The Rougon Macquart Novels
by Emile Zola


La Fortune des Rougon-Macquart

First published in 1871


English Translations:

Fortune of the Rougons, A realistic novel (1886)
Published by Vizetelly and Co

The Fortune of the Rougons (1898)
Published by Chatto and Windus edited and with an introduction by E.A. Vizetelly

The Girl in Scarlet(1910)
Published by MacLaren and Company and translated by ?(I think this must be the Vizetelly version with a different name)

The Fortune of the Rougons (1985)
Published by Alan Sutton and translated by E.A. Vizetelly

My Translation:

I have used the paperback edition published by Alan Sutton in 1985. I have a copy of the reprint edition of 1989. Purchased from the paperback exchange in Boscombe, Dorset, UK via Abebooks.

Film Versions:



The book is largely set in the town of Plassans in the South of France and the surrounding districts. The town is fictional but is based around Zola's childhood home of Aix-en-Provence


The book to me has three main thrusts to it. The first is to introduce us to as many of the Rougons and Macquarts as possible, giving a background to the series and some ideas as to how they all interlink.
The second is a love story between Miette and Silvere told against the backdrop of the Macquart family and the insurrection of 1851.
The third is the story of Pierre Rougon, eldest son of the series matriarch, and how his rise to power in Plassans was far from honourable.

My View:

This is not my favourite book in the series. I enjoyed the story with Miette(a romantic at heart!) and I enjoyed parts of the Pierre story but I feel Zola was in too much of a hurry to introduce us to everybody. I would have been quite happy to wait rather than have what amounts to little more than lists of names for the reader to hang a hat on later.
Still, I do not want to be too negative. It is still a good read and has some good descriptions of the Provence landscape.


Character List

Members of the Rougon Macquart Family


Members of the Yellow Room

Marquis de Carnavant
Isidore Granoux
Commander Sicardot
M. Vuillet




Other Characters

Antoine Macquart's un-named friend
M. de Bleriot
Grandfather Chantegreil
Marie Chantegreil
M. Garçonnet
M. Massicot
Colonel Masson
M. Peirotte
M. Picou
Eulalie Rébufat (née Chantegreil)
Justin Rébufat
M. Touche
Count de Valqueyras