To celebrate the new BBC Radio Four adaptation of the French writer Émile Zola’s, ‘Rougon-Macquart’ cycle, we have looked at the extraordinary life and work of one of the great nineteenth century novelists.
Born in Paris in 1840, Zola lived through periods of dire poverty, great wealth, fame and latterly, a different kind of fame due to his influential intervention in the Dreyfus affair. A leading figure of the naturalist movement, Zola’s ‘Rougon-Macquart’ cycle of twenty novels follows two very different branches of a the same family tree set during the Second Empire. The novels explore the themes of heredity and environment with a wide range of characters and milieus, exposing all aspects of contemporary nineteenth century French society.
Featured image credit: Letters by wilhei. CC0 via Pixabay.