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- A Zola Dictionary - 5/54 -

13. LISA MACQUART, born in 1827, married in 1852 to Quenu, a healthy man with a well-balanced mind. Bears him a daughter, dies in 1863 from decomposition of the blood. Prepotency of and physical likeness to her mother. Keeps a large pork-butcher's shop at the Paris markets.

14. GERVAISE MACQUART, born in 1828, has three sons by her lover Lantier, who counts paralytics among his ancestors; is taken to Paris, and there deserted by him; is married in 1852 to a workman, Coupeau, who comes of an alcoholic stock; has a daughter by him; dies of misery and drink in 1869. Prepotency of her father. Conceived in drunkenness. Is lame. A washerwoman.

15. JEAN MACQUART, born in 1831, married in 1867 to Francoise Mouche, who dies childless in 1870; remarried in 1871 to Melanie Vial, a sturdy, healthy peasant-girl, by whom he has a son, and who is again /enceinte/. Innateness, as with Pascal and Helene. First a peasant, then a soldier, then peasant again. Still alive at Valqueyras.

Fourth Generation:

16. MAXIME ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1840, has a son in 1857 by a servant, Justine Megot, the chlorotic daughter of drunken parents; married in 1863 to Louise de Mareuil, who dies childless the same year; succumbs to ataxia in 1873. A dissemination of characteristics. Moral prepotency of his father, physical likeness to his mother. Idle, inclined to spending unearned money.

17. CLOTILDE ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1847, has a son by Pascal Rougon in 1874. Prepotency of her mother. Reverting heredity, the moral and physical characteristics of her maternal grandfather preponderant. Still alive at Plassans.

18. VICTOR ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1853. Adjunction of characteristics. Physical resemblance to his father. Has disappeared.

19. ANGELIQUE ROUGON, born in 1851, married in 1869 to Felicien de Hautecoeur, and dies the same day of a complaint never determined. Innateness: no resemblance to her mother or forerunners on the maternal side. No information as to her father.

20. OCTAVE MOURET, born in 1840, married in 1865 to Madame Hedouin, who dies the same year; remarried in 1869 to Denise Baudu, a healthy girl with a well-balanced mind, by whom he has a boy and a girl, still too young to be classified. Prepotency of his father. Physical resemblance to his uncle, Eugene Rougon. Indirect heredity. Establishes and directs "The Ladies' Paradise." Still alive in Paris.

21. SERGE MOURET, born in 1841. A dissemination of characteristics; moral and physical resemblance to his mother. Has his father's brain, influenced by the diseased condition of his mother. Heredity of a form of neurosis developing into mysticism. A priest, still alive at St. Eutrope.

22. DESIREE MOURET, born in 1844. Prepotency of and physical likeness to her mother. Heredity of a form of neurosis developing into idiocy. Still alive at St. Eutrope with her brother Serge.

23. JEANNE GRANDJEAN, born in 1842, dies of a nervous complaint in 1855. Reverting heredity, skipping two generations. Physical and moral resemblance to Adelaide Fouque.

24. Pauline Quenu, born in 1852, never marries. An equilibrious blending of characteristics. Moral and physical resemblance to her father and mother. An example of honesty. Still alive at Bonneville.

25. CLAUDE LANTIER, born in 1842, married in 1865 to Caroline Hallegrain, whose father succumbed to paraplegia; has by her, prior to marriage, a son, Jacques, who dies in 1869; hangs himself in 1870. A fusion of characteristics. Moral prepotency of and physical resemblance to his mother. Heredity of a form of neurosis developing into genius. A painter.

26. JACQUES LANTIER, born in 1844, killed in an accident in 1870. Prepotency of his mother. Physical likeness to his father. Heredity of alcoholism, developing into homicidal mania. An example of crime. An engine-driver.

27. ETIENNE LANTIER, born in 1846. A dissemination of characteristics. Physical resemblance, first to his mother, afterwards to his father. A miner. Still alive, transported to Noumea, there married, with children, it is said, who cannot, however, be classified.

28. ANNA COUPEAU, alias NANA, born in 1852, gives birth to a child, Louis, in 1867, loses him in 1870, dies herself of small-pox a few days later. A blending of characteristics. Moral prepotency of her father. Physical resemblance to her mother's first lover, Lantier. Heredity of alcoholism developing into mental and physical perversion. An example of vice.

Fifth Generation:

29. CHARLES ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1857, dies of hemorrhage in 1873. Reverting heredity skipping three generations. Physical and moral resemblance to Adelaide Fouque. The last outcome of an exhausted stock.

30. JACQUES LOUIS LANTIER, born in 1860, a case of hydrocephalus, dies in 1869. Prepotency of his mother, whom he physically resembles.

31. LOUIS COUPEAU, called LOUISET, born in 1867, dies of small-pox in 1870. Prepotency of his mother, whom he physically resembles.

32. THE UNKNOWN CHILD will be born in 1874. What will it be?


La Fortune des Rougon.

In the preface to this novel Zola explains his theories of heredity, and the work itself forms the introductory chapter to that great series which deals with the life history of a family and its descendants during the second empire.

The common ancestress of the Rougons and the Macquarts was Adelaide Fouque, a girl who from youth had been subject to nervous seizures. From her father she inherited a small farm, and at the age of eighteen married one of her own labourers, a man named Rougon, who died fifteen months afterwards, leaving her with one son, named Pierre. Shortly after her husband's death she fell completely under the influence of Macquart, a drunken smuggler and poacher, by whom in course of time she had a son named Antoine and a daughter named Ursule. She became more and more subject to cataleptic attacks, until eventually her mind was completely unhinged. Pierre Rougon, her legitimate son, was a man of strong will inherited from his father, and he early saw that his mother's property was being squandered by the Macquarts. By means approximating to fraud he induced his mother, who was then facile, to sell her property and hand over the proceeds to him. Soon after he married Felicite Peuch, a woman of great shrewdness and keen intelligence, by whom he had three sons (Eugene, Aristide, and Pascal) and two daughters (Marthe and Sidonie). Pierre Rougon was not particularly prosperous, but his eldest son, Eugene, went to Paris and became mixed up in the Bonapartist plots which led to the /Coup d'Etat/ of 1851. He was consequently able to give his parents early information as to the probable course of events, and the result of their action was to lay the foundations of the family fortune.

The scene of the book is the Provencal town of Plassans, and the tragic events attending the rising of the populace against the /Coup d'Etat/ are told with accuracy and knowledge. There is a charming love idyll between Silvere Mouret, a son of Ursule Macquart, and a young girl named Miette, both of whom fall as victims in the rising which followed the /Coup d'Etat/.

Mr. E. A. Vizetelly, in his introduction to the English translation of /The Conquest of Plassans/ (London: Chatto & Windus), points out that almost every incident in /The Fortune of the Rougons/ is based upon historical fact. "For instance," he says, "Miette had a counterpart in Madame Ferrier, that being the real name of the young woman who, carrying the insurgents' blood-red banner, was hailed by them as the Goddess of Liberty on their dramatic march. And in like way the tragic death of Silvere, linked to another hapless prisoner, was founded by M. Zola on an incident that followed the rising, as recorded by an eye-witness."

Son Excellence Eugene Rougon.

An account of the career of Eugene Rougon, the eldest son of Pierre Rougon (/La Fortune des Rougon/), who went to Paris from Plassans, becoming involved in the plots which resulted in the /Coup d'Etat/ of 1851 and the return of a Bonaparte to Imperial power. The future career of Rougon was assured; his services had been too important to be overlooked, and he ultimately became Minister of State and practically Vice-Emperor. He fell for a time under the influence of Clorinde Balbi, the daughter of an Italian adventuress, but realizing the risk of compromising himself, he shook himself free, and married a lady whose position in society tended to make his own still more secure. The novel gives an excellent account of the political and social life of the Second Empire, and of the cynical corruption which characterized the period.

In a preface to the English translation (/His Excellency/. London: Chatto & Windus), Mr. E. A. Vizetelly states that in his opinion, "with all due allowance for its somewhat limited range of subject, /Son Excellence Eugene Rougon/ is the one existing French novel which gives the reader a fair general idea of what occurred in political spheres at an important period of the Empire. But His Excellency Eugene Rougon is not, as many critics and others have supposed, a mere portrait or caricature of His Excellency Eugene Rouher, the famous Vice-Emperor of history. Symbolism is to be found in every one of Zola's novels, and Rougon, in his main lines, is but the symbol of a principle, or, to be accurate, the symbol of a certain form of the principle of authority. His face is Rouher's, like his build and his favorite gesture; but with Rouher's words, actions, opinions, and experiences are blended those of half a dozen other personages. He is the incarnation of that craving, that lust for power which impelled so many men of ability to throw all principle to the winds and become the instruments of an abominable system of government. And his transformation at the close of the story is in strict accordance with historical facts."

La Curee.

A Zola Dictionary - 5/54

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