A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola; eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola;.


In the preparation of my Introduction I have, of course, relied for information on the recognized Biographies of Zola, namely Notes d’un Ami, by Paul Alexis (Paris, Charpentier); Emile Zola, A biographical and Critical Study, by R. H. Sherrard (London, Chatto & Windus, 1893); Emile Zola, Novelist and Reformer:  An account of his Life and Work, by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly (London, John Lane, 1904).  Reference has also been made to Mr. Arthur Symons’ Studies in Prose and Verse, and to articles in the Fortnightly Review by Mr. Andrew Lang, in the Atlantic Monthly by Mr. Henry James, and in the Contemporary Review by M. Edouard Rod, as well as to articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and in the Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains.

By kind permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus it has been possible to include the diagram of the Rougon-Macquart Genealogical Tree, which appears in the Preface to their edition of Doctor Pascal, and to make use of their translations in the preparation of the Dictionary.  In compiling the latter, Zola’s own words have been adopted so far as possible, though usually they have required such condensation as to make direct quotation difficult.  This difficulty was increased by the fact that occasional use was made of different translations of the same book, and that frequent references to the original were found necessary.

The Synopses of the Plots of the novels are arranged in the order in which the books should be read, as indicated by their Author in Le Docteur Pascal, and confirmed by his biographer, Mr. E. A. Vizetelly.

EDINBURGH, May, 1912.  J. G. P.


Emile Zola was born at Paris on 2nd April, 1840.  His father, Francois Zola, was a man whose career up to that time had not been a success, though this was not due to any lack of energy or ability.  Zola pere was of mixed nationality, his father being an Italian and his mother a Greek, and it is not unlikely that his unrest and want of concentration were due to the accident of his parentage.  When quite a young man, Francois fought under the great Napoleon, after whose fall he became a civil engineer.  He spent some time in Germany, where he was engaged in the construction of the first tramway line in Europe, afterwards visiting Holland and possibly England.  Failure seems to have accompanied him, for in 1831 he applied for and obtained an appointment, as lieutenant in the Foreign Legion in Algeria.  His career in Africa was, however, of short duration; some irregularities were discovered, and he disappeared for a time, though ultimately he came forward and made up his accounts, paying the balance that was due.  No prosecution took place, and resignation of his commission was accepted.  Nothing more was heard of the matter

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A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola; from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.