The New Student's Reference Work/Zola, Émile

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Zo'la, Émile, French novelist, was born at Paris, April 2, 1840, of a French mother and an Italian father, an eminent civil engineer. His distinguished son spent his boyhood at Aix, and was educated at Lycée St. Louis. Settling in Paris, he for a time was in the employ of Messrs. Hachette, the well-known publishing firm. His first venture in fiction was Les Mystères de Marseille, and in this and in Thérèse Raquin he at once displayed power in the critical analysis of human character. Soon after this he formed the naturalistic school of fiction, with Flaubert, Daudet and the Goncourts, chiefly marked by a hideous though powerful delineation of the crimes, weaknesses and loathsomeness of Parisian social life. The fruit in part of this was the series known as The Rougon-Macquart Family, modelled somewhat after Balzac's La Comédie Humaine. The more notable subsequent stories are L'Assommoir, Nana, Pot Bouille, La Joie de Vivre, Au Bonheur des Dames, Germinal, La Terre, La Bête Humaine, La Débâcle and Le Docteur Pascal. Their nastiness is somewhat sweetened by La Rêve (The Dream) and by a love-story entitled Lourdes. The latter forms one of a trilogy, which Zola called Les Trois VillesLourdes, Rome and Paris — all in the extreme realistic vein. His latest work, written in exile, occasioned by his courageous advocacy of the famous Dreyfus case, was entitled Fécondité. He was a knight of the French Legion of Honor, but was refused admittance to the French Academy. He died on Sept. 29, 1902.