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Fortune of the Rougons

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By: (1840-1902)

Fortune of the Rougons by Émile Zola is a captivating novel that delves into the complexities of family dynamics, power struggles, and societal change in 19th century France. Set in the fictional town of Plassans, the story follows the Rougon family as they navigate the turbulent political landscape of the Second Empire.

Zola expertly weaves together multiple storylines, creating a rich tapestry of characters and events that illuminate the social, economic, and political forces at play during this period. The intricate relationships between the members of the Rougon family reveal the depths of their ambition, greed, and sacrifice as they strive to secure their place in society.

One of the most compelling aspects of the novel is Zola's vivid depiction of the town of Plassans itself, which serves as a microcosm of French society at the time. From the bustling marketplace to the opulent salons of the elite, each setting is meticulously rendered, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and smells of 19th century France.

Overall, Fortune of the Rougons is a thought-provoking and engaging read that offers a fascinating glimpse into the social upheaval and power struggles of the period. Zola's masterful storytelling and keen insight into human nature make this novel a must-read for anyone interested in historical fiction or French literature.

Book Description:
The Fortune of the Rougons , originally published in 1871, 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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