Fanny Delhomme ; cousin and husband of Lise Mouche ; father of Jules and Laure. He was a true son of the soil, knowing nothing of the world beyond the narrow district in which he was born, and possessing that fierce passion for the land which is the characteristic of so many peasants.
Chédeville, De - deputy for Eure-et-Loir under the Empire. He was an old beau who had flourished in the reign of Louis Philippe. His political career was cut short by a scandal which gave offense at the Tuileries, and he was defeated by Rochefontaine, who was nominated by Government as the official candidate.
Cognet, Jacqueline, alias La Cognette - daughter of Cognet. She went to La Borderie at the age of twelve years, and before long had several lovers. She made her fortune, however, by resisting her master, Alexandre Hourdequin, for six months, and when she ultimately became his mistress she had made her position so secure that he was afterwards unable to part with her.
Delhomme - was the son-in-law of Père Fouan, whose daughter Fanny he married. He was the owner of a small farm, which he managed so well that he became one of the richest of the peasant proprietors at Rognes.
Delhomme, Madame, also known as Fanny Fouan - wife of Delhomme. At first kind, she became hardened, and eventually the cleanliness of her house became a mania with her.
Fouan, Hyacinthe, also known as Jesus Christ - the elder son of Père Fouan and Rose Maliveme, his wife. He was an idler and drunkard, who, when he had left the army, after having seen service in Africa, had taken to tramp the fields, refusing to do any regular work, but living by theft and poaching, as though he were still looting a trembling nation of Bedouins.
Fouan, Joseph Casimir - the father of Marianne, Louis, Michel, and Laure. Born in 1766, he belonged to a family of peasant proprietors which for centuries had owned land, in varying quantities, in the neighborhood of Rognes. They were originally serfs of the Roques-Bouqucval family. Bit by bit they acquired their land, until, when the Revolution of 1789 arrived, the Fouan of that day, Joseph Casimir, was the owner of twenty-one acres — the conquest of four centuries from the seigneurial territory. When, in 1793, the rest of the estate was declared national property and sold in lots by auction, he was too timid to purchase any, and had the mortification to see La Borderie sold to Isidore Hourdequin, a citizen of Chateaudun, for a fifth of its value. When he became old he divided his twenty-one acres between three of his family, Marianne, Louis, and Michel, and gave a corresponding sum of money to his younger daughter Laure, who had been brought up as a seamstress and was in service at Chateaudun.
Fouan, Laure - younger daughter of the preceding. See Madame Charles Badeuil.
Fouan, Louis - known as Père Fouan. He was the son of Joseph Casimir Fouan, and married Rose Maliverne, by whom he had three children, Hyacinthe, Buteau, and Fanny. He received seven acres of land from his father, and his wife brought him twelve acres more. This land he cultivated well, and with a passion for the soil, as such, which amounted to frenzy. It alone had his love, and his wife and children trembled before him under a rude despotism. At seventy years of age he was still healthy, but his limbs were failing, and he reluctantly decided to divide his land between his children. He retained his house and garden, which had come to him with his wife, and his family undertook to pay him a rent for the land handed over to them. Upon this along with a nest-egg of three hundred francs per annum, known to no one, the old people would be able to live comfortably.
Fouan, Madame Rose - wife of Père Fouan and mother of Hyacinthe, Buteau, and Fanny. She worked hard the farm, rising first and going to bed last.
Fouan, Olympe, also known as La Trouille - daughter of Hyacinthe. Her mother, who was a tramp, ran off when the child was three years old, leaving her to grow up as best she could. She was passionately fond of geese, of which she had a large flock.
Grande, La - elder daughter of Joseph Casimir Fouan, and sister of Père Fouan, Michel Mouche, and Laure Badeuil.
Hourdequin, Alexandre - born 1804, was the only son of Isidore Hourdequin. He studied at the college of Chateaudun, but made little progress, as his only interest was in farming, for which he had an absolute passion. On the death of his father he became master of La Borderie, which he cultivated on the latest principles of agriculture, spending large sums upon it. He married a sister of Bailliehache, the notary, who brought him a considerable sum, which also went into the land. His wife died in a few years, leaving him with two children, a son named Leon, who to his great disappointment became a soldier, and a daughter who died young. In spite of these misfortunes he retained all his passion for the land, and in it he gradually sunk all his fortune, getting little from it in return. A liaison with Jacqueline Cognet, followed, and she gradually acquired complete influence over him.
Hourdequin, Leon - son of Alexandre Hourdequin. He had an intense hatred of the soil and became a soldier, being promoted Captain after Solferino. He did not visit his home more than once a year, and was much annoyed to discover the liaison between his father and Jacqueline Cognet.
Lengaigne - a dealer in tobacco and tavern-keeper at Rognes. He cultivated a small piece of land, while his wife weighed tobacco and looked after the cellar. He also shaved and cut the hair of the village. He has a wife, a daughter Suzanne and a son Victor.
Macquart, Jean - born 1811, son of Antoine Macquart, was apprenticed to a carpenter. A quiet, industrious lad, Jean's father took advantage of his simple nature and made him give up his whole earnings to assist in keeping him in idleness. Like his sister Gervaise, he ran off soon after the death of his mother (see La Fortune des Rougon). He entered the army, and, after seven years of soldiering was discharged in 1859. When he had left the ranks he turned up at Bazoches-le-Doyen with a comrade, a joiner like himself ; and he resumed his occupation with the latter's father, a master carpenter in the village. But his heart was no longer in his work, and having been sent to La Borderie to make some repairs, he stayed on to assist at the harvest, and eventually became a regular farm servant. He was not popular, however, with the peasants, who resented his having had a trade before he came back to the soil. He became acquainted at Rognes with Mouche and his daughters, Lise and Françoise, and eventually married the latter, in spite of the determined opposition of her brother-in-law, Buteau. Notwithstanding his marriage, he remained a stranger, and, after the death of his wife, went away, leaving everything in the hands of her relatives. The war with Prussia had just broken out, and Jean, disgusted with his life, again enlisted in the service of his country. (see further story in La Débâcle and Le Docteur Pascal).
Macqueron - a grocer and tavern-keeper at Rognes. He was a municipal councilor, and deputy Mayor. Having succeeded in undermining Hourdequin's position as Mayor, Macqueron succeeded him. His wife is Coelina and has a daughter Berthe.
Mouche, Le Père - the nickname of Michel Fouan, the third son of Joseph Casimir Fouan, and brother of La Grande, Père Fouan, and Laure Badeuil. When his father's estate was divided, he received the family dwelling house and some land, but was dissatisfied with his share and continued to accuse his brother and sister, though forty years had elapsed, of having robbed him when the lots were drawn.
Mouche, Françoise - youngest daughter of Michel Fouan, alias Mouche. Her mother died early, and she was brought up by her sister Lise, to whom she was devotedly attached. She had a passion for justice, and when she had said "that is mine and that is yours", she would have been prepared to go to the stake in support of her rights.
Mouche, Lise - elder daughter of Père Mouche, and sister of the preceding. She had a son to her cousin Buteau, who, however, did not marry her for three years afterwards, when the death of her father made her heiress to some land.
Rochefontaine - proprietor of a large factory at Chateaudun. He was desirous of serving as a Deputy, but did not secure the support of the Government, and, standing as an independent candidate, was defeated. Later, in consequence of the disgrace of M. de Chedeville, he became the official candidate, and in spite of a brusqueness which made him unpopular, he was elected.
Soulas - an old shepherd at La Borderie, where he had been for half a century. At sixty-five he had saved nothing, having been eaten up by a drunken wife, "whom at last he had the pleasure of burying." He had few friends except his two dogs, Emperor and Massacre, and he especially hated Jacqueline Cognet.
In this novel, Zola attempted to show some of the consequences of the division of rural estates in nineteenth-century France. The laws which provided for this, which were enshrined in the Civil Code of 1804 but owed their initiative to the Revolution, were extremely controversial throughout the nineteenth-century. La Terre picks up on a number of contemporaneous obsessions regarding the decline of France under the influence of the Civil Code, including lack of respect for father figures (hence the parricide which concludes the novel) and voluntary sterility to avoid excessive division of estates between numerous heirs (hence the infamous scene of "onanism", in which Françoise and Jean practice coitus interruptus to avoid conceiving a child).
But the novel also deals with more timeless themes: the parallel with the story of Shakespeare's King Lear emphasises the horror of aging and the physical and mental reduction which accompanies it. Above all, the story plays upon the cyclical nature of life and death, contrasting the unending passage of the seasons with the trivial strife of mankind, a contrast encapsulated in the novel's final sentence: "Deaths, seed, and the bread grew out of the earth" ("Des morts, des semences, et le pain poussait de la terre").
Zola's novel is one of the most graphically violent and, to a lesser extent, sexually explicit novels of the nineteenth century, and caused considerable controversy at the time of its publication. In it, Zola's efforts to expose the unpleasant underside of his contemporary society reached its apogee; none of the other Rougon-Macquart novels features such sensational material. The publication of an English translation of La Terre in 1888 led to the prosecution for obscenity of the publisher, Henry Vizetelly.
The definitive genetic work on La Terre remains Guy Robert's "La Terre" d'Émile Zola (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1952); there is surprisingly little anglophone material published on the novel.
The novel was published by Charpentier in October 1888 and translated into English by Eliza E. Chase as The Dream in 1893 (reprinted in 2005). Other recent translations are by Michael Glencross (Peter Owen 2005) and Andrew Brown (Hesperus Press 2005).
Le rêve is a simple tale of the orphan Angélique Marie (b. 1851), adopted by a husband-and-wife team of ecclesiastic embroiderers in the cathedral town of Beaumont, 30 leagues from Paris. Angélique is enthralled by the tales of the saints and martyrs — particularly Saint Agnes and Saint George — as told in the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine. Her dream is to be saved by a handsome prince and to live happily ever after, in the same way the virgin martyrs have their faiths tested on earth before being rescued and married to Jesus in heaven.
Her dream of love and happiness is realized when she falls in love with Félicien d'Hautecœur, the last in an old family of knights, heroes, and nobles in the service of Christ and of France. His father, the present Monseignuer, objects to their marrying for reasons of his own, and Angélique refuses to elope with Félicien without the father's consent. The Monseignuer agrees at last upon realizing Angélique's purity, beauty, and innocence. Leaving the church after the wedding, Angélique kisses Félicien for the first time and dies, having reached the extreme limits of earthly happiness and ecstatic in the realization of her dream.
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 French Empire. All of the descendants of Adelaïde Fouque (Tante Dide), Angélique's great-grandmother, demonstrate what today would be called obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Angélique is obsessed with the lives of the saints and with her dream of a princely marriage.
Furthermore, Angélique has a temper and experiences serious mood swings, becoming as passionate as any one of her relatives. Zola strongly implies that, without the upbringing by her adoptive parents and the influence of the cathedral and The Golden Legend, Angélique could easily have been fallen prey to her passions and ended up as a prostitute (like her cousinNana).
In Le docteur Pascal, Zola describes Angélique as being a blend of the characteristics of her parents to such a degree that no trace of them shows up in the child. Angélique's mother is Sidonie Rougon, who plays a significant (though brief) role in La curée and appears briefly in L'œuvre. (Angélique's father is unknown.) Sidonie is unfeeling and nearly inhuman, a cold, dry woman incapable of love. She is a professional procuress, involved in every shady calling, a seller of "anything and everything."
In Le docteur Pascal (set in 1872), Zola tells us that Sidonie has become the austere financial manager of a home for unwed mothers.