The Ladies' Paradise

The Ladies' Paradise Cover

The Ladies' Paradise

By Emile Zola; Aemile Zola; A?mile Zola

University of California Press, Paperback, 9780520078673, 383pp.

Publication Date: December 5, 1991

Description
Zola's prophetic celebration of unbridled commerce and consumerism, "The Ladies' Paradise" ("Au bonheur des dames, " 1883) recounts the frenzied transformations that made late nineteenth-century Paris the fashion capital of the world. The novel's capitalist hero, Octave Mouret, creates a giant department store that devours the dusty, outmoded boutiques surrounding it. Paralleling the story of commercial triumph is the love story between Mouret and the innocent Denise Baudu, who comes to work in The Ladies' Paradise. She provides the crucial link between Mouret and the three essential social groups in the novel: the female clientele, the shopgirls, and the petit bourgeois shopkeepers of the neighborhood.
But the store itself plays the leading role. Zola celebrates capitalism, commerce, and consumerism with a kind of prophetic optimism, calling this novel "a poem of modern activity." The work's interest for readers in feminist, cultural, and social history and theory is made abundantly clear in the introduction by Kristin Ross, and the fiction is reproduced in its colorful, 1886 English translation.


About the Author
?mile Zola was a French writer who is recognized as an exemplar of literary naturalism and for his contributions to the development of theatrical naturalism. Zola s best-known literary works include the twenty-volume Les Rougon-Macquart, an epic work that examined the influences of violence, alcohol and prostitution on French society through the experiences of two families, the Rougons and the Macquarts. Other remarkable works by Zola include Contes ? Ninon, Les Myst?res de Marseille, and Th?r?se Raquin.

In addition to his literary contributions, Zola played a key role in the Dreyfus Affair of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. His newspaper article J Accuse accused the highest levels of the French military and government of obstruction of justice and anti-semitism, for which he was convicted of libel in 1898. After a brief period of exile in England, Zola returned to France where he died in 1902. ?mile Zola is buried in the Panth?on alongside other esteemed literary figures Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas.



emile Zola is the ever-popular author of "Nana, Germinal", and many other novels. "The Ladies' Paradise" is the eleventh book in his Rougon-Macquart series, the "Natural and Social History of a Family under the Second Empire." Kristin Ross is Associate Professor of French Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

emile Zola is the ever-popular author of "Nana, Germinal", and many other novels. "The Ladies' Paradise" is the eleventh book in his Rougon-Macquart series, the "Natural and Social History of a Family under the Second Empire." Kristin Ross is Associate Professor of French Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.