Monday, April 2, 2012

Author Birthday: Emile Zola


From today's Writer's Almanac:
Today is the birthday of Émile Zola (books by this author), born in Paris (1840). He was inspired by reading Charles Darwin to try to apply scientific principles of observation to the practice of writing fiction. The result was a 20-novel cycle, a kind of fictional documentary about the influence of heredity and environment on an extended family. It was called Les Rougon-Macquart. Some of the novels of the cycle include The Drunkard (1877), Nana (1880), and Germinal (1885). 
Zola said, "One forges one's style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines....The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."
Emile Zola was my first classic author discovery at Lakeside Musing. In the spring of 2009, I read Therese Raquin and my thoughts were eventually published in Yareah Magazine. I participated in The Classics Circuit's Zola tour in 2010 with a review of The Ladies' Paradise. In 2011, I turned to Zola's short stories from Dead Men Tell No Tales. I plan to read another of his novels later this year.

Emile Zola at Lakeside Musing:





16 comments:

  1. Any good recommendations? I read Germinal! It took me awhile, but I enjoyed it.

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    1. Brenda - Therese Raquin is very good, plus it's much shorter!

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  2. Have you decided which Zola to read? I highly recommend The Drunkard. I'm reading Germinal later this year.

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    1. Sharon - I have The Belly of Paris on my shelf, but am also tempted by Nana and Germinal.

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  3. I am reading The Belly of Paris right now. It is amazing, and has me dying to visit Les Halles!

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    1. Col - I have The Belly of Paris on my shelf, so that will most likely be my next Zola novel. Glad to hear you are enjoying it so much. Maybe we should arrange a blogger visit to Les Halles!

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  4. >He was inspired by reading Charles Darwin to try to apply scientific principles of observation to the practice of writing fiction.

    I didn't know that--how interesting. I am about to read a graphic version of Darwin's Origin of Species, and now I want to read Zola too.

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    1. JaneGS - I thought that was fascinating, too, and think the inspiration does come through in his writing. Therese Raquin would be a great place to start!

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  5. Do you have a link to your published article? I would love to read it!

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    1. Diana - They basically reprinted my blog post, but the article can be found in Issue 11, October 2009 (it's on page 7). You can thumb through the whole magazine here:
      http://www.yareah.com/magazine/index.php/issue-11-numero-11

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  6. I'm also impressed to hear he was inspired by Darwin, but it makes perfect sense from what I know of his work. Which is very little. I forget the title of the book of his I tried to read, but it was about a group of women who worked in a laundry. It was an excellent book, I've no argument with that, I just didn't finish it. I think I should give him another try, with a shorter work, sometime soon.

    I'd also love to read your published article.

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    1. James - I didn't know he was inspired by Darwin either, but it is very evident in his writing. You might consider giving Therese Raquin a try - it's very good and has the advantage of being under 300 pages. The article was a reprint of my blog post (almost embarrassing to read now). It's in Issue 11, October 2009 - page 7. The whole issue is here:
      http://www.yareah.com/magazine/index.php/issue-11-numero-11

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  7. I've read several by Zola, so far my favorites are Germinal and La Bete Humaine, though I also loved The Belly of Paris. The descriptions of food at Les Halles are amazing. I think my next by him will be The Masterpiece.

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    1. Karen K.- Germinal is high on my list, especially after reading how much you and AManda liked it. Since The Belly of Paris is on my shelf, that will be my next stop.

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  8. I've yet to read any of his work but I will!

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    1. Kathleen - Therese Raquin would be a great place to start.

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