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About the Author: Émile Zola

Émile François Zola was an influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France.

More than half of Zola's novels were part of a set of 20 books collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. Unlike Balzac who in the midst of his literary career resynthesized his work into La Comédie Humaine, Zola from the start at the age of 28 had thought of the complete layout of the series. Set in France's Second Empire, the series traces the "environmental" influences of violence, alcohol and prostitution which became more prevalent during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution. The series examines two branches of a family: the respectable (that is, legitimate) Rougons and the disreputable (illegitimate) Macquarts for five generations.

As he described his plans for the series, "I want to portray, at the outset of a century of liberty and truth, a family that cannot restrain itself in its rush to possess all the good things that progress is making available and is derailed by its own momentum, the fatal convulsions that accompany the birth of a new world."

Although Zola and Cézanne were friends from childhood, they broke in later life over Zola's fictionalized depiction of Cézanne and the Bohemian life of painters in his novel L'Œuvre (The Masterpiece, 1886).

From 1877 with the publication of l'Assommoir, Émile Zola became wealthy, he was better paid than Victor Hugo, for example. He became a figurehead among the literary bourgeoisie and organized cultural dinners with Guy de Maupassant, Joris-Karl Huysmans and other writers at his luxurious villa in Medan near Paris after 1880. Germinal in 1885, then the three 'cities', Lourdes in 1894, Rome in 1896 and Paris in 1897, established Zola as a successful author.

The self-proclaimed leader of French naturalism, Zola's works inspired operas such as those of Gustave Charpentier, notably Louise in the 1890s. His works, inspired by the concepts of heredity (Claude Bernard), social manichaeism and idealistic socialism, resonate with those of Nadar, Manet and subsequently Flaubert.

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Goodreads rating: 3.64

Paperback, Published in Jun 2012 by Cabaret Voltaire

ISBN10: 8493664871 | ISBN13: 9788493664879

Page count: 806

First published in 1896, this novel is an original and incomparable testament to the Italy of the late-19th century. The protagonist, Pierre Froment, shows readers different sides of Rome: the city of art; a labyrinth of intrigue, hatred, and ambition; and a world dominated by ostentation, inhabited for centuries by the coexisting societies of the white world and the black world. Using his journal from his stay in Rome in 1894, which consists of 400 folios filled with observations made each day, as well as more than 1,000 pages of notes about the city that were taken from some 300 volumes on Italy and the Papacy, Émile Zola is able to imbue the novel with an undeniable authenticity.


Publicada por primera vez en 1896, esta novela es un testimonio original e incomparable de la Italia de finales del siglo XIX. El protagonista, Pierre Froment, le muestra al lector las múltiples facetas de Roma: una ciudad del arte; un laberinto de intrigas, de odios y de ambiciones; y un mundo en el que impera la pompa, habitado desde hace siglos por las sociedades convivientes del mundo blanco y del mundo negro. Utilizando el diario de su estancia en Roma en 1894, el cual consiste de unos 400 folios de anotaciones recogidas día a día y más de 1.000 páginas de apuntes sobre la ciudad que fueron extraídas de unos 300 volúmenes sobre Italia y el Papado, Émile Zola es capaz de otorgarle a la novela un sello de innegable autenticidad.

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