The Rougon Macquart Novels
by Emile Zola




This site is intended as an introduction to the characters that populate the Rougon Macquart series of novels.
The series consists of 20 novels set in the period of the second empire. The action in them stretches from 1851 to 1871 with flashbacks to periods before then to round out the characters.

They were written between 1870 and 1893.
I have included various family trees where this helps and these are grouped by novel. I have not yet included a full Rougon Macquart family tree as my web skills do not stretch to completing it yet! It is set out on a piece of paper so I will get there. I will include some links to other people's family trees.

Zola had planned the series before even publishing the first novel. He describes this work as .."the natural and social history of a family under the second empire." and goes on to say that the first novel in the series should be called "the origin."
Now it may be that I don't fully understand Zola but it is at times like this that I find him a bit-to coin a phrase of my daughter-"up himself". Zola is a great storyteller and describer of contemporary French life. Why can't he leave it at that.

Anyway, as you can tell this does not set out to an academic site so if this is what you are after you will have to look elsewhere. What it is, I hope, is my take on a great series of novels and the characters which populate them.

The basic layout of the site consists of the names of the novels in publication sequence. Then for each novel I include details of English translations I am aware of, and similarly for film. Then a list of characters with links to details about them.

I have also included details of the translation I have used and how I acquired it. Some are a lot easier to get hold of than others!

There is a section on Zola Resources covering both life and works of Zola, and some background resources on the second empire.

A few caveats and apologies:

1. This is a work in progress. It is not the “day job” and so may take a while to complete. Some of the novels I am reading for the first time and so want space to enjoy them.

2. These pages are based on English translations. Alas, my French is not good enough to read in the original.

3. I have tried to include all major characters and some extras but apologise for any omissions.

4. For any errors I apologise. If you spot any please help me improve the site by emailing me at the address below and I will put it right.

5. Above all I hope the site adds to your enjoyment of the work of a great author.

For Progress to date on this site click here



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