Monday 2 April 2018

Zoladdiction 2018

Zoladdiction with Fanda @Classiclit is underway once again.
For all the details please check out her Masterpost, but it's pretty simple really:
read and enjoy all things Zola during the month of April.

I've now read three Zola's thanks to Fanda and Zoladdiction.
Nana was my first experience with Zola. It left me reeling and wanting more.
Germinal was so good I struggled to write an adequate response.

I then decided to get serious about my Zoladdiction.
I went back to the very beginning to read the Rougon-Macquart series in correct chronological order.
So last year I read The Fortunes of the Rougons (La Fortune des Rougon).

The dilemma this year was whether to read book 2 in chronological order or book 2 in Zola's recommended reading order. In the end the decision was resolved for me when I failed to source a copy of His Excellency (Son Excellence Eugène Rougon) which was Zola's recommended book 2.

Therefore my #Zoladdiction2018 book will be The Kill (La Curee).

The Kill (La Curee) is the second volume in Zola's great cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, and the first to establish Paris - the capital of modernity - as the centre of Zola's narrative world. Conceived as a representation of the uncontrollable 'appetites' unleashed by the Second Empire (1852-70) and the transformation of the city by Baron Haussmann, the novel combines into a single, powerful vision the twin themes of lust for money and lust for pleasure. The all-pervading promiscuity of the new Paris is reflected in the dissolute and frenetic lives of an unscrupulous property speculator, Saccard, his neurotic wife Renee, and her dandified lover, Saccard's son Maxime.

Fanda has also created a mini-challenge to add extra depth and layers to our reading of Zola.


To add more fun to Zoladdiction, and to encourage more people to read and love Zola, there will be a mini themed challenge; different theme each year. This year we will do #ZolaStyle—exploring his unique literary style, which I have divided into three categories:

Literal Painting
Zola had great interest in paintings. He had been a strong promoter of Impressionism; supported and befriended young artists such as Manet and Cézanne. His literary style often had quality of a painting. Quote and share those literal paintings you find from the book you are reading, or any book you have read; add paintings or pictures too if you like. You can check this post to get more idea about this literal painting.

Naturalism Metaphor
Zola often uses natural things as metaphor. In The Belly of Paris, for instance, cheeses are described as fruits. In Germinal, the mining machine becomes a giant beast; and a steam locomotive transforms into a woman in La Bete Humaine. Quote and post about this naturalism you find from the book you are reading, or any book you have read. Click this link if you need example.

Heredity Problem
As a Naturalist, Zola believed that human psychology is heavily influenced by heredity and environment. He wrote the twenty novels in The Rougon Macquart series to study this. Analyze, discuss, and post the heredity problem of the book you are reading, or any book you have read.

How #ZolaStyle Works

#ZolaStyle challenge is NOT obligatory, you may opt for reading books only.
You may post just one or all category for each book – in as many posts as you want; as often as you like, from 1st to 30th April.
You can use current book you are reading, or any books you have read before. 
Please make sure to use these hashtags: #ZolaStyle #EmileZola#Zoladdiction2018 on your posts.
Each #ZolaStyle post linked up at #ZolaStyle linky will be entered to win book(s) by Emile Zola of your choice max $20 from Book Depository. Yay!

To kick off my own #Zolastyle, I thought I would start with the painting used on the cover of my Oxford University Press edition of The Kill.

Paris Street Rainy Day, 1877 Gustave Caillebotte - Art Institute of Chicago

In his masterpiece, Paris Street; Rainy Day, Gustave Caillebotte brought an unusual monumentality and compositional control to a typical Impressionist subject, the new boulevards that were changing the Paris cityscape. The result is at once real and contrived, casual and choreographed. With its curiously detached figures, the canvas depicts the anonymity that the boulevards seemed to create. By the time it appeared in the third Impressionist exhibition, held in April 1877, the artist was 29 years old, a man of considerable wealth, and not only the youngest but also the most active member of the Impressionist group. He contributed six of his own canvases to the exhibition; played a leading part in its funding, organization, promotion, and installation; and lent a number of paintings by his colleagues that he owned.

My Introduction by Brian Nelson goes into some detail about Haussmann's Paris which I found fascinating as I had no idea about the massive changes and reconstruction that occurred in Paris during the Second Empire.

The Haussmannisation of Paris was, at one level, official state planning on a monumental and highly symbolic scale, glorifying the Napoleonic Empire.

It was also thought to be a way of protecting the city from civil unrest. The creation of long, wide boulevards made it impossible for the people to erect barricades as a weapon against the government. The old rabbit-warren slums were destroyed to 'control the unruly and ungovernable poor'. I found this particularly interesting in light of my current year-long Les Mis readalong, which will eventually lead us, the reader, to the June Rebellion of 1832, and the barricades.

Although we now consider the lovely, tree lined, open avenues of Paris with their uniform architectural style, a thing of beauty and envy, at the time their creation was controversial and very disruptive. It also sparked a huge property speculation boom (much like the one happening in Sydney at the moment).
The new Paris is associated with with vice and promiscuity, but Zola's imagery repeatedly associates the city also with light, the sun, flames, heat and colour - with all the noise and activity of modern life.

So much #Zolastyle and I haven't even started the actual story yet!



  1. Oh I'm so jealous of this. I want to start Zola but am knee deep in Hugo of course at the moment. I've always liked that picture on the cover.

    1. I've really enjoyed finding images to match my favourite quotes in Les Mis, so I'm looking forward to Zola quotes and Impressionism in particular.

  2. Zola's works are always related to paintings. His picturesque prose, The Masterpiece--which is about a painter (with his own personality injected to one of the characters), and in A Love Story, a painting inspired his prose too. I love how OWC uses paintings too for Zola edition's covers.

    Painting, painting! ;)

  3. Good luck with La Curée...
    Tip: watch the change style in Renée's clothing
    as the story progresses! She definitely has issues!


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