Monday 14 April 2014

Zola Reading List

In the Introduction to his last novel, Le Docteur Pascal, Zola gave a recommended reading order. Although it is not required, as each novel stands on its own.
Zola's recommended reading order
  1. La Fortune des Rougon (1871)
  2. Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (1876)
  3. La Curée (1871-2)
  4. L'Argent (1891)
  5. Le Rêve (1888)
  6. La Conquête de Plassans (1874)
  7. Pot-Bouille (1882)
  8. Au Bonheur des Dames (1883)
  9. La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret (1875)
  10. Une Page d'amour (1878)
  11. Le Ventre de Paris (1873)
  12. La Joie de vivre (1884)
  13. L'Assommoir (1877)
  14. L'Œuvre (1886)
  15. La Bête humaine (1890)
  16. Germinal (1885)
  17. Nana (1880)
  18. La Terre (1887)
  19. La Débâcle (1892)
  20. Le Docteur Pascal (1893)


  1. I'm reading the series in Zola's recommended order. So far (I'm on #3 La Curée) I'm really enjoying the progress although I can certainly understand how each book can be read on its own. However, once I get a deeper understanding of Zola's themes and purpose of the series, perhaps I might change my mind and advocate for a reading order. We'll see ….. :-)

    Thanks for posting all the helpful information, Brona!

  2. JUST finished Germinal about 10 minutes ago. I'm speechless.

    I can't wait to see what others thought about their choices b/c I need another Zola, but I have no idea which one I should read next. It would have been great to read his books in order. Maybe I should just start with #1.

    I'm going to check out that Zola link you posted. Thanks.

    ~ Ruth

    1. I've also been thinking I should have started with no. 1 after putting this together :-)
      But Germinal and Nana, the two Zola's I've been reading so far, are so different, that I have yet to discover any patterns or themes like Cleo & Nancy mention.

  3. Anonymous14/4/14

    I've read 12 in the series following Zola's read order. As Cleopatra says, you see reoccuring themes, but also how Zola can repeat the structure of the story. For instance in several stories Zola introduces a "new kid on the block" , a stranger who drifts into town or the countryside. That is the catalyst for the action! I hope all the readers in Zola Addiction enjoy Zola as much as I do!

  4. If you were speechless about Germinal, I would recommend L'Assommoir. Both are superb. Nana I didn't get on with for some reason but am going to give it another go.

  5. I care more than I should about reading order, I'd need to go with Zola's suggested reading order. ALthough I haven't read any as yet. It's on the list though.

  6. Interesting. I've never read Zola and was planning on reading Germinal later this year. Hmm.

  7. Did you see the Lisa Hill set up a Zola website?

    One day I will get to join you ladies.

    1. I have now thanks Louise :-)
      What a great site for fans of Zola!


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