Zola, The Body Modern: Pressures and Prospects of Representation

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Routledge, Jul 5, 2017 - Foreign Language Study - 240 pages
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Emile Zola's reputation as a landmark European novelist is undisputed. His monumental achievement, the novel cycle Les Rougon-Macquart: Histoire sociale et naturelle d'une famille sous le Second Empire (1871-1893), fixed his status as a major writer in the naturalist tradition. Is there any more to be said? Susan Harrow answers boldly in the affirmative, challenging the commonplace view that Zola's writing is predictable, prolix and transparent (what Barthes called 'readerly', for which read 'tedious'). Harrow exposes the modernist and postmodernist strategies which surface in the Rougon-Macquart novels, and reveals Zola's innovatory representation of the body captured here at work, at war, at play, at rest, and in arresting abstraction. Informed by critical thought from Barthes and Deleuze to Michel de Certeau and Anthony Giddens, Zola, the Body Modern offers a model for how we can revitalize our understanding of the canonical nineteenth-century European novel, and learn to travel more flexibly between parameters of century, style and aesthetics.

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Why Zola? Why Now?
Unfolding Modernity
The Embodiment of Style
The Social Body
Summations and Speculations

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About the author (2017)

Susan Harrow is Professor of French at the University of Bristol.

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