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The Fortune of the Rougons

Émile Zola

Book Overview: 

The Fortune of the Rougons (French: La Fortune des Rougon), is the first novel in Émile Zola's monumental twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. In his introduction Zola indicates that this series is intended to demonstrate the interaction of heredity and environment along the lines of natural selection and evolution. While Zola's metascience is questionable, this novel is successful in its analysis of the interaction of momentous social and political events and the everyday lives and aspirations of a provincial society. In a satisfyingly intricate, vast and integrated plot, set in the time of Napoleon III's coup d'etat and establishment of the Second Empire, the fates and fortunes of the disparate descendents of one Provencal family are traced in detail. The novel ranges from idyll to cynical observation of base motives, and ends in a way that anticipates its many sequels. Summary by the soloist.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ould have liked to see her son dictating the law to the Civil Court of Plassans. At last she came to entertain a very unfavourable opinion of her first-born. To her mind this lazy fellow would never be the one to shed any lustre on the family. Pierre, on the contrary, felt absolute confidence in him, not that he had more intuition than his wife, but because external appearances sufficed him, and he flattered himself by believing in the genius of a son who was his living image. A month prior to the Revolution of February, 1848, Eugene became restless; some special inspiration made him anticipate the crisis. From that time forward he seemed to feel out of his element at Plassans. He would wander about the streets like a distressed soul. At last he formed a sudden resolution, and left for Paris, with scarcely five hundred francs in his pocket.

Aristide, the youngest son, was, so to speak, diametrically opposed to Eugene. He had his mother's face, and a covetousnes. . . Read More

Community Reviews

La Fortune des Rougon (Les Rougon-Macquart #1) = The Fortune of the Rougons, Émile Zola
The Fortune of the Rougons (French: 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 stor

It is daunting task, to both write and read a 20-volume series set during the 2nd Empire of France from 1850-1871. Yet, if Emile Zola is up to the task, I figured it was about time for me to start reading!
And this is Book 1 of the series and introduces us to the founding families upon which this sto

The opening number in Zola’s 20-piece novel orchestra is a piece of sweeping bombast, plunging us into the thorny, vicious world of the provincial bourgeoisie with the grace of a gangster lowering a snitch into a pool of sharks. Introducing us to the rise of the Rougons (as per title), two scheming

The first volume of the Rougon-Macquart cycle, published in 1871, La Fortune des Rougon takes place in Plassans, an imaginary city inspired by Aix-en-Provence Zola lived. This first volume serves as an introduction to the entire work and lays the foundations for the characters' genealogy in the cycl

اولین رمان مجموعه بیست کتابی روگن-ماکار، کتاب تلخیه. کتاب روایتگر سرکوب خونین قیام مردم جنوب فرانسه بعد از کودتا و به قدرت رسیدن ناپلئون سومه و داستان اجداد خاندان روگن و ماکار رو در این بستر تاریخی روایت میکنه. اکثر شخصیت ها پست، حقیر، طماع، حریص و خودخواهن جوری که نفس آدم از شدت جمع شدن تمام این خ

Zola is a master craftsman and this first novel of a twenty volume series about the Les Rougon-Macquart family sets the scene for future stories. The series is set during the Second Empire and follows the life of the family in society. The first novel sets the scene with the family. Dide the nervous

A while ago a friend recommended Germinal, the classic French novel by Emile Zola. It was amazing! ......... a gritty, powerful and incredibly tense novel set in a mining town in northern France.
Although a stand alone novel I realised that Germinal was part of a series featuring the Rougon - Macquar

This is the first in Zola's 20-novel series on Les Rougon Macquart: a series which depicts L'Histoire naturelle et sociale d'une famille sous le Second Empire.

Inspired by Honoré de Balzac, and borrowing (very loosely) on Balzac's theme of painting the human tableaux in his Comédie Humaine, Zola wro

Αυτήν την ιστορία χίλιες φορές κι αν την διαβάσω δεν πρόκειται ποτέ να τη βαρεθώ. Ανήκει στον κύκλο των Ρουγκόν - Μακάρ, τα μέλη δηλαδή μιας οικογένειας από την πόλη Πλασσάν (μια επινοημένη πόλη την γαλλικού Νότου, που παραπέμπει στο Αιξ αν Προβάνς, εκεί δηλαδή που μεγάλωσε ο συγγραφέας). Μητέρα και

This work, which will comprise several episodes, is therefore, in my mind, the natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire. And the first episode, here called The Fortune of the Rougons, should scientifically be entitled The Origin.

Author's Preface (1871)
When I discovered that Emi

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