Encapsulating, with luxurious detail, the phenomenon of consumer society—obsessed with image, fashion, and instant gratification—Ladies’ Delight depicts the growth of capitalism through the workings of a new economic entity, the department store. The novel centers on the story of the young Denise who is seeking work in Paris and Octave Mouret, the aspiring director of the shopping emporium. Set in the heart of the city, Zola’s novel evokes the giddy pace of Paris’ transition into a modern metropolis and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the end of the century.
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